USC uses defense to upset No. 2 Stanford 55-46

Jan 15, 2023, 2:09 AM | Updated: 5:18 pm
Stanford guard Haley Jones (30) and forward Brooke Demetre (21) grapple for a loose ball with South...

Stanford guard Haley Jones (30) and forward Brooke Demetre (21) grapple for a loose ball with Southern California guard Okako Adika (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

              Stanford forward Cameron Brink, left, shoots as Southern California center Clarice Akunwafo defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Southern California guard Kayla Williams, left, reaches in on Stanford guard Talana Lepolo during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Southern California guard Okako Adika, left, as she passes the ball while under pressure from Stanford forward Brooke Demetre during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Southern California guard Taylor Bigby, left, shoots as Stanford forward Francesca Belibi defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Southern California guard Okako Adika, right, grabs a rebound away from Stanford forward Francesca Belibi during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Stanford guard Talana Lepolo, right, drives toward the basket as Southern California guard Kayla Williams defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
            
              Stanford guard Haley Jones (30) and forward Brooke Demetre (21) grapple for a loose ball with Southern California guard Okako Adika (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Destiny Littleton scored 18 points with six assists as Southern California pulled off a program-defining win Sunday with a 55-46 upset victory over No. 2 Stanford.

Okako Adika scored 11 points with 11 rebounds, while Taylor Bigby and Kayla Williams added nine points each as the Trojans set the tone with their defense and held on late to end a 14-game losing streak against the Cardinal who had won 51 straight against unranked opponents.

It was USC’s first victory over Stanford since the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament.

“I just thought we really took care of business this weekend, which is the understatement of the century,” USC head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “Stanford is so good. They’re No. 2 in the country. I thought we executed the game plan, were super tough and made plays the whole game. I haven’t even looked at the stat sheet because who cares, right?”

USC (13-4, 3-3 Pac-12) held Stanford to four points in the first quarter, its low for any period this season. The Trojans led by as many as 11 points early in the fourth quarter before closing out the victory just eight days after a heartbreaking loss to then-No. 12 UCLA.

Cameron Brink scored 11 points with 14 rebounds for Stanford (17-2, 5-1), which saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end. The defeat also ended the Cardinal’s 39-game winning streak over Pac-12 competition.

Haley Jones had 12 rebounds for Stanford but was held to eight points after she entered with 13.3 per game.

“It wasn’t just turnovers, it was bad shots,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I don’t know that we can do anything any worse. This has to be rock bottom in terms of execution offensively, lack of screening. They got to the free-throw line 26 times. Even with all of those bad things, it was a six point game with three, four minutes left.”

Stanford held USC to 27.3% shooting from the field, but the Trojans made up the difference by going 8 of 19 from 3-point range and making 17 of 26 free throws. Stanford was 4 of 21 from distance and 8 of 10 from the line.

USC looked up for the task early with a suffocating defense that forced six turnovers in the first quarter and held Stanford to 2 of 10 shooting in the opening 10 minutes, while taking an 11-4 lead.

Stanford rallied to tie the game 19-19 with 1:09 left in the first half before a five-point USC burst put the Trojans up 24-19 at the break.

USC made a statement to close the third quarter. Clarice Akunwafo blocked Stanford’s Lauren Betts with three seconds left in the period. Williams used the time to get into the front court and drain a 24-footer at the buzzer for a 43-33 advantage, USC’s largest of the game to that point.

“(Akunwafo) showed up today and she got that key block, I will remember it forever,” said Littleton, a South Carolina transfer in her first season at USC. “It was a momentum swing and we come down and hit a 3. That was because of (Akunwafo).”

USC nearly held Stanford to single digits in the fourth quarter as well, allowing 13, with four of those coming in the closing seconds. The only other time Stanford was held to single digits in a quarter this season was a seven-point performance in the fourth quarter in its only other defeat vs. South Carolina on Nov. 20.

“We haven’t shot the ball really well in the last couple of games,” VanDerveer said. “But we have to be grittier. I just feel like we have to be a much more competitive, aggressive, grittier team. Obviously some shots didn’t go down, but maybe it’s taking better shots. Our field-goal percentage (30.9%) was abysmal and theirs was not much better.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Stanford: After a victory over No. 8 UCLA, followed by the unexpected loss at USC, another challenge awaits for the Cardinal with a home test against No. 10 Utah on Friday to open a run of four consecutive home games.

USC: The top defense in the Pac-12 (52.0 points per game entering Sunday) has been making more statements. USC gave up a combined 10 first-quarter points to Cal (six) and Stanford (four) in a span of three days.

UP NEXT

Stanford: Home against Utah on Friday.

USC: At Washington State on Friday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) defends against a shot while under pressure from Anahei...
Associated Press

Tyler Seguin’s shootout goal gives Stars 3-2 win over Ducks

DALLAS (AP) — Tyler Seguin scored Dallas’ second shootout goal, and the Stars beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Monday night. Nils Lundkvist and Roope Hintz scored in regulation for Dallas, and Jason Robertson also scored in the shootout. The Stars dropped three straight 3-2 games in overtime before the All-Star break. Dallas goaltender Jake […]
21 hours ago
New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) and Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (8) fight du...
Associated Press

Lafreniere scores in OT to lift Rangers over Flames 5-4

NEW YORK (AP) — Alexis Lafreniere scored 1:37 into overtime and Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves as the New York Rangers beat the Calgary Flames 5-4 on Monday night. Lafreniere led a 2-on-1 rush and then tracked down a rebound, beating Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom for his seventh goal of the season. That ended a […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Actor Simu Liu, right, watches an NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and ...
Associated Press

Marvel’s Simu Liu dedicates ‘sensory room’ at Warriors arena

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Simu Liu, who’s best known for playing Marvel superhero Shang-Chi, wants everyone who attends an event at Chase Center to feel welcome, comfortable and supported, just as he has been in the five months since opening up about his own challenges with anxiety. Now, there’s the Simu Liu Sensory Room, complete […]
21 hours ago
Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) dunks between Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) a...
Associated Press

Murray hits eight 3-pointers as Kings beat Rockets 140-120

HOUSTON (AP) — Keegan Murray had a career-high 30 points and set a franchise rookie record with eight 3-pointers to help the Sacramento Kings snap a two-game skid with a 140-120 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night. Murray, the fourth overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, shot 8 for 12 from beyond […]
21 hours ago
San Antonio Spurs' Jakob Poeltl (25) goes up to shoot while being fouled by Chicago Bulls' Nikola V...
Associated Press

Vucevic, Drummond come up big, Bulls beat Spurs 128-104

CHICAGO (AP) — Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 12 rebounds, Andre Drummond set season highs with 21 points and 15 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls handed San Antonio its ninth straight loss, beating the Spurs 128-104 on Monday night. Zach LaVine scored 20 points and DeMar DeRozan had 19, helping the Bulls match a […]
21 hours ago
New Jersey Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek (41) watches the puck as he makes a save during the firs...
Associated Press

Bratt power-play OT goal gives Devils 5-4 win over Canucks

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jesper Bratt scored on a power play with 43 seconds left in overtime and the New Jersey Devils beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 on Monday night after squandering a three-goal lead. Jack Hughes and Ondrej Palat scored two goals apiece and Vitek Vanecek made 26 saves in winning his 10th straight […]
21 hours ago
USC uses defense to upset No. 2 Stanford 55-46