Game Over

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USC women's basketball stumbled in its Pac-12 Tournament repeat bid, falling 75-63 to Colorado on Thursday night in Seattle. The Women of Troy finished the season 15-15 overall.

Click here for the recap.

Here is head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke after the season-ending loss:

Quintero Three-Peats

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The Pac-12 Men's Swimming and Diving Championships turned into a competition of Trojan versus Trojan Thursday night as senior Cristian Quintero bested sophomore Reed Malone to win his third consecutive conference title in the 500y free. While Malone led his teammate almost the entire race, Quintero chased him down in the final 50 yards to complete the Pac-12 hat trick.

"Racing Reed is always fun and exciting," Quintero said. "He never gives up and you can't count him out until you actually touch the wall, which is what makes him such a great competitor. He performed his best time, so I'm happy for him."

Click here for the complete recap.

USC, seeking its first conference title since 1979, is third after the second day with 242.5 points. Stanford leads with 288 points and is followed by Cal (248.5) and then the Trojans.

Quintero (left) and Malone (right) finished 1-2 in the 500y free.

2015 Spring Practice #2: Notes

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The Trojans' defense made the game-winning plays as the practice competition heated up.
  • LB Anthony Sarao will sit out Spring Football to heal a crack in his foot.
  • Charles Burks will graduate this spring, so he can transfer to another program for his senior season.
  • Thumbnail image for USC_Football_Spring_2015_030315_MCG8209.jpgThe tight end position is extremely thin as Bryce Dixon remains out due to a student conduct issue. Chris Willson, who could potentially alleviate the depth concerns, has applied for a sixth year, but the NCAA has not ruled on it yet. If it is granted, Willson will then have a choice to play at USC or be a graduate transfer elsewhere.
  • Head coach Steve Sarkisian pointed out that help is on the way as freshman Tyler Petite is expected to contribute immediately, while fellow newcomers Osa Masina, Porter Gustin and Christian Rector have the versatility to play tight end as well.
  • Sophomore safety John Plattenburg was the star of practice. Physically, he looks like a different player just a couple months after the season, and he is maturing on the field as well. In the "Finish" competition, Plattenburg made the decisive play to give the defense a 3-2 win.
  • Offensively, the tempo is not yet to Sarkisian's liking. They are playing "too slow" and need to "improve upon our efficiency" going forward.
  • Adoree' Jackson provided a nice boost to the offense today as he spent the entire afternoon on that side of the ball. For the first six practices of spring, Jackson will switch off days between offense and defense. Sarkisian is also in close contact with Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert to manage Jackson's time this spring, so he can succeed in the long jump as well.
  • JuJu Smith will not play defense this spring. Sarkisian explained that he is Cody Kessler's most dependable target without Nelson Agholor and George Farmer, so he cannot afford to split reps.
  • DL Kenny Bigelow (pictured) declared himself "a healthy 80%", but he will avoid contact this spring, so he is without restrictions come Fall Camp.
  • The defensive line has a tall task replacing Leonard Williams, but they have plenty of returning beef in Bigelow, Antwaun Woods, Delvon Simmons and Claude Pelon. "We understand that Leonard was a big piece," said Bigelow. "He might be the No. 1 draft pick. Who knows? We know we lost a great player, but we didn't let that set us back. Everybody out here, we are working. We are going to pick up that slack."
  • Lamar Dawson is filling the hole left by captain Hayes Pullard. The senior is cutting a different figure in No. 55 than the one who moved around gingerly last fall. "It just feels stronger," Dawson said about his surgically repaired knee. "I don't have to wear a brace. I don't have to think about it. I'm just out here playing and doing what I love."
  • Here is Sarkisian after today's practice on Cromwell Field:

Throwback Thursday: Backstop Jack

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USC baseball has a huge weekend ahead hosting No. 1 TCU and No. 4 Vanderbilt at Dedeaux Field before Sunday's showdown against No. 7 UCLA at Dodger Stadium.

Click here for TCU and Vandy tickets.

Click here for Dodger Stadium tickets.

The Trojans have jumped out to a 12-1 start, so in their honor, here is a classic photo of new Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio during his days as a USC catcher.

Jack Del Rio 2.jpg

Following Feathers

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No. 7 USC men's volleyball snapped its four-match losing streak last night by dispatching UC San Diego in three quick sets.

Click here for the recap.

The Trojans were led by Robert Feathers who recorded nine kills hitting .462, and then sat down with Pac-12 Networks after the win.

Ready for Round Three

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USC women's basketball will need to beat Colorado for the third time this season to advance in the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament, which begins today in Seattle. The 8-seeded Women of Troy will play the 9-seeded Buffaloes at 6 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.

On their way to practice Wednesday, Jordan Adams and Drew Edelman previewed the match-up.

3-Points: UCLA 85, USC 74

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The Trojans battled all game, but could never overcome the Bruins' 18-5 run from early in the first half, losing their final regular season game against their crosstown rival.

Second Chances

The Trojans looked for redemption in the Battle of Los Angeles after the Bruins blew them out of their home gym back in January, losing by 17. However, USC lost by 11 on Wednesday despite a hard-fought effort against a UCLA team that is hitting its stride at the right time. "I think they played hard, they played well throughout the game. The second chance points really hurt us," said head coach Andy Enfield, referring to the fact that UCLA had 22 points off offensive rebounds to USC's six. "We played well enough to win the game but we didn't rebound enough to win the game." USC just couldn't compete with the physicality of players like Kevon Looney and Tony Parker who scored the first 15 points of the game for UCLA. Looney finished with a double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds) while Parker finished with 22 points and seven rebounds with six of those rebounds being off the offensive glass. The Trojans also gave the Bruins plenty of opportunities in transition as they struggled with turnovers for the first time in a while. "We made a couple poor decisions in transition where we tried to force things and that led to about three of those turnovers," said Enfield. The team finished with 16 turnovers leading to 22 points for UCLA. This high turnover ratio is somewhat of a step back for the Trojans who have drastically improved their decision-making since the beginning of the season.

The Rally that Never Came

The Trojans are known for their late game heroics with nine games since the start of conference play that have come down to the final minutes. After heading to the locker room down by 12 at the half, USC came out in the second half looking for another epic rally to close out its season. The Trojans brought the UCLA lead within eight points five times in the second half, but as soon as they would go on a run, the Bruins would hit a clutch shot most likely from the hands of Bryce Alford who finished with 23 points. "Every time we cut the lead to seven or eight, they hit a tough shot," said Enfield. "So give credit to them. We played hard." Katin Reinhardt, who's been looking for his time to shine in recent games, came in off the bench providing the Trojans with a spark they needed. He led the team at the half with 12 points and finished the game with 22 points including five three-pointers in just 29 minutes. Elijah Stewart joined him as the threat from beyond the arc, finishing with 14 points, and PF Nikola Jovanovic contributed 16 points from the paint. 

Tournament Time

The Trojans now enter the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 12-seed and will face the No. 5 seed on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. PT. If USC wins its first-round game then it will face rival UCLA for the third time this season. The Trojans will be without PF Strahinja Gavrilovic who is out for the season with a torn labrum. Gavrilovic joins PG Jordan McLaughlin who is also out for the season with a shoulder injury. Though the Trojans finished in last place in the Pac-12, they played just about every conference team hard with nine games coming down to the wire as previously mentioned. Enfield has preached all season that USC could have won a handful of those games if the ball bounced the Trojans' way a few times. So, anything could happen for USC come next Wednesday in Vegas. 

Here are the SnappyTV highlights from Wednesday's loss at Pauley Pavilion...

Trojans Live - Spring Football Preview

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If you missed last night's Trojans Live, Iman "Biggie" Marshall (video below) was introduced to the Trojan Family. The five-star freshman defensive back discussed why he chose USC, his unique announcement video and how he plans to make an instant impact.

Plus, sophomore WR JuJu Smith plans on taking a leadership role this season, and men's golfers Sean Crocker and Rico Hoey have pushed USC to No. 4 in the national rankings.

Click here for JuJu.

Click here for Crocker and Hoey.

Here is "Biggie"...

Alumni Return for Kickoff

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC alum Geena Urango (pictured above) was the first scholarship player for the sand volleyball program in 2012. 

The USC women's sand volleyball team will kickoff the 2015 season with the annual Cardinal and Gold match featuring legendary alumni like national champion Stevi Robinson, Jennifer Kessy, Tracy (Lindquist) Jones, Jeanne Vetter and Geena Urango. The alumni will square off against the No. 2 AVCA preseason ranked Women of Troy at 6:00p.m. on Thursday at Merle Norman Stadium.

Stevi Robinson won the 2013 AVCA Pairs Championship with Kirby Burnham who won her second championship in 2013 with freshman Sara Hughes before graduating. Hughes will look to carry on the winning tradition as well as lead the Women of Troy to a team title in the program's fourth season. After kicking things off against former USC stars, the team will face another tough challenger in a scrimmage against the USA national team before opening its season on March 12 against TCU. 

Defending the Crown

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USC women's basketball made an historic run to the Pac-12 Tournament title last season under head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, earning an NCAA Tournament automatic bid in the process. Now, the second year coach leads the Women of Troy back to Seattle, hoping to bust some brackets again.

Click here for a tournament preview.

In the first round, No. 8 USC will try to beat No. 9 Colorado for the third time this season. The Trojans and Buffaloes will tip-off at 6 p.m. PT on Thursday (Pac-12 Networks) with the winner advancing to play No. 1 Oregon State on Friday at 6 p.m. PT.

Click here for the complete bracket.