The Cardinal stayed in control after the break and increased its lead to a comfortable 19 points with 13 minutes left to play. At that point, the Cardinal's tight defense had held the Trojans' top scorers, Cassie Harberts and Ariya Crook, to five and four points respectively.
Then the Trojans shifted to overdrive. They slowed the Cardinal way-y-y down with a three-to-four player full-court press. Harberts and Crook each scored about 15 more points, and the lead dwindled to five points with two minutes left to play.
Tara called a time out. The Cardinal came back with the last spurt and won 75-66.
This was Chiney's 13th and biggest double-double of the season. Only four other Division I players in the nation have more.
Sara scored on two of the most entertaining plays of the game. The first: Chiney stole the ball in the Trojan paint and took off on a breakaway, accompanied by Trojan defenders; nearing the basket, she flipped it to Sara, who was ahead and waiting. A minute later, Amber soared high above the taller players, snatched a rebound, and passed it to Sara, who took it the length of the court for a layup.
Sara took five shots from beyond the arc without hesitation (she releases the ball almost as quickly as Bonnie). Although she mode only one of them, three of the misses were rebounded by the Cardinal, so no loss. Six more points came from layups as she flew to or past the basket. In all, she tallied 13 points and four rebounds.
She made all three of her 3-point attempts, which she spaced judiciously throughout the game.
She scored 13 points, including one 3-pointer, on 67% shooting. She also tallied three assists and three rebounds.
In other Pac-12 action today, Cal defeated UCLA in a close, very competitive game and Colorado outscored Arizona by 43 points. So Stanford and Cal share the top rung of the Pac-12 ladder, with Colorado, UCLA, Washington and USC one game behind.
Here are game reports and commentary:
- No. 6 Cardinal Power Past USC, 75-66 by Rick Eymer (Associated Press)
- Sara James helps lift Cardinal over USC by Tom FitzGerald (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Stanford women hold off USC, stay in first-place tie with Cal by Rick Eymer (Palo Alto Online)
- WBB: Stanford 75 Under Stanford Control 66 from the CARDboard
A gallery of photos by Casey Valentine (Stanford Photo),
A gallery of photos by George Nikitin (Associated Press)