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Women Of Troy Continue Losing Ways, Fall To Stanford 79-55

Evan Budrovich |
February 15, 2013 | 11:06 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

USC came out hot with its pink shoes, but couldn't sustain the intensity. (Avery Mitchell/Neon Tommy)
USC came out hot with its pink shoes, but couldn't sustain the intensity. (Avery Mitchell/Neon Tommy)
The Stanford Cardinal toyed with the Women of Troy early, but showcased their greatest strengths, defeating the Women of Troy, 79-55, at the Galen Center Friday night.

"We came in to the game with nothing to lose," said USC forward Alexyz Viaoletama. "Every game is 0-0 at the start, and we wanted to be the team to ruin our opponent's season."

The Women of Troy came out in pink shoes in honor of Play for Kay Foundation, and were definitely inspired early in the contest. Leading for stretches in the first half, USC crawled within two with 5:43 to play in the opening frame.

“We struggled with our perimeter shooting early and USC capitalized,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.

The Trojans started the game exchanging blows with the Cardinal before Chiney Ogwumike found her groove, scoring 18 second-half points. "The difference was that I was settled in the game, in terms of how the game was being called," said Ogwumike.

Ogwumike set a Stanford single-season record with 20 double-doubles, finishing the night with 26 points and 15 rebounds. 

The Women of Troy (8-16, 5-8) have now lost five straight games with nationally-ranked Cal and UCLA next on the schedule. Stanford is the best team in the Pac-12, but USC gave the Cardinal all they could handle for most of the first half. The Women of Troy came out strong, well on their way towards repeating an impressive nine-point loss in Palo Alto.

The Trojans defense was ratcheted up from the start, forcing three Stanford turnovers leading to seven easy points. While USC gave a valiant effort, Stanford controlled the tempo taking over the basketball game in the second half

"You saw why Stanford is one of the best teams in the country," said USC head coach Michael Cooper. "We gave it great effort, but obviously you have to rebound the basketball to compete."

Combine the Trojans' tempo with a poor shooting start for Stanford, and the game resulted in a tight first half. The Women of Troy only trailed by five with 3:48 to play in the first half, but could not make their shots for the remainder of the game.

"They forced us out of our offense, which makes it very tough for us to score," said Cooper. "With Christina and Kate out for stretches of the season, we have been fatigued with injuries which makes life tough for our offense."

In the loss, Vaioletama led USC with 14 points and 7 rebounds. (Avery Mitchell/Neon Tommy)
In the loss, Vaioletama led USC with 14 points and 7 rebounds. (Avery Mitchell/Neon Tommy)
While the Trojans struggled to convert from the field, shooting 33 percent on the night, Stanford starting nailing shots to pull away. Amber Orrange carried the Cardinal in the first half with 10 points and two assists.

Stanford pulled away in the opening frame, finishing the half on a 7-0 run, turning the Trojan upset bid into another classic Cinderella beatdown. "We played some of our best defense early," said Cassie Harberts. "They were struggling to find their first and second options early, and we were able to force turnovers."

The Trojans struggled from the field and were mightily exposed, as only four players combined for 19 first-half points. In the biggest surprise of the night, Viaoletama led the team with 14 points on 6-12 shooting. USC’s leading-scorer Cassie Harberts could never find a groove from the field against the 6-foot-3 Mikaela Ruef.

Stanford forced Harberts to catch away from the basket, eliminating her greatest strength with her post moves. Harberts finished the night with only 13 points, but seemed rather complacent about her performance against the formidable Cardinal front-court. "They just picked up the intensity and got up in our face," said Cassie Harberts. "The game was close early. Then, we did not know when to match their intensity to start the second half."

Ariya Crook could not provide the boost coming off the bench, scoring four points on 1-10 shooting, and committing five turnovers. Christina Marinacci scored nine points in her third game back for USC, including a nice three-point shot in the final minute of play.

The Stanford Cardinal led by as many as 25 behind a balanced scoring effort, resulting in 48 second-half points. The Women of Troy will now turn their focus to the Cal Bears, a team they lost to in overtime in their previous meeting. 

Reach Staff Writer Evan Budrovich here, or follow him on Twitter.



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