No. 8 Stanford Survives Scare From USC, 56-53, Wins Pac-10 Title Outright

Feb. 25, 2007

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Jayne Appel scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half, including a go-ahead basket with 36 seconds left, and No. 8 Stanford beat Southern California 56-53 Sunday to win the Pac-10 title.

The Cardinal (25-4, 17-1) clinched a share of the championship and the top seed in next week's tournament with a win Thursday against UCLA. But they made sure they wouldn't have to share the title with Arizona State with the win to close out the regular season.

Stanford struggled without Candice Wiggins, the two-time conference player of the year who sat out her second straight game with an injured hamstring. The Cardinal shot just 36 percent without their leading scorer and endured a few long droughts without a basket with Wiggins watching from the sideline.

They still managed to find a way to win, improving to 5-0 in games Wiggins has been sidelined. Stanford hopes to get its star back for the Pac-10 tournament next week.

The Cardinal will open play in the conference tournament in the quarterfinals on Saturday against the winner of the play-in game between Arizona and Oregon State.

USC (16-12, 10-8) missed out on an opportunity to tie Washington for fourth place in the conference but will still open the tournament against the Huskies next Saturday.

Appel scored underneath off a nice feed from Brooke Smith to give the Cardinal a 54-53 lead with 36 seconds left. Jamie Hagiya missed a jumper for USC and Appel came up with the loose ball after a scramble.

USC argued Appel tried to pass the ball before Stanford called timeout but the officials did not agree. Smith made two free throws after the timeout and Shay Murphy missed a long 3-point attempt just before the buzzer.

Smith committed her fourth personal foul less than 2 minutes into the second half with the Cardinal trailing by three. Appel replaced Smith and scored eight points during a 10-2 run that put the Cardinal up 38-33.

USC went more than 7 minutes without a field goal during the run, but then Stanford had an even longer drought. The Cardinal went 8:10 without a basket until Smith's jumper with 6:40 remaining made it 44-40.

Morghan Medlock made a 3-pointer - her first basket after six misses - to give USC a 51-50 lead with 2:26 to go. Murphy's driving layup with 54 seconds left gave USC its final lead at 53-52.

Murphy led USC with 13 points and Chloe Kerr added 11. The Women of Troy shot just 29 percent for the game.

Smith added 12 points for the Cardinal and Kristen Newlin had 10. Stanford has won 23 of 24 games and finished with one loss or fewer in the conference for the ninth time.

USC led 29-28 at the half despite going more than 6 minutes without a field goal at one point. Stanford closed the half with six straight points.

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