USC Falls At No. 4 Stanford

    USC Trojans guard Jordan Adams (1) dribbles the ball against Stanford Cardinal guard Karlie Samuelson (44). (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

    Jan. 27, 2014

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    PALO ALTO, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team was outplayed by the No. 4 team in the nation tonight, falling 86-59 to host Stanford. The Cardinal was clicking, while the Trojans tried to keep pace down the stretch. In the end, Stanford held strong to the top spot in the Pac-12 standings, staying undefeated in conference play with the win, while USC stays in the second-place slot. The Trojans are now 14-7 overall and 7-2 in Pac-12 action. No. 4 Stanford improves to 19-1, 8-0.

    A 14-0 Stanford scoring run created some powerful padding in the first half as the Cardinal turned a 3-point game into a 17-point margin and would hold a 46-28 lead at the half. Stanford shot 55 percent from the floor through the first 20 minutes to outpace the Trojans' 35 percent, while the Cardinal's Chiney Ogwumike led all with 17 points by the break. She'd finish up with a game-high 30 points and 12 rebounds, helping Stanford wrap the game shooting 51 percent from the floor to USC's 38 percent. The Cardinal was also effective from distance, nailing seven 3-pointers in the game to keep the Trojans out of reach. Stanford also won out on the boards 42-28.

    USC was led in the scoring column by Ariya Crook's 18 points and 17 from Cassie Harberts. Harberts took over as USC's No. 9 all-time scorer during the game, passing up former teammate and current pro Briana Gilbreath with her second bucket of the night. Stanford added to Ogwumike's double-double with 12 points apiece from Lili Thompson and Amber Orrange, an 11-point and 10-rebound effort from Mikaela Ruef, and 10 points from Karlie Samuelson.

    Stanford generated an 8-0 run into a nine-point lead before the Trojans stopped the surge with a score down low from Deanna Calhoun and a three-point play finished off by Cassie Harberts. A couple USC runners would follow a Stanford three, and the Trojans had trimmed things back down to a 19-16 Stanford edge. With 10:10 to go in the half it was still a three-point margin, but Stanford manufactured three straight scores in the paint, a sizable string of free throws and three to bump up to a 37-20 lead with 4:30 minutes left. Ariya Crook snapped the 14-0 Cardinal run when the Trojans were finally granted a visit to the stripe, planting both to make it 37-22 with 4:11 on the clock, and Alexyz Vaioletama followed with a three to cut it down to a 12-point deficit. Stanford would have the last words of the half, however, putting USC in a 46-28 hole at the break.

    Kaneisha Horn was a helpful scoring force early for the Trojans, and her three-point play with 13:10 to go was a spark that had it at 62-45 Stanford on the scoreboard. Shots stopped falling for USC next, though, and the referee's whistle blew plenty against the Trojans as the Cardinal made an 11-0 run next, taking a 73-45 lead before Calhoun snapped the run with a putback down low. There were still over 8 minutes left to play at that point, and USC still had some fight left. Harberts supplied a few more buckets for the Trojans down the stretch and Courtney Jaco knocked down both shots on her trip to the line, and USC finished up the game falling 86-59 to the host No. 4 Cardinal.

    The Women of Troy now return home for a weekend of action against the Washington schools. USC faces Washington State at 6 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 31) and then hosts Washington at 11 a.m. on Sunday (Feb. 2) -- all at Galen Center.