Trojans Fall to No. 4 Stanford in Final Minutes, 61-53
Dec. 29, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) - No. 4 Stanford pulled away over the final 10 minutes to beat Southern California 61-53 Thursday night in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
"It's getting frustrating with our team that we come so close," Cooper said. "There's no reason to lose this game. We had them right where we wanted them."
USC got within one several times early in the second half before taking its only lead of the half, 44-43, on a 3-pointer by Ariya Crook. In the first half, the Trojans held narrow leads.
Ashley Corral scored 21 points for the Trojans (5-6, 0-1), who returned home after nearly a month on the road to lose their eighth straight to the Cardinal (10-1, 1-1). USC was ranked to start the season, but lost three of its first four games to fall out.
"When it's winning time, we just don't push and get through it," Corral said. "We really beat ourselves this game."
Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 19 points and 15 rebounds and Toni Kokenis added 15 for Stanford, which pulled away over the final 10 minutes to win.
It was a three-point game for much of the second half, and Stanford switched to a zone late.
"Their zone wasn't disruptive," Cooper said. "It was our inability to recognize what was open and hit shots."
After the Trojans led by one, Stanford outscored them 15-5 to end the game. Nnemkadi Ogwumike had nine points and her sister Chiney Ogwumike, who played with three fouls, added four in the spurt.
"They show you what elite players do," Cooper said. "They kept grinding and grinding."
The Trojans repeatedly missed shots after keeping it close on the shooting of Corral and Christina Marinacci, who had 12 points.
"We get the energy on the offensive end from defense," Marinacci said. "There was a stretch where we just weren't getting shots. We weren't able to get that energy back and get another push in there."
Chiney Ogwumike finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The sisters helped Stanford to a 30-14 scoring advantage in the paint and a 44-40 edge on the boards.
"The sisters came down and took it to another level," Corral said.
Briana Gilbreath had 12 rebounds - 10 on the defensive boards - for the Trojans, who led by three points early in the game.
The Trojans closed the half on a 14-5 run to trail 33-30 at the break. Corral scored five points and Briana Gilbreath made four straight free throws to erase most of Stanford's largest lead of 12 points.
The Cardinal opened the game on a 13-5 spurt before USC ran off nine unanswered points to take a one-point lead. Stanford responded with a 15-2 run of its own, including 11 straight points during which Bonnie Samuelson and Kokenis had 3-pointers, to lead 28-16.
Both teams shot nearly identically in the half and both had seven turnovers.
The Trojans were without senior Jacki Gemelos, who tore her ACL against Texas A&M for the fourth time when she hurt her left knee on Dec. 18.