After trailing for nearly the entire game, Stanford women’s basketball (12-7, 6-1 Pac-12) came back from a 14-point third-quarter deficit against USC (13-5, 3-4) to take a 59-55 win on Friday night. With the victory, the Cardinal are tied for first place in the Pac-12 Conference with No. 7 Oregon.
Sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington and senior guard Brittany McPhee led the Cardinal comeback in the second half, especially in a fourth quarter where Stanford outscored USC 18-10. Carrington led the team with 15 points, scoring 10 in the third quarter while pulling down six rebounds. McPhee continued to show her leadership in the final frame. The senior scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead jump shot with only three minutes left in the game. With 25 seconds remaining and the score tied once again at 55-all, McPhee made a layup after receiving a pass from junior guard Marta Sniezek to give Stanford the lead for good.
“We stayed together as a team,” said McPhee. “We knew there were 40 minutes in the game — not 20, not 30. We kept playing hard, no matter what.”
The Cardinal struggled during the first 20 minutes of the game. Stanford turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, including once on each of its first four possessions. The miscues stymied opportunities to go on offensive runs and helped the Trojans build an early lead. In fact, all of USC’s first quarter points came off Stanford turnovers.
“You can’t score if you don’t have the ball,” McPhee commented. “If you keep turning [the ball] over and not putting up shots, you’re not going to win.”
The second half saw a marked improvement in the Cardinal’s ball handling and control. Stanford closed out the fourth quarter by making seven of its last 11 shots while only turning the ball over once in the frame.
“I think it’s staying focussed on winning no matter what that takes. My teammates were still really positive, and they made huge plays that kept us in the game,” said McPhee after the game.
Now, the Cardinal head to UCLA to take on the No. 13 Bruins in another Pac-12 Conference matchup. Currently sitting tied for first in the conference and with No. 7 Oregon playing No. 18 Oregon State, Stanford has the potential to emerge from this weekend as the sole holder of first place in the Pac-12.
Stanford and No. 13 UCLA will play at 3 p.m. on Sunday in Los Angeles, California. The game will be streamed live on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand and Gregory Block at gblock ‘at’ stanford.edu.