No. 4 USC Women Host No. 15 Baylor, No. 17 UCLA and No. 46 Illinois

March 14, 2006

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THIS WEEK: The No. 4 Women of Troy (10-1, 2-0 Pac-10) will play three matches in a week, beginning with this Wednesday's (March 15) clash with No. 15 Baylor at 2 p.m. at Marks Stadium. Then, on Friday (March 17), USC gets back to Pac-10 action with a home match against No. 17 UCLA. The Trojans cap off the stretch with one more nonconference contest against No. 46 Illinois on March 22. Both the UCLA and Illinois matches are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium.

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC moved up a notch this week to sit at No. 4 in the ITA team rankings (released March 14). The Women of Troy have four players ranked in singles. Freshman Amanda Fink is the No. 3 ranked player in the nation, while Dianne Matias is No. 48, Lindsey Nelson is No. 50, and Luana Magnani is No. 67. On the doubles scene, DeVera/Matias are ranked No. 21, Magnani/Fink are No. 23, Magnani/Nelson are No. 35 and DeVera/Anastasiu are No. 38. Baylor is ranked No. 15, UCLA is ranked No. 17, and Illinois is No. 46.

RECENT RESULTS: USC won out in the battle against the weather last week, fending off rainy skies long enough to post decisive wins over Pac-10 foes Washington and Washington State. The Trojans played out singles first in case of wet weather to come, and didn't give up a point in either Pac-10 dual match. Against Washington, Anca Anastasiu didn't give up a single game on her way to her eighth straight dual match singles victory. Dianne Matias snagged the match-clinching victory in a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 3 singles. With skies still clear, the teams decided to go to doubles action after all, and the Trojans rolled right through to claim a clean sweep on the day. Against WSU, Matias was the one to post a smooth 6-0, 6-0 sweep of her opponent, while Anastasiu remained flawless in dual match action after a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 6 singles. With the matchhandily decided, the teams opted not to play out doubles, leaving USC with a 6-0 victory.

USC VS. BAYLOR: This will be the first-ever meeting between the Trojans and the Bears. Baylor has an 11-2 record and is on a five-match win streak. The Bears are led by #13 Zuzana Zemenova and #14 Zuzana Cerna.

USC VS. UCLA: USC is 38-26 all-time against the Bruins. USC went 2-1 against UCLA last year, winning 4-3 in Pac-10 play, then falling 5-2 during a nonconference match, and then winning 4-3 in the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins are 9-2 overall and 2-0 in Pac-10 play. UCLA's ranked singles players are #24 Laura Gordon, #37 Tracy Lin, #73 Ashley Joelson and #113 Anna-Viktoria Lind.

USC VS. ILLINOIS: USC is 1-0 all-time against the Fighting Illini, as the Trojans won their only meeting 6-2 in 2000. Illinois has a 5-6 record and has players currently ranked.

GRAB THE GAUNTLET: With the Lexus Gauntlet hovering around the halfway mark of the 18-sport crosstown competition, the USC-UCLA rivalry race remains intense with plenty of points yet to be determined toward the perpetual trophy presented by the Southern California Lexus Dealers Association. The magic number to clinch the all-sports trophy is 57.5 points. In the first four years of the Gauntlet competition, the archrivals have alternated winning the trophy. USC won the inaugural trophy in 2002 and again in 2004. UCLA captured the rivalry's crown jewel in 2003 and 2005.

NELSON IN FULL EFFECT: USC's top returning player is right back at her winning ways. Playing at the No. 1 singles slot, sophomore Lindsey Nelson earned herself Pac-10 Player of the Week honors with a smooth effort over ranked opponents from Washington and Washington State. She holds an 8-3 record in dual match play so far this season.

COMEBACK KID: Senior Luana Magnani missed out on the 2005 season with eligibility troubles, but is back in full effect this season for USC. She cruised to a 6-0 record in dual matches at the No. 4 singles slot until slipping in a No. 3 singles match at Arizona. She holds a #67 ITA ranking in singles, and also is ranked with two different doubles partners -- #23 with Lindsey Nelson and #35 with Amanda Fink. For her efforts earlier in the season, Magnani was named a Pac-10 Player of the Week.

LEFTY ON THE LOOSE: Freshman southpaw Amanda Fink has wasted no time turning heads in her first year at USC. She now has the entire ITA field looking up at her, as she recently took over the No. 1 ranking after an impressive start to her Trojan career and now sits at No. 3 in the nation. She's 27-4 on the year, and 9-1 in dual matches.

ANCA IN ACTION: Junior Anca Anastasiu has some smarts to go along with her tennis success. A 4.0 student who also wields a wicked racket, Anastasiu is USC's only undefeated player in dual-match action. She's been holding down the No. 5 and 6 singles slots, posting a 9-0 record in USC's dual match season.

2006 TROJANS: The 2006 USC squad, led by head coach Richard Gallien -- in his 11th season at Troy -- is highlighted by six returning players from last year's team that reached the NCAA Quarterfinals and finished the 2005 season with a No. 7 national ranking. This year, the Trojans boast four newcomers to the roster as USC works toward an 11th straight appearance at the NCAA Tournament. USC finished with 19-4 overall record and went 7-1 in Pac-10 play to finish second in the conference.

HEAD COACH Richard Gallien: Now entering his 11th season at Troy, Gallien has strung together 10 straight NCAA appearances, nine top-20 team rankings and five trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th for the past seven years. At USC, Gallien has compiled a 176-87 overall record and .669 win percentage. In his 13 years as a head coach (also coaching the men at Pepperdine prior to coming to USC), he boasts a 238-111 (.682) career mark.

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