SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Stanford strives to be so unselfish passing the ball around it sometimes backfires.
Turnovers are still an issue with coach Tara VanDerveer, yet her Cardinal overcame those 18 mistakes by rebounding with energy and effort to create second chances and get out in transition.
Haley Jones had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Kiana Williams knocked down five 3-pointers on the way to 16 points, and No. 5 Stanford bounced back from consecutive defeats and its lone two losses of the season to beat USC 86-59 on Sunday.
“I think our team responded very well. We got on the glass, I think we had 50-plus rebounds. We had a lot of different people contribute,” VanDerveer said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball better, that was a problem.”
Freshman Cameron Brink grabbed nine rebounds and Anna Wilson seven boards and eight points as the Cardinal held a 53-22 advantage on the glass. Stanford took control with a 16-0 run spanning the first two quarters as USC went nearly 7 minutes without scoring.
The Cardinal (12-2, 9-2 Pac-12) lost their previous two games by a combined nine points, 77-72 in overtime at Colorado last weekend then 70-66 to UCLA on Friday night.
“It was huge,” Williams said of the importance she felt to lead. “Both the Colorado and UCLA game I think I could have done for my team, so we watched film so I took it upon myself, me and Alyssa (Jerome), the seniors, we had to put the hammer down. We haven’t lost three in a row. I think that’s what we did.”
Endiya Rogers scored 19 points to lead USC (6-7, 4-6), which had a shortened road trip to the Bay Area with Friday’s scheduled game at California postponed because of COVID-19 protocols within the Golden Bears program. It marked the second straight conference game postponed for the Trojans.
USC shot 8 of 16 in the first then went cold at 4 of 17 in the second, not scoring in the quarter until a putback by Jordan Sanders at the 6:51 mark.
The Cardinal won their 12th straight victory in the series. Stanford is temporarily playing it home games at Kaiser Permanente Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors G League affiliate, because of restrictions on sporting events and practices in Santa Clara County.
Williams found her shot to help her team go 5 for 8 from long range after Stanford made only two 3-pointers in the loss to UCLA.
The Cardinal had lost consecutive games for just the fourth time since 2010. Stanford has still held every opponent to under 78 points and 41.5% from the field.
The Trojans made 7 of their initial 10 shots for a 16-13 lead late in the first but went scoreless over the final 3:42 of the period missing four shots as Stanford closed on a 7-0 run for a 22-18 lead.
“We haven’t rebounded well all year,” USC coach Mark Trakh said. “It’s something we’ve got to work on. They hit the boards really well and we’ve got to defend a little better obviously – 86 points and they shot 50% from the field.”
USC: F Alissa Pili went down hard with 3:02 remaining in the opening quarter and limped off favoring her troublesome right ankle and didn’t return. Trakh is hopeful it isn’t serious and she will be OK to play this coming week. Last season’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year missed the first 10 games of the season with an injury to the same ankle. USC had an 8-0 run in the third quarter but it wasn’t enough to get the Trojans close. USC hasn’t scored more than 67 points the last 12 matchups with Stanford.
Stanford: Williams now has 260 career 3-pointers – she ranks third in program history behind Candice Wiggins (2005-08) 295 and Jeanette Pohlen (2008-11) 268. Stanford hasn’t had a three-game losing streak since a pair of such skids in 2000-01 and has dropped three straight only five times total in 35 seasons under VanDerveer – including just once during conference play since the start of her third season. It has been since 2014-15 that Stanford was last swept in the same weekend of conference play, and those came at the Arizona schools. The Cardinal haven’t lost in weekend series to UCLA and USC since 2007-08.
InFini Robinson, Anita Ortega and Kimberly Hobbs made up the all-women officiating crew.
USC: Hosts Arizona on Friday.
Stanford: The Cardinal play the first of two straight games at Washington State on Wednesday night before the second one Friday, the first accounting for a makeup from Dec. 4 as the contest was postponed by the county health department directive.