When USC women’s basketball takes on Stanford, it is typically tough sledding for the Trojans. Sunday’s game was no different, as Stanford dominated USC 86-59.
Entering the contest, No. 5 Stanford had defeated USC in 11 straight matches, but the Trojans had a chance to pull off the upset since the Cardinal had struggled in their past two games.
The story heading into the game was the return of reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Alissa Pili to USC’s starting lineup. The sophomore forward dealt with an ankle injury that sidelined her until Jan. 15 when USC upset then-No. 25 Washington State.
Pili scored four points before she went down late in the first quarter with another injury. She did not return to the game, and her offensive presence was greatly missed.
The Trojans led the Cardinal 18-17 when Pili was forced to exit, but Stanford took advantage of Pili’s absence and went on a 14-0 run to lead 31-18 with eight minutes left in the second quarter. USC fell further behind from that moment; the Cardinal led by as many as 28 points en route to their decisive victory.
“We started well and then we stopped moving, got a little stagnant on offense,” USC head coach Mark Trakh said.
Since that strong first quarter, the Trojans made just 15 of 45 field goals and only scored 41 points. USC was also outplayed on the boards with Stanford picking up 53 total rebounds to USC’s 22.
Still, Stanford gave USC many opportunities to get back in the game. The Cardinal totaled an astonishing 18 turnovers and were only able to come up with five steals as opposed to the 9.1 that the team averages.
Even in the loss, USC sophomore guard Endyia Rogers impressed with 19 points and four rebounds. Rogers was given very little help with only two of her teammates scoring more than four points.
USC struggled through most of the game but showed some encouraging signs. The team only committed eight turnovers and it collected eight steals on the defensive side of the ball. Four of these steals came from sophomore center Angel Jackson.
The Trojans return to the Galen Center to face No. 10 Arizona on Friday at 4 p.m.