STANFORD,Calif. (AP) — Senior day inspired some emotion and Stanford put it to good use.
Lexie Hull had 14 points and six rebounds, Nadia Fingall and Ashten Prechtel each scored 11 points and the sixth-ranked Cardinal overpowered USC 79-59 in a Pac-12 game Sunday.
“I think so, a little bit. I mean, wanting to play well for our seniors,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
“They’re a very, very close team, so that was the case.”
The Cardinal (21-3, 10-2) have won 10 straight against USC (12-11, 4-8) and improved to 63-20 all-time against the Trojans. USC’s last win against Stanford came in the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament.
Alyssa Jerome, Kiana Williams and Anna Wilson each added eight points for the Cardinal, who won for the 11th time in 13 games and have won 17 of their last 18 home games.
Alissa Pili scored 12 points and Aliya Jeune had 11 for USC, which lost for the third time in four games after winning three straight.
The Cardinal opened the game with a 13-0 run on their way to a 25-3 lead late in the first quarter.
“We need to play that way every game,” VanDerveer said. “We’re not ever trying to run up the score on anybody, but we lost the last quarter. We need to play better in the second half.”
Pili broke the Trojans’ game-opening scoreless drought with just over 6 minutes left in the first quarter with a 3-pointer that made it 13-3.
The Cardinal took a 49-21 lead into halftime after shooting 48.5% in the first half and holding USC to 21.9%.
The Cardinal led 28-6 after the first quarter, holding USC to 16.7% shooting.
USC fell to 1-6 against ranked opponents and 1-3 versus Top 10 teams.
“They came out hot, they made 11 3s, so it’s kind of hard to recover from that. But I was happy that my young team fought in the second half,” USC coach Mark Trakh said.
Stanford shot 48.5% from the field and in the first half and 45.5% from beyond the arc. The Cardinal cooled off considerably in the second half, shooting 33.3% from the field, and connecting on just one 3-pointer in 12 attempts.
The Cardinal shot 42.1% from the field and 32.4% from beyond the arc for the game.
“I thought we were moving the ball well in the first half. We did shoot a pretty good percentage. We didn’t end up with as good a percentage,” VanDerveer said.
“We just have to continue to stress moving the ball, getting good shots, taking it to the basket, getting to the free throw line, things like that.”
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was in attendance for Stanford’s senior day. His sister Anna Wilson is a Stanford senior guard.
“I think they’re outstanding. I really like the way they play. They did a great job today. They run their stuff, they move the ball crisply, they do a lot of good things. I really liked the way they played.” Trakh on his impressions of Stanford.
USC: Any momentum this young team had after Friday’s 75-67 victory over California wasn’t enough to carry the Trojans against Stanford. The Trojans face another ranked opponent later this week when they host No. 9 Oregon State on Friday.
Stanford: Two days after their 16-game home winning streak was snapped in a 79-69 loss to No. 10 UCLA, the Cardinal left nothing to chance in Sunday’s game, coming out with the type of energy they will need to close out a tight Pac-12 title race. The second-place Cardinal trails Oregon by a game and leads UCLA by a half game.
USC: Hosts No. 9 Oregon State on Friday.
Stanford: At Utah on Friday.
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