No. 6 Stanford Falls At USC, 59-56
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Every coach hates to lose and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer is no exception.
But even the coach of the Pacific-10 Conference-leading women's basketball team found a positive in her sixth-ranked club's 59-56 loss to USC on Sunday.
'It's not good for the conference if one team sails through undefeated,' VanDerveer said after USC (10-7, 7-2) handed her Cardinal (15-3, 8-1) its first Pac-10 loss of the season.
USC coach Chris Gobrecht said the victory by her team, which overcame a 12-point deficit in the final 8:41, 'ugly. But we feel we're in the conference race now. A loss would have put us three games out.'
Jessica Cheeks' layup with 61 seconds left gave USC a one-point lead and Ebony Hoffman's two free throws with 21 seconds remaining sealed the Trojans' triumph.
USC outscored the Cardinal, 23-8, in the final eight minutes and 41 seconds.
Before Sunday, Stanford was the last remaining unbeaten team in Pac-10 women's play.
For USC, the victory was the Trojans' first over a team ranked in the AP Top 25 since they beat Stanford, 75-72, the last time the teams met in Los Angeles, during the 2002-2003 season USC was 0-3 this season against Top 25 teams before Sunday.
Hoffman's 16 points, including a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line, made her the Trojans' only scorer in double figures.
Stanford's Nicole Powell led all scorers with 29 points, 22 in the second half, including 13 consecutive Cardinal points as the visitors opened up a 48-36 lead.
Powell, a 6-2 senior who leads the Pac-10 in scoring, rebounding and free throw percentage, also grabbed a game best 12 rebounds and connected on 13 of her 14 foul shots.
After sinking a jump shot to give Stanford a 56-55 lead with 2:08 leff, Powell suffered a sl.ightly sprained right ankle and left the game for a minute.
Both teams shot poorly from the field in the first half, which ended with the Cardinal leading, 24-23, on s 3-point shot from the left baseline by Susan King Borchardt at the buzzer.
Stanford made seven of its 23 shots in the first half, 30.4 percent, and USC made seven of its 31 shots, 22.6 percent.
After USC freshman Jamie Funn made the game's first basket, the Trojans went nine minutes without a field goal.
Cheeks ended the drought with a 3-point basket with 10:18 remaining in the half.