With improved rebounding, Stanford recovers from skid to cruise past USC 86-59

Stanford outrebounds USC 53-22 in win

Team comparison stats

With a balanced effort and four players in double figures, No. 5 Stanford (12-2, 9-2 Pac-12) broke a two-game skid to beat Southern California 86-59 at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz. After losing to Colorado in double overtime in Boulder last weekend and then falling to UCLA on Friday, the Cardinal bounced back with a balanced effort.

It was “obviously much better effort today,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.

“I’m really proud of our team, how we bounced back,” she continued. “It’s been a very tough week, obviously playing an overtime game in Colorado, and a really physical game with UCLA. I think our team responded very well. I think we had 50-plus rebounds.”

Rebounding was a sore spot for Stanford against UCLA, but against USC (6-7, 4-6), the Cardinal won the boards battle by a whopping 53-22. Sophomore guard Haley Jones and freshman forward Cameron Brink led the rebounding comeback; Jones had 11 to go along with her 18 points, and Brink grabbed 9 to go with her 8 points.

Brink, who has had trouble in the foul department several times this season, earned a start and only committed three personal fouls against the Trojans. She’s also shooting 64.1% from the field, higher than any other player in program history. The lineup change, with Brink starting, helped Stanford against USC.

“You know we needed to change,” said VanDerveer about the reconfiguration of the starting five. “And we needed to get people’s attention, that if you want to be out there, if you want to start the game, you’ve got to play better.”

The game started as a back-and-forth contest, with the teams trading baskets for the majority of the first ten minutes. Stanford made the last two shots of the period, a three-pointer from senior Kiana Williams followed by a jumper from junior guard Lexie Hull. The Cardinal entered the second quarter with a 22-18 advantage.

Stanford turned up their offense in the second quarter leading off with a driving layup from Jones, who, once again, had the opportunity to play in her hometown of Santa Cruz, albeit without any fans in attendance. After a trey from fifth-year guard Anna Wilson and another layup from Jones, the Cardinal were suddenly ahead with a double-digit lead, 29-18.

With production from a couple of forwards, freshman Jordyn Jenkins and grad student Jordan Sanders, USC managed to get within six at the halfway point of the period. Stanford responded with a 14-5 run to enjoy a 45-30 lead heading into the break. Jones led all scorers at halftime with 12 points plus 6 rebounds. Williams and USC’s Jordan Sanders had 10 points each.

The Cardinal dominated the second half, outscoring USC 41-29 over the last two quarters.

Endyia Rogers paced USC with 19 points plus 4 rebounds. Sanders and sophomore center Angel Jackson scored 12 points each.

In addition to Jones, three other Stanford players finished in double figures: Williams (16 points), Lexie Hull (12 points, 5 rebounds), and Fran Belibi (12 points, 7 rebounds).

“We had a lot of different people contribute,” VanDerveer said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball better. That was a problem. We’re getting ready to play Washington State; we need to play really well.”

The Cardinal head to the Pacific Northwest for two games this week against Washington State, a team picked to finish last in the conference in preseason polls. However, the Cougars are playing well, toppling ranked teams, and riding high after beating Oregon State on the road in double overtime Sunday afternoon.

USC returns home to face Arizona and Arizona State next weekend.

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