No. 14 Stanford Cruises Past USC, 77-56

Dec. 30, 2005

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Candice Wiggins had season highs of 26 points and nine rebounds, and No. 14 Stanford defeated Southern California 77-56 on Friday night to win its Pac-10 home opener and end an uncharacteristic two-game losing streak.

Brooke Smith added 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Cardinal (7-3 overall, 2-1 Pac-10), who avoided their first three-game skid since losing to Arizona, Oregon State and Oregon from Jan. 6-13, 2001.

Wiggins, who four assists and made four 3-pointers, scored Stanford's first five points of the second half and nine total as the Cardinal began the final 20 minutes with an 11-2 run and held USC without a field goal until the 15:24 mark.

This was an important win for Stanford on the heels of Wednesday's 77-69 loss at 24th-ranked Boston College that followed a 77-72 defeat at Washington on Dec. 22.

Camille LeNoir scored 16 points to lead the Women of Troy (8-4, 2-1), who had their three-game winning streak snapped after beginning the conference schedule with a sweep of the Oregon schools last week in Los Angeles.

USC leading scorer Eshaya Murphy, averaging 15.5 points coming in, was held to 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Her 3 with 9:12 left pulled the Women of Troy within 10, but they couldn't get closer.

Smith dominated with her spinning hook move and drew several reach-in fouls on the USC defense. Freshman Jillian Harmon had 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal for Stanford.

Krista Rappahahn scored nine points with three 3-pointers for the Cardinal before fouling out, a much better game after she shot 1-for-7 from long range against Boston College. Rappahahn hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the first half to start a stretch of four straight 3s by Stanford - Wiggins made the other two - for a 16-3 run that gave the Cardinal a 26-16 lead with 8:26 left in the half.

USC is 0-3 against ranked teams this season, also losing to Notre Dame and Ohio State.

Both teams shot well early, with Chloe Kerr scoring six straight for the Women of Troy. Stanford made 11 of its first 24 field-goal tries, but missed its next seven shots and struggled to move the ball against USC's pressure man defense. The Cardinal also missed their last six 3s of the first half and shot 40 percent, but led 36-28 at the break.

Stanford's Cissy Pierce sprained her left ankle with about 13:50 remaining and had to be carried to the locker room, grimacing in pain. Her status for Sunday's home game against UCLA was unclear.

Stanford hopes to have injured center Kristen Newlin back from a left leg injury for a Jan. 14 game against archrival California.

Newlin, a 6-foot-5 junior averaging 12.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, has a stress reaction in her femur and has missed the last five games.

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