Stanford Stymies USC, 82-62
Jan. 9, 2010
LOS ANGELES (AP) - First-year Southern California coach Michael Cooper got a good look at what he would like his program to become.
The tutorial happened during a loss to No. 2 Stanford.
Kayla Pedersen had 24 points and 14 rebounds to help No. 2 Stanford beat Southern California 82-62 on Friday night.
"They're a very good basketball team," Cooper said. "They showed you whey they're ranked so high."
Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinal (12-1, 2-0 Pac-10) in their 15th win in the 17 games against the Trojans. Stanford outrebounded USC 54-27 and shot 46.6 from the field.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer was pleased with her team after starting off Pac-10 play with what she thought was a lackluster 21-point win against California on Jan 2.
"We played much improved since our last game," VanDerveer said. "We rebounded well, ran well and I'm really happy with our improvement."
Ashley Corral led the Trojans (8-6, 2-1) with 18 points. Brianna Gilbreath had 10 points and six assists.
USC trimmed Stanford's lead to 43-34 after Corral scored four straight points on a jumper and a layup. The Cardinal responded with four 3-pointers during a 15-2 run to put the game out of reach.
Given that the Trojans had rallied for several victories this season, Stanford players were prepared for the USC to make a run.
"We just kept our composure and kept telling each other to keep doing what we're doing," Ogwumike said. "I think by us staying calm really helped us to not let them take advantage of us."
Under Cooper, the Trojans have beat three Top 25 teams this season. But they got off to a slow start against the Cardinal and never recovered.
"For us to come back against the No. 2 team in the country and get within nine points was admirable on our part, but it doesn't do anything for us," Cooper said. "We've still got a lot of work ahead of us."
USC made just three of its first 17 shots as Stanford raced out to a 30-7 lead. The Cardinal converted 14 of 22 field goals during that stretch and outrebounded the Trojans 17-3.
"We didn't execute the things that we wanted to," Gilbreath said. "With teams like Stanford, any ranked opponent, there's no room for errors.
"When you do that, there's no way you can go up against a team like Stanford and win."
Following the game, former USC greats Nicky McCrimmon and Pam McGee spoke to the players in the locker room about the once storied women's basketball program.
"They started all of the tradition at USC and we're trying to bring it back," Corral said.
The sparse crowd applauded when former Trojans star and three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie showed up in the first half. USC certainly could've used the 6-foot-5 Leslie to contend with Stanford bigs Ogwumike and Jayne Appel, who finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.