Williams scores 22, No. 6 Stanford beats USC 72-64
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Kiana Williams had a better feel for the game in the second half and that led to her attacking the basket and pulling up for 3-pointers more often. That’s all it took.
Williams scored 13 of her 22 points after halftime in helping No. 6 Stanford escape with a 72-64 victory over Southern California on Friday night.
“Our shot selection wasn’t great early on so (coach Tara VanDerveer) told us to get to the paint,” Williams said. “So that’s what we were doing. They were running us off the 3-point line.”
Alanna Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Cardinal (11-1, 1-0 Pac-12) won their fifth straight since losing at Gonzaga.
“Gritty, we play through anything,” Smith said. “It’s a word we like to use to describe ourselves. We don’t have to play pretty to win.”
Minyon Moore scored 13 points to lead the Trojans (10-3, 0-2), who have lost three of their past four. Kayla Overbeck matched her season-high with 10 points.
“The kids played hard,” Trojans coach Mark Trakh said. “We played the No. 6 team in the country and I might have a bias but Tara is the best coach in the country.”
DiJonai Carrington added 14 points and seven rebounds for Stanford, which beat Southern California for the eighth consecutive time.
Neither team shot particularly well. A late flurry of makes allowed Stanford to finish above 40 percent and the Trojans were held below 38 percent.
“We have to make shots,” Trakh said. “It’s a long Pac-12 season and now we have to get ready for Cal.”
Stanford outscored the Trojans 12-7 to open the fourth quarter, with Williams making a layup to push the lead to 66-54.
The Cardinal scored the final eight points of the third, highlighted by a steal and layup by Lacie Hull at the buzzer, to take a 54-47 advantage into the final quarter. She finished with eight rebounds and seven points.
“They are an aggressive, physical team and I thought we responded well,” VanDerveer said. “They make it tough. We had a much better second half. We spread the floor better and got into transition.”
Stanford led by seven points near the end of the first quarter, the largest lead for either team through three quarters.
Southern California took a 33-31 lead into the intermission.
THE BIG PICTURE
Southern California’s Aliyah Mazyck, who needs 26 points to join the 1,000-point club, did not make the trip. She missed two games earlier in the season because of an ankle injury. … Minyon Moore has scored in double figures in 11 of the 12 games she’s played. … Mariya Moore has reached double figures in 10 of the team’s 13 games. She needs three assists to move into the school’s top 10 all-time list.
Stanford 6-3 sophomore Maya Dodson (left foot) joined 6-0 freshman Lexie Hull (stress reaction) and senior guard Marta Sniezek (thumb) on the injured list. Junior guard Anna Wilson returned from an injury. She played three minutes total over her last four games, missing three of them. … Nadia Fingall had to leave the game with a hyper-extended right leg early in the third quarter. She returned to the court in the fourth quarter only to leave the game with a hyper-extended left moments later.
USC crosses the SF Bay to take on California on Sunday.
Stanford hosts UCLA on Sunday.