Trojans up next for undefeated women’s hoops

Dec. 18, 2020, 4:24 p.m.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer made history in No. 1 Stanford’s last game, a 104-61 win at Pacific (0-1, 0-0 WCC), as she became the winningest coach in NCAA women’s basketball history. Since then, the Cardinal (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) have shifted their focus to Saturday’s matchup against USC (1-3, 0-3 Pac-12). Pac-12 Networks will broadcast the game at 6 p.m. PT from the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

Tuesday’s game against Pacific marked the third time in five games that the Cardinal scored at least 100 points and six players scored in double figures. While the Tigers kept the game close through the first half and went into the locker room with the score at 43-32, junior guard Lexie Hull opened the third quarter with a three-point shot and the Cardinal quickly put the game out of reach. Hull led the team with 17 points as she and the other four starters, as well as freshman forward Cameron Brink, all scored at least 12 points. 

Defensively, the Cardinal did not have their best game: After not allowing their first four opponents to shoot any better than 29% from the field, Pacific shot close to 40% on 23-58 from the field for the game, including 36.8% from behind the arc. The Tigers shot nearly 50% from the field in the second quarter as the Cardinal struggled to put the game away early. The Trojans, although currently sitting on a three-game losing streak, have shot at least 43% overall from the field in three of their four games this season.

USC most recently lost 73-52 to No. 11 UCLA, one of the Pac-12’s five ranked teams. Although the Trojans were playing with a 42-30 deficit at the half, a third quarter in which the team did not make any of its six shots from the field, and only scored five points on five made free throws, proved to be too much to overcome against the Bruins. By contrast, the third quarter has been kind to the Cardinal this season, as they have shot close to 50% from the field in four of five games this season. 

Turnovers and an inability to shoot the three also plagued the Trojans in their last contest, as they committed 18 turnovers in 40 minutes and sank only four of 17 shots from behind the arc. The Cardinal, with exceptional three-point shooters in sophomore guard Hannah Jump, senior guard Kiana Williams and Hull, will look to exploit USC’s weaknesses to pick up their third conference win of the season. The Trojans, meanwhile, led by sophomore guard and 2020 Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention honoree Endyia Rodgers, are searching for their first home win versus the Cardinal since 2008. 

The teams’ matchups date back to the 1976-77 season, with the Cardinal holding the edge with a 63-20 all-time record. Stanford’s last loss to USC came in the 2014 Pac-12 tournament in Seattle, and their last loss at the Galen Center was during the 2004 season. While the Cardinal have held the edge in the matchup for the last 30 years, the Trojans held a 13-game winning streak that began with an 84-64 USC win in early January 1981 and finally ended in March 1988 when the Cardinal prevailed in a 77-67 win. During that seven-year win streak, the Trojans made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament seven times, the Elite Eight four times and won the title twice in 1983 and 1984. 

Since VanDerveer’s tenure began during the 1985-1985 season, the Cardinal have lost to USC only 12 times. As VanDerveer attempts to extend her team’s current win streak against the Trojans, she will also work towards becoming the winningest coach in men’s and women’s NCAA basketball history. Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski leads all collegiate coaches with 1,135 career wins.

Contact Sofia Scekic at sscekic ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Sofia Scekic is the deputy managing editor for the sports section. She is a senior from Wisconsin studying Public Policy. An avid Green Bay Packers fan, she has watched nearly every game for the past nine years. Contact her at sscekic 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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