USC women can't handle Stanford, lose 82-62


So that's the standard for Pac-10 success.

No. 2 Stanford came into the Galen Center and blew the Women of Troy out of the water Friday night, 82-62, on the strength of 45 points from Kayla Pedersen and Nnemkadi Ogwumike.

In the front of the largest crowd at Galen for a women's game this season, coach Michael Cooper's squad started slow.

Really slow.

USC was outscored 22-4 in the first seven minutes of the game.

But the Women of Troy (8-6, 2-1) would fight back. They closed the gap to as little as nine points, 43-34, after a smooth jumper from point guard Ashley Corral shortly after the start of the second half.

From there, Stanford (12-1, 2-0) took control, with a 14-2 run powered by four 3-pointers.

Cooper said he was pleased with his squad's perseverance in coming back from an imposing deficit.

"I thought it was a very good played game by us," Cooper said. "For us to come back against the No. 2 team in the country and get within nine points, I thought that was admirable on our part. But that doesn't do anything for us."

Gilbreath spoke with high regard of a Stanford team that lost to No. 1 Connecticut by 12 last week but is still the Pac-10 favorite.

"They're definitely a team to admire," Gilbreath said. "They're very meticulous. When they run through their sets, they execute everything very well. We’ve definitely got time to grow."

Cooper said his team might have let up on the pressure when they got close. And he knew Stanford would capitalize immediately.

"The fact is that they’re a very good basketball team," Cooper said. "Once we got to within nine points we took a sigh of relief like, 'Oh, we’re back in the game.' You're not gonna win a lot of games with that kind of mindset."

Key player: Stanford had high praise for Corral, who had 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting in 33 minutes.

The 5-foot-9 sophomore covered the court aggressively while leading her team's offense.

Said head coach Tara VanDerveer: “Ashley Corral is as good a point guard as we’ve played against — on any team.”

Ogwumike said Corral found a way to score against a Stanford defense that doesn't usually allow scorers to do so.

"Ashley is very crafty," she said. "She has very good handling skills and a great 3-point shot. They screened for her a lot."

Key development: Cooper brought it up after the game: the Women of Troy still can't rebound. Stanford literally doubled USC's rebounding total, 54-27.

The Cardinal had 20 second chance points; USC had seven.

"Probably our biggest [Achilles'] heel tonight was our rebounding," Cooper said. "Championship teams rebound the ball, and that's not what we're doing."

Notes: Former Women of Troy Nicky McCrimmon and Pam McGee spoke in the USC locker room prior to the game. McCrimmon played for the Sparks under Cooper in the 2000's. Ex-WNBA great Lisa Leslie was also in attendance at the Galen Center and got significant applause from the crowd of 1,877 when she arrived in the first half.