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USC Non-Revenue Sports Update -- 1/23

Women's hoops struggle while the tennis and swim teams win big.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This Super Bowl isn’t going to be very enjoyable for Trojans fans outside of San Francisco and Baltimore, because for the second straight year and only the fifth time in Super Bowl history, there will be no USC representatives competing for the Vince Lombardi trophy. The last Trojan standing, three-time All-American left tackle Sam Baker, was sent packing when the 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC title.

And on that cheerful note, the news…

Women’s Basketball: The conference hot streak Team Cooper had enjoyed for four games came to an abrupt halt in the Bay Area after losses to #6 Stanford and #7 Cal. Against the Bears, USC outplayed their opponents for much of the game, holding Cal to 31% from the field. But in the final two minutes of the game, with the Women of Troy leading by six, Cal junior Gennifer Brandon rattled off three baskets to bridge the gap and send the game into overtime, where Cal continued their hot streak in the late going to win the game 71-63.

Brandon completed an astounding double double with 23 points and 26 rebounds, the latter tying a school record for most boards in a game. She combined with senior Layshia Clarendon to score 50 of the Bears’ 71 points in that game. On the Women of Troy side, Cassie Harberts notched her 16th straight double-digit game with 15 points, while junior Kate Oliver scored a double-double of her own with ten points and ten rebounds.

In Palo Alto, the Cardinal didn’t let the game get anywhere near as close as they built a lead that grew as big as 19 points. A late surge by SC ended the game in a 75-66 win for Stanford, with Harberts scoring 21 points and sophomore Ariya Crook scoring 18. The key stat of the game was rebounds, as Stanford beat out SC at the boards 41-25.

USC is now 7-10 (4-2) and will try to bounce back during a four-game home series that starts with Arizona State on Friday.

Men’s Volleyball: As the #7 Trojans played at the Galen Center for the first time this year, they found themselves in a strange case of déjà vu, as they swept a top-ranked opponent while falling short against a lower-ranked one. First, on Friday, they swept #2 Stanford in a game that had two extra-point sets and a five-point comeback in the third set by USC. Junior Tanner Jansen and newcomer Alex Slaught led the way for SC, combining for 27 kills.

But two days later, SC found themselves stunned by a four-set upset to #15 Pacific, in which they were held to a hitting average of .180 compared to .402 against Stanford. In addition, all of USC’s starters were held to less than ten kills, with sophomore Cristian Rivera coming off the bench to lead the Trojans with 12. USC is now 2-2 and will now take a long break from competition, with their next match on February 1 on the road against #4 Pepperdine.

Tennis: The men’s and women’s tennis teams were very successful this weekend. In Thousand Oaks, the men competed in the 2013 Sherwood College Cup, where the tournament’s 2012 doubles champion, Trojan sophomore Ray Sarmiento, took out four Bruins en route to winning the 32-man singles tourney. He did not lose a single set until the championship match against UCLA’s Adrian Puget, whom he defeated 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 On the doubles side, Sarmiento was part of one of three USC doubles teams to reach the semifinals, but it was Dennis Novikov and Marcos Giron from UCLA that prevailed.

Meanwhile, members of the women’s team competed at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Palm Springs and the Freeman Memorial Tennis Championships in Las Vegas. While SC was represented in the finals of the singles and doubles competitions in the NCTC, both matches ended in defeats to UCLA. But in Vegas, sophomore Sabrina Santamaria has a phenomenal weekend, taking both the singles and doubles titles in the tournament. After defeating opponents from Stanford and North Carolina in singles play, she joined up with her junior teammate Kaitlyn Christian to defeat players from UNC, UNLV, and UCLA to complete the Troy Sweep. Santamaria and Christian are currently ranked as the top doubles team in women’s college tennis.

This weekend is ITA Kickoff Weekend, as SC invites six men’s and women’s teams to play in four-team tournaments at Marks Stadium. The men are set to play on Friday against San Diego State, while the women are set to play against Akron on Saturday.

Men’s Swimming: Finally, we have a breakthrough victory by the #5 men’s swim team, as they defeated top-ranked Michigan to earn the program’s first ever win in the SMU Classic. The highlight performance came from junior Vladimir Morozov, who broke the school record in the 100y freestyle with a time of 41.70. He also tied the school record in the 100y breaststroke with a time of 52.73. USC finished with 330 points, edging out the Wolverines by three points to win the meet. #7 Florida and #16 Louisville also competed, as did Purdue and the host, SMU. USC’s next meets are on the weekend of Feb. 8, when they will face Cal and Stanford.

This is usually the part where I say FIGHT ON, but in light of today's news, let's end this with something better.