USC women's basketball offers one of Trojans' 2014 highlights

USC women's basketball offers one of Trojans' 2014 highlights
Forward Cassie Harberts, right, and USC won the Pac-12 women's basketball tournament and returned to the NCAA tournament in 2014. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

USC, 2014 in review

The highs


•USC women's basketball team, under first-year Coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, ended a seven-year absence from the NCAA tournament by defeating Oregon State, 71-62, in the Pac-12 Conference tournament championship game. It is the Trojans' first conference tournament title. USC lost to St. John's, 71-68, in an NCAA tournament first-round game.

•USC's baseball program, under first-year coach Dan Hubbs, stayed in contention for an NCAA playoff berth going into the final weeks of the season. The Trojans finished 29-24, USC's first record above .500 since 2005.

•USC women's soccer team, under first-year Coach Keidane McAlpine, qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010. The Trojans finished 12-6-3 after losing to Pepperdine on penalty kicks in the first round.

•Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler passed for a school-record seven touchdowns in the Trojans' 56-28 victory over Colorado at the Coliseum. In a later game, he threw for six touchdowns against Notre Dame, the most ever in a game against the Fighting Irish.

•Trojans tailback Javorius Allen rushed for more than 100 yards in six consecutive games, the first USC player to do it since Marcus Allen during his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1981.

•The Trojans' football team concluded the regular season with a 49-14 rout of rival Notre Dame, then downed Nebraska, 45-42, in the Holiday Bowl, enabling first-year Coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff to finish a 9-4 season on a high note.

The lows

•USC's men's basketball team, under first-year Coach Andy Enfield, finished 11-21 overall and 2-16 in Pac-12 Conference play. After inheriting a patchwork roster, Enfield was unable to deliver on his promise of an up-tempo style that characterized his team at Florida Gulf Coast.

•In late August, USC published on its website a heroic account of football player Josh Shaw suffering ankle injuries while making a rescue of a young relative in distress in a swimming pool. The story, which included quotes from Shaw and Coach Sarkisian, was picked up by national media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times. The next day, Sarkisian said the school had received information questioning the veracity of the story. A few days later, Shaw admitted to USC officials that he fabricated the story. He was suspended from the program indefinitely and was the subject of a domestic violence investigation by police stemming from an argument he had with his girlfriend at their apartment near downtown. Shaw suffered injuries after jumping from a balcony to avoid police. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office declined to file charges because of insufficient evidence. Shaw was reinstated to the program and played in the season's final three games.

•Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott fined Athletic Director Pat Haden $25,000 for "inappropriate sideline conduct" during the Trojans' 13-10 football victory at Stanford. Haden interacted with game officials after Sarkisian summoned him from the press box to the field.

•Three weeks after losing at Boston College, USC lost to Arizona State on a last-second Hail Mary pass. Several Trojans are in position to make a play on the ball, but none made an attempt to bat it away.

•USC lost to UCLA in football for the third year in a row. The Trojans mostly contained the running ability of Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley, but receivers broke free for long gains because of poor tackling. Kessler was sacked six times.


Men's tennis: USC defeated Oklahoma, 4-2, in the team championship match, giving the school 100 NCAA team championships. Women's golf: Doris Chen. Women's diving: Haley Ishimatsu. Swimming: Cristian Quintero (500-yard freestyle), Quintero, Reed Malone, Dylan Carter, Dimitri Colupaev (800-yard relay). Women's sand volleyball: Kirby Burnham and Sara Hughes (pairs).