Thursday, December 29, 2011

USC Plays Tough at Home

By Wally Mersereau

It was a sloppy, hard-fought battle at the Galen Center on Thursday night with Stanford able to prevail in the last 8 minutes. Up to that point the game could have gone either way.

Stanford built a 12-point lead in the first half only to have USC cut it to 3 points at the half, 33-30. USC held close for most of the second half, achieving a 41-41 tie with 12 minutes left, then taking a small lead. With 8 minutes left Stanford was up only 46-44. Stanford then went on a 8-0 run to get the score to 54-44 with 4 ½ minutes left. In the ending minutes USC outscored Stanford 9 to 7, but it wasn’t enough for the Women of Troy, with Stanford hanging on for a final score of 61-53.

Senior point guard Ashley Corral had a great game for USC, ending with 21 points. Christina Marinacci had 12 points and 9 rebounds, Briana Gilbreath had 7 points and 12 rebounds. USC made 71% of its free throws. Stanford made an embarrassing 59% at the line with Chiney reverting to her free throw funk, making only 4 of 9. Nneka did well at the line with 7 of 8.

Tara used 10 players, but only 6 had more than 10 minutes—the starters plus Bonnie. Bonnie made her first two 3-point shots, but then missed her next 3. She contributed respectable defense, including a block.

Stanford was led by Nneka with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Stanford could not have won without her. Toni continued her stellar play with 15 points and 3 steals. Chiney achieved a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

This was a thrilling game, but it didn’t bring out USC fans. My guess at total attendance is 1,000, including about 50 or so Stanford fans. All seating was general admission and the most expensive ticket was $7. Parking in the adjacent garage was $10.

The LA Times continues to give almost no coverage to women’s college basketball. Today the Times gave a preview of the USC and UCLA men’s games that were played in the Bay Area, but gave only one line to the local USC and UCLA women’s games with nary a comment. In contrast, the New York Times devoted more than half a page to the Texas A&M women today.

Cindy and John Pohlen attended. Lisa Leslie had a front row mid-court seat. Ros Gold-Onwude was doing the KZSU commentary and went over for a half-time chat with Lisa. Several former Stanford players were there, including Krista Rappahahn.

So Stanford is 1-0 in Pac-12 play, but it was a worrisome win, as road games often are.

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