No. 4 Stanford 79, Southern Cal 55

Chiney Ogwumike gathered her fellow starters before the game and

reminded them what time of year it is.

”It’s February and this is what prepares us for March,” she

said before leading No. 4 Stanford to a 79-55 victory over Southern

California on Friday night.

Ogwumike had 26 points and 15 rebounds for her record-setting

20th double-double of the season in the Cardinal’s 12th straight

win over the reeling Trojans.

Joslyn Tinkle added 17 points and 11 rebounds, Mikaela Ruef had

a career-best 12 points and eight rebounds, and Amber Orrange had

10 points to help keep the Cardinal (23-2, 12-1 Pac-12) tied with

No. 6 California atop the league standings. The Golden Bears beat

15th-ranked UCLA 79-51 earlier Friday. Stanford earned its ninth

straight victory and improved to 14-0 away from home this

season.

”Just different people stepping up in different roles this time

of year is really important for us,” Ogwumike said. ”Our team was

determined.”

Alexyz Vaioletama scored 14 points and Cassie Harberts added 13

for the Trojans (8-16, 5-8), who have dropped five in a row and

eight of nine. They shot 33 percent from the floor and went 13 of

17 from the free throw line.

Ogwumike’s double-double bettered the single-season record that

she and older sister Nneka set last season before Nneka graduated

and began playing for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. Chiney has 50

double-doubles in her three-year career, one shy of Nneka’s record

of 51 set from 2008-12.

”I felt a little off-balance in the first half. I definitely

forced a lot at some points,” said Ogwumike, who had eight points

in the half. ”Their defense was very aggressive and physical and

it took me a while to figure out how to handle the pressure. Having

time to regroup and listen to coach and my teammates helped me come

out with a fresh start.”

The Trojans kept it close early in the game, which opened a

stretch of four straight against ranked opponents. There were five

lead changes and two ties in the first half before Stanford pulled

away over the final 4:58.

”It was a tough game,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.

”We struggled with our perimeter shooting, but our three captains

did a great job as leaders.”

Stanford outscored USC 12-2 to end the first half leading 31-19,

the Cardinal’s first double-digit lead of the game.

The Trojans pulled to 19-17 on a 3-pointer by Ariya Crook before

Orrange sparked the Cardinal’s run with eight points.

Both teams committed eight turnovers each, but Stanford shot 46

percent from the field to USC’s 27 percent.

”The first half we had a good game plan keeping Chiney

contained, especially in the low post,” Vaioletama said. ”The

second half it was pretty difficult.”

Ogwumike scored Stanford’s first seven points of the second half

before Sara James and Tinkle hit back-to-back 3-pointers that

pushed the lead to 44-29.

Tinkle, Ruef and Ogwumike combined for a 20-10 run that extended

Stanford’s lead to 64-39. Tinkle had nine points, Ruef six and

Ogwumike four. Tinkle helped the Cardinal to a 36-16 edge in the

paint and a 46-33 edge on the boards.

USC managed to end Stanford’s streak of holding its previous

three opponents to under 50 points. The Trojans shot 31 percent

from 3-point range, better than the nation-leading 24 percent that

Stanford had been allowing from behind the arc.

The win completed a season sweep by Stanford, which beat USC

75-66 last month. The Trojans haven’t beaten the Cardinal since a

73-72 win on Jan. 6, 2008.