No. 3 Stanford 85, USC 74
LOS ANGELES -- Stanford took advantage of its size to overcome a sloppy effort.
Kayla Pedersen had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 3 Stanford used a 16-point edge in inside scoring to beat Southern Cal 85-74 and move into sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with help from UCLA, which beat No. 4 California.
Jayne Appel also scored 20 points for the Cardinal, which won their 11th straight game.
"We turned it over too much, but we played through some bad spurts," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I think they're a terrific team, they're very talented and we were very fortunate to win."
Stanford improved to 24-4 overall and 15-1 in the Pac-10 and has won 13 of its last 14 meetings against Southern Cal (14-13, 8-8).
After losing second-leading scorer Jeanette Pohlen to injury late in the first half, Stanford post players Pedersen, Appel and Nnemkadi Ogwumike took over.
Pohlen got elbowed in the eye two minutes before halftime and didn't return.
Appel had eight rebounds and Ogwumike added 17 points and eight rebounds for Stanford.
Appel, who leads the Pac-10 in points and blocked shots, had one block, moving her into a tie with Val Whiting with 201 career blocks to rank No. 1 in school history.
Without Pohlen, Stanford also got big contributions from forward Tara Boothe (eight points) and Lindy LaRocque (nine points, three assists) as the Cardinal bench outscored Southern Cal's reserve 36-21.
"I thought this was really an interesting challenge for us to play without Jeanette," VanDerveer said. "I think this is a great win for us. Different people came off the bench and we had us little contributions here and there."
Stanford shot a season-high 58.6 percent from the field, marking the sixth time in the last seven games the Cardinal has made at least half of their field goals. The Cardinal out-rebounded the Trojans 41-26.
The game got off to a rough start for the Trojans when Stanford senior Jillian Harmon made one of two free throws after Southern Cal was charged with an administrative technical foul before tipoff.
Southern Cal responded by scoring 11 points off 10 turnovers by Stanford in the first half to remain competitive early. The two teams traded the lead six times in the first half before Stanford surged ahead by scoring four straight points in the final two minutes for a 41-36 halftime lead.
The Trojans trailed 47-45 in the second half when Pedersen scored five straight points, sparking a 10-1 Stanford run.
"Kayla had a fabulous weekend, she should be our nominee for player of the week," VanDerveer said. "She made shots and did what we needed her to do defensively."
Camille LeNoir scored 12 of her 17 points in the second half for Southern Cal. She also finished with nine assists.
Heather Oliver had 12 points and Nadia Parker added 15 for Southern Cal, which nearly upset Cal on Friday night.
Stanford will try to retain its one-game lead against Cal when it hosts Arizona on Thursday.
"That's our No. 1 goal right now and we'll move on from there," Pedersen said. "It's great we're on top right now. "We've just got to stay there."
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