Stanford women escape from L.A. with a Pac-12 victory


When in doubt, get the ball to Chiney Ogwumike.

Scoring 18 of her game-high 27 points in the second half, Ogwumike helped rally the fifth-ranked Stanford women's basketball team to a 64-59 victory over host USC in a Pac-12 Conference contest Friday night.

Bonnie Samuelson added 14 points for the Cardinal (14-1 in the Pac-12, 25-2 overall), which recovered from a 19-point deficit to move closer to its 14th consecutive conference title.

Stanford came back from its largest deficit since a game against Temple in November of 2007, when the Cardinal were also down by 19 before coming back to win.

A combination of the Trojans' aggressive defense and its own incompetence shoved Stanford to the wrong side of a 32-13 score with 6:08 remaining to play in the first half.

At that point, the Cardinal was shooting 25 percent (4 of 16) from the field, including 1 of 13 from 3-point land. Ogwumike made just one of her first seven shots and grabbed two rebounds.

That's when Ogwumike and her teammates flipped the switch and outscored USC, 19-7, the rest of the way to draw within 39-32 by halftime.

Stanford went 6 of 7 from the field, 4 of 4 from the foul line and committed a single turnover over the final 5:46 of the half.

With the Trojans still hanging onto a 43-39 advantage six minutes into the second half, it was as though Ogwumike decided enough was enough.

She proceeded to score the game's next eight points, giving Stanford a 47-43 margin and the lead for good.

Samuelson proved vital to the Cardinal cause, finishing 8 of 8 from the foul line, helping to keep the Trojans at arm's length down the stretch. She made four foul shots in the final 29 seconds.

Amber Orrange and Mikaela Ruef also played roles on defense to limit USC to a mere 22.2 percent shooting in the second half.

Ogwumike was 8 of 14 from the floor in the second half, recovering from her poor start.

Stanford saunters over to Westwood for a meeting with UCLA on Sunday at 4 p.m., a game to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

The Cardinal has not lost more than one game in conference play since losing twice in 2008. Since the Pac-10/12 formed in 1986, Stanford has won at least 12 games in every year but the first.

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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