USC Misses Upset; Falls 56-53 To No. 8 Stanford

Feb. 25, 2007

PALO ALTO, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team was left just short of a big upset on the road, falling 56-53 to No. 8 Stanford in the Pac-10 regular-season finale for both teams on Sunday afternoon at Stanford's Maples Pavilion. The Trojans got ahead by one point on a layup from Shay Murphy with 50 seconds remaining, but Stanford's posts Jayne Appel and Brooke Smith scored the next four points for the Cardinal to steal away the win. Murphy led USC in scoring with 13 points, and fellow senior Chloe Kerr had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Trojans. Appel led all scorers with 14 points, and Stanford also got double figures from Smith (13 points) and Kristen Newlin (10). USC moves to 16-12 overall and finishes Pac-10 play in fifth place with a 10-8 record. Stanford is now 25-4 overall and takes the top seed into the upcoming Pac-10 Tournament with a 17-1 mark.

USC's pressure defense forced the Cardinal into eight turnovers in the first half, generating nine points for the Trojans to help USC hold a 29-28 halftime edge. Stanford was shooting better in the half, going 40 percent from the floor to USC's 30, but the Trojans got themselves to the line and went 11-of-14 to counter the slower start from the floor. Shooting didn't heat up much more for the Trojans, unfortunately, as they finished the game with a 28.6 percent -- a season low for USC. Stanford shot 35.6 percent in the game.

USC took off on a 5-0 scoring run, then got a big block on the post from Nadia Parker to hold USC early 9-5 lead after five minutes of action. Parker then slipped in a score to get USC up 11-4 before Jillian Harmon converted a three-point play to end USC's scroing run at 7-0. Hailey Dunham converted a layup next for the Trojans, making it 13-7 USC at 13:00. Stanford's Brooke Smith hit a three later, however, cutting the score to 14-12 at 11:00, and two free throws from Jayne Appel locked it up 14-14, but a pair of free throws from Chloe Kerr got USC back ahead 16-14 crossing the 10-minute mark. Shay Murphy found Kerr low to get USC ahead by four, 22-18 with 5:20 left in the half. Smith scored low to make it 22-20 USC, andthen a fast break set up Murphy for a slick layup off a Dunham assist for a 24-20 USC edge with 3:46 to go. After forcing a turnover, Allison Jaskowiak got on the ground for the loose ball an d was fouled. She drained both ends of her one-and-one to get USC ahead 28-22 with 2:41 on the clock. Stanford followed a free throw from Dunham with two layups to cut the score to 29-26 as the last minute of the half came, and then another fast break layup by Stanford off a USC miss made it a one-point game at the half, 29-28 USC.

Jamie Funn opened the second half with a sore in the paint. Stanford's Smith and USC's Kerr both were tagged with their third fouls early in the half, and then Smith picked up her fourth at 18:05. Stanford's other posts filled in, as Kristen Newlin and Jayne Appel delivered in the paint to get Stanford its first lead since the first minute of action, up 32-31 at 16:33. The threes that were falling for Hagiya against Cal the previous game were just a hair off the mark against Stanford. Appel scored six straight points for the Cardinal to get a 36-31 Stanford lead five minutes into the second half. The fouls that the Stanford fans wanted in the first half came in the second, as USC had six fouls by 12:40. Murphy broke USC's scoring slump with a putback at 12:15 to make it 36-33 Stanford just before the Cardinal went into bonus and Appel became the first player to hit double figures in the game with two free throws for a 38-33 Stanford lead. Murphy nailed a three next for the Trojans, and then USC was hit with its 10th foul at 9:16, sending Newlin to the line as Stanford went back up by five. Stanford's fourth foul of the half came at 8:25 as Murphy went to the line, getting an unfortunate roll on the first and making the second for a 41-37 score. Again, the Cardinal were awarded a trip to the line, and Stanford took a 42-37 advantage at the 8-minute mark.

Morghan Medlock knocked down a three to cut the lead to two, only to have Smith hit a jumper for Stanford at 6:32 to make it 44-40 Stanford. Funn delivered low and then the USC defense got a stop, but Smith got a basket next to keep a four-point lead for the Cardinal. Kerr put in a two free throws after Appel got her fourth foul of the game -- Stanford's fifth of the half. Dunham tied it up 48-48 with a jumper at 3:30, and Kerr stuffed the next Cardinal shot attempt. Appel scored low next, but Medlock nailed her second three to boost USC into the lead 51-50 with 2:25 left to play. Newlin hit a jumper to grab back the slim lead for Stanford. USC went on the attack with a minute on the clock and Murphy got the runner for a 53-52 lead with 50 seconds. Appel got another low score next, however, pushing Stanford in front 54-53 with 31 seconds remaining. Hagiya's 3-point try was just off the mark, and Stanford was able to get possession long enough on the rebound to call a timeout with 13.9 ticks left. Smith went to the line for two with 11.6 to go, making both to leave USC three points away. Murphy's long try before the buzzer hit rim, however, and USC was stuck with a 56-53 loss.

USC now turns to take on the Pac-10 Tournament, opening the competition in the quarterfinals against Washington. The Trojans face the Huskies at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday (March 3) at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. A win would put USC in the at 4:30 p.m. semifinal on Sunday (March 4). The Pac-10 championship game is set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday (March 5).

No. 8 Stanford 56, USC 53
USC 29 - 24 -- 53
STAN 28 - 28 -- 56

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