Tuesday, May 26

A year’s review of UCLA-USC’s crosstown rivalry filled with highs, lows

(Cody Wilson/Daily Bruin)

UCLA and USC faced off in the Crosstown Cup this year with the Trojans prevailing over the Bruins by a score of 105-85. In a year filled with exciting matchups, here are a few that the Daily Bruin staff think warrant a second look.

Football – Nov. 17, 2018
Jared Tay, assistant Sports editor

One word can describe the Bruins’ victory over the Trojans in November’s crosstown clash.


Just two days after the Bruin Bear statue was found vandalized with red and yellow paint, UCLA football brought the Victory Bell back to Westwood by securing its first win over USC since 2014.

Fired up Trojan fans tore down the protective walls that have encased the bear each rivalry week since the last time it was vandalized in 2009. But that weekend, it was redshirt junior running back Joshua Kelley who broke down USC’s defense with a career-high 289 rushing yards.

Kelley set a record for most rushing yards by a single player in the 90-year history of the rivalry. He carried the Bruins to their first game with 200-plus yards on the ground since 2015.

Trailing by six in the fourth quarter, Kelley’s 55-yard, untouched run down the left sideline tied the game at 27. Junior kicker JJ Molson’s extra point gave the Bruins their first lead since the start of the second quarter.

The Trojans’ ensuing possession ended with an interception by sophomore defensive back Darnay Holmes, and the Bruins were able to hold the lead to secure the victory.

It didn’t matter that red and yellow splattered the Bruin Bear statue. It was the fans decked out in blue and gold who exploded in cheers as the Rose Bowl scoreboard projected the final score.

Women’s volleyball – Nov. 23, 2018
Dylan D’Souza, Daily Bruin staff

Coming off two losses, the Bruins needed a victory to remain eligible for postseason play.

UCLA women’s volleyball, unranked for the first time since September 2014, nearly mounted a comeback victory against then-No. 15 USC in its final game of the season. The Bruins fought back to force a decisive fifth set after dropping the first two, but lost the final frame to the rival Trojans 15-9.

The loss locked in the Bruins’ first sub-.500 record in program history. Postseason eligibility seemed nearly guaranteed for coach Michael Sealy’s squad in mid-October, with the team sitting with an 11-5 record.

But UCLA concluded the season dropping 9 of its last 11 encounters – culminating in the heartbreaking loss to USC.

The Bruins held a 22-16 lead in the first set, but lost nine of the last 10 points to concede the set 25-23. In the second set, UCLA was leading 17-14 but dropped five straight to eventually lose the frame 25-22.

The loss to the crosstown rivals concluded the careers of two seniors – libero Zana Muno and middle blocker Kyra Rogers – who had previously made it to at least the regional semifinals in each of their first three seasons in Westwood.

Men’s water polo – Dec. 1, 2018
Jack Perez, Daily Bruin staff

The Bruins failed to defend their 2017 national title. And even worse, they gave it up to their crosstown rivals.

UCLA men’s water polo fell 8-7 to USC in the NCAA championships semifinals at Avery Aquatic Center in Stanford, California.

The Bruins had a two-goal lead in the second quarter, but the Trojans fought back to tie the score before halftime. The two teams were neck and neck through the rest of the game, and freshman attacker Jake Cavano’s third goal of the game made it 7-7 with 2:21 left to play.

Redshirt junior goalie Alex Wolf, a First Team All-American, had a career-high-tying 16 saves. But the Trojans’ last shot was just beyond his fingertips, and the ball slipped past Wolf into the back of the net with only five seconds remaining on the clock.

The Bruins could not score a goal before the final seconds ticked away and their season came to a heartbreaking end.

The Trojans went on to win the national title against the Cardinal, while the Bruins went home to begin preparing for 2019 and another shot to win the title.

Women’s basketball – Jan. 20, 2019
Vinny Lavalsiti, Daily Bruin reporter

The Bruins cut an 11-point Trojan lead to two points as the clock ran down to the final 30 seconds.

But before UCLA women’s basketball had a chance to even the contest, USC guard Aliyah Mazyck drew an and-one foul. Those subsequent four points clinched the Trojans’ first win over the Bruins in three years.

The Bruins’ 72-67 loss to USC on Jan. 20 dipped their record back down to .500 and stretched their losing streak to four.

Junior guard Japreece Dean and sophomore forward Michaela Onyenwere – two of the Bruins’ top-3 scorers this season – were held to a combined six points in the first half.

The Bruins’ 16 turnovers were its highest turnover total against Pac-12 opponents at that point in the season. The Trojans translated the opportunities into 24 points.

UCLA’s defeat, however, marked a pivotal point in the Bruins’ turnaround. UCLA embarked on 10-win run in its final 12 games of the regular season to secure a No. 4 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament behind Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State, three top-15 teams.

Men’s basketball – Feb. 28, 2019
Jason Maikis, assistant Sports editor

The Bruins may not have made the NCAA tournament this year, but they ended their home campaign on a high note against their biggest rivals.

UCLA men’s basketball avenged its Jan. 19 loss to USC with a thrilling 93-88 overtime victory in its last home game of the season. Although both teams were far from postseason contention – short of an upset conference tournament run – the win was still a monumental moment for the Bruins’ lost season.

There were 15 total lead changes and neither team led by more than ten points the entire game. A three by forward Bennie Boatwright gave USC an 82-80 lead with 1:18 to go in regulation, but sophomore guard Chris Smith immediately answered with a short jumper to knot the score at 82.

Both teams traded three point attempts, but neither could get them to fall, and the game went to overtime. UCLA’s 5-0 run over the first 3:15 of the extra period gave the Bruins a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

Sophomore guard Jaylen Hands hit a three-point dagger to extend the lead to four with only 20 seconds left, sealing the Trojans’ fate.

Hands put together a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists. Freshman center Moses Brown added a double-double of his own with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Jules Bernard chipped in 16 points off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting.

Boatwright led USC with a 25-point, 15-rebound performance, but UCLA managed to effectively limit USC’s star freshman Kevin Porter Jr. to only 10 points.

The win guaranteed the Bruins a .500 season, and better still, it gave them sweet revenge against their crosstown rivals.

Beach volleyball – May 5, 2019
Jack Matull, Daily Bruin reporter

The Bruins are going back-to-back, they’re going to back-to-back.

No. 2 seed UCLA beach volleyball (35-3) secured its second straight NCAA championship – which was UCLA’s 117th national title – with a 3-0 sweep over crosstown rival No. 1 seed USC (32-6). The Trojans were the only team to beat the Bruins all season, but UCLA overpowered every opponent it faced in the national championships – including USC.

The Bruins faced the Trojans five times before the rivals squared off in Gulf Shores, Alabama. UCLA went 2-3 over those five matches, with the three losses coming in its three most recent matches against USC, including the Pac-12 championship.

The match for the national title started at courts four and five, where UCLA made quick work of USC as senior Izzy Carey and freshman Lindsey Sparks won their match in just 39 minutes on court five. Five minutes later, on court four, juniors Savvy Simo and Madi Yeomans put the Bruins within one match win of a national title victory with another straight set win.

The Bruins’ court three duo of freshman Abby Van Winkle and senior Zana Muno put the dagger in the Trojans’ heart. With the score 22-21, 20-13, Van Winkle stuffed an Alexandra Poletto tip at the net, clinching the title.

In NCAA beach volleyball’s brief history, all four of the national championships have been split between USC and UCLA. However, it is the Bruins who are now two-time defending champions, while the Trojan title drought has been extended to a second year.

Assistant Sports editor

Tay is currently an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, men's soccer, men's tennis, cross country and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter on the men's tennis beat.

Sports staff

D'Souza is currently a Sports staff writer for the women's basketball, men's basketball and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter for the men's tennis and women's volleyball beats.

Assistant Sports editor

Perez is currently an assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's water polo and track and field beats. He was previously a staff writer on the football, gymnastics, beach volleyball, women's water polo and men's water polo beats.

Sports staff

Lavalsiti is currently a Sports staff writer on the softball beat. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball, cross country and track & field beats.


Maikis joined the Bruin as a freshman in 2018 and contributed until 2019. He was an assistant Sports editor in 2019 and contributed for the football, men's basketball, men's tennis, women's tennis and men's water polo beats.

Sports reporter

Matull is currently a Sports reporter. He was previously a contributor on the baseball and cross country beats.

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