No. 4 Stanford women throttle USC 92-53 in Pac 12 quarters

NCAA Basketball

LAS VEGAS (AP)Ashten Prechtel had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 4 Stanford to a 92-53 victory over Southern California in a Pac-12 quarterfinal on Thursday.

Haley Jones and Hannah Jump each had 14 points, and Lacie Hull added 10 points for the Cardinal (23-2, 19-2), who improved to 48-6 all-time in the Pac-12 tournament and 18-1 in the quarterfinals.

Alissa Pili led USC (11-12, 8-10) with nine points.

The Cardinal tied a Pac-12 tournament record by making 15 3-pointers and shot 45.5% from beyond the arc.

Stanford’s defense held Trojans to a season-low 28.6% shooting performance, including 18.4% in the first half. USC was 0 for 11 from 3-point range in the first half and finished 2 of 22 from long range.

”I loved our balance,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ”I think we’ve got weapons. We’ve got inside game and outside game. You know, I think it was fun to be able to spread it around.”

Stanford, which won its first regular-season conference title since 2014, also swept its regular-season series with USC by way of 80-60 and 86-59 routs, giving the Cardinal an average winning margin of 28.6 in the three games.

”That looks like a team that can vie for the national championship,” USC coach Mark Trakh said. ”They’re deep. They’re long. They can shoot. They’ve got everything on that team.”

Stanford has now held 11 opponents to 53 points or fewer. The Cardinal ranked ninth in the nation in points allowed at 53.0 per game.

Stanford was dominant from the opening tip. USC missed its first eight shots and didn’t get its first field goal until the 4:37 mark, when Kyra White cut Stanford’s lead to 11-3. The Cardinal scored the next 10 points, extending their advantage to 21-3.

Stanford led 31-5 after scoring the first eight points of the second quarter.

”I really loved our defense coming out. We ran hard,” VanDerveer said. ”We play in a very tough conference, and I think the fact that we had a lot of these games, it really got us ready for this.”

The Cardinal had 54-33 rebounding edge and 32-22 advantage in points in the paint.

Stanford’s bench outscored USC’s reserves 54-23. VanDerveer was able to give 11 players at least 12 minutes in an attempt to keep her starters fresh.

”I think tonight shows a lot about the depth of our team,” Prechtel said. ”It will definitely help keep some of the players that got high minutes fresh. So it’s big for us, and it helps us moving forward into the rest of this tournament and the NCAA Tournament.”

BIG PICTURE

USC: Angel Jackson closed out her sophomore year with a glimpse of what the Trojans can expect next season and beyond. Jackson, who averaged 7.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this season, showed poise in rattling off seven straight points in the third quarter. She finished with eight points and three rebounds.

Stanford: Balance was the key for the Cardinal. Stanford had a different leading scorer in each quarter, with Jones and Jump each leading the team with nine points in the first and second quarters, respectively. Hull led the third-quarter charge with six points, and Prechtel led Stanford with 11 fourth-quarter points.

”I think it just happened that way,” VanDerveer said. ”I think that it just points to the unselfishness of this team, people really wanting to move the ball and share the ball. Just really excited for when their teammates do well. They’re excited for each other. So that was fun.”

UP NEXT

USC: Season is likely over.

Stanford: Will face Oregon State in Friday’s semifinals.

More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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