No. 3 Stanford 78, Southern Cal 64

Southern California’s attempt at an ambush came up short.

After losing to Stanford by 44 points last month, the Trojans

were hoping that a touch of overconfidence would creep into the

minds of the Cardinal players.

No such luck.

The third-ranked Cardinal took a two-point lead at the break and

rallied in the second half to beat the Trojans 78-64 on Friday


The victory was the 51st in a row for Stanford (23-2, 13-0) in

conference play. It also gave the Cardinal an automatic berth in

the semifinals of next month’s Pac-10 tournament.

”We wanted to get the bye in the tournament,” said forward

Kayla Pedersen, who scored 17 points. ”We wanted it to be a

blowout. We focused on the little things.”

Even with their earlier victory over the Trojans, the Cardinal

were smart enough to be wary as they prepared for Friday’s second

meeting. A quick reminder came last week when Stanford beat

Washington 62-52 after beating the Huskies by 29 points in the

first meeting.

”We knew it was going to be tougher the second time around,”

Pedersen said. ”Everybody scouts everybody and everybody talks to


One thing that made it tougher for the Cardinal was the loss of

forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike. Ogwumike sprained her right ankle early

in the second half and left the game, forcing her teammates to make

up for her 16.6 points per game.

Fellow captains Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen responded. Pohlen

scored 19 points and Chiney Ogwumike picked up some of the slack

with 13 second-half points.

Briana Gilbreath scored 17 points and Stefanie Gilbreath added

16 for USC (15-9, 7-6).

”This was definitely an improvement,” USC coach Michael Cooper

said. ”We’re definitely getting better and I think it all started

with the UCLA game (on Feb. 6) that we played here and learning

what it takes to play the top-echelon teams.”

The Cardinal opened the second half with a 12-2 run, but the

Trojans got back within five points.

USC had a chance to get closer after Stanford coach Tara

VanDerveer was whistled for a technical foul, but Jacki Gemelos

missed the two free throws and the Trojans turned the ball over on

their next possession.

Stanford used a 21-8 spurt later in the second half to finally

pull away.

”USC came out and it looked like they wanted to slow the tempo

a little bit,” VanDerveer said. ”They were more physical this

time around.”