An LA Story

The last time Stanford lost back-to-back Pac-10 games while in LA was in the 1993-94 season. History repeated itself this weekend as a new LA story was written thanks to a 73-72 win by USC.

"It’s such a big win, part of the reason is because I have so much respect for (Stanford coach) Tara VanDerveer as she is an awesome coach," said USC coach Mark Trakh who has never beaten a Stanford team in his 15 years of coaching at the Division I level. "I think this is why this means so much. Stanford is the benchmark for all of us. We are all reaching to be like Stanford."

Helping to make this LA story so exciting was the game-winning bucket by junior guard Camille LeNoir with eight seconds left and then fifth-year senior Allison Jaskowiak-Kennedy stopping a last-second shot by Stanford's senior Candice Wiggins. After the final buzzer sounded, it was an emotional scene on the court.

"I wasn't thinking of anything as the play was supposed to go to (junior) Nadia Parker, but she wasn't open so we set another pick-n-roll screen," described LeNoir. "I just let it go and it went in. I've never jumped this high in my life with my two bad hips."

From the USC team celebrating one of the biggest upsets of the year and Stanford suffering its first back-to-back conference loss on the road since the 2003-04 season when they lost at the Arizona schools, history was made in the Galen Center today.

"I thought we did a much better job this afternoon than Friday night against UCLA," said VanDerveer. "Credit USC, they made big plays when they needed to. We did not do a good job from the three-point line or the free-throw line. We did a great job rebounding (38) and took care of the ball. We played hard enough to win, but had some defensive breakdowns that hurt us and I thought they made a lot of big shots."

Helping USC hold on and win today was their ability to never let Stanford get too far ahead or make too much of a run during the game. The most Stanford led at any point in the game was five points and each time USC came through with clutch shots to keep it close.

"Both teams were scoring on each other and it was a matter of who was going to have the ball last," said Trakh. "(Sophomore) Jayne Appel was a monster down there and really had no answer for her or (freshman) Kayla Pedersen. This is big for us as if we want any NCAA [Tournament] consideration at the end of the year, we needed to win."

Unlike the last time USC and Stanford met during the Pac-10 women's tournament last March when Wiggins had a career and conference tournament record-breaking night by hitting eight three-point shots, it was the Women of Troy who were deadly from three-point land. USC hit 57.9% of their three-point shots while Stanford struggled from outside the arch by shooting 15%. In addition, USC also edged Stanford out at the free-throw line by
connecting on 57.1% of their shots as opposed to Stanford's 55% shooting from the line.

The big shot at the end by LeNoir capped off her team-leading 21 points for the night. Meanwhile sophomore Heather Oliver chipped-in with 13 points of her own and Parker rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12. USC's bench contributed with a total of 12 points.

"Obviously everybody wearing cardinal and gold is happy tonight," said Trakh.

Meanwhile for Stanford it was Appel who paced the Cardinal with 22 points and 11 boards. Wiggins finished with 17 points while Pac-10 Freshman of the Year candidate Pedersen finished with 14 points of her own. Stanford's bench only accounted for five points, all by sophomore Rosalyn Gold-Onwude.

USC will travel to the Washington schools next weekend with their current 9-6 and 2-2 Pac-10 records while Stanford gets to stay home to host the Oregon schools with their new 12-3 and 2-2 Pac-10 records.

That's it from LA where history was made all over town this weekend.

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