10:00 PM ET, January 22, 2005
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Candice Wiggins helped Stanford (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) spoil Southern Cal's game plan.Wiggins scored 20 of her 23 points in the first half and had a season-high nine rebounds in leading the Cardinal to a 94-58 victory over Southern California on Saturday night and sole possession of first place in the Pac-10."Our feeling was to stay close and we'll make our run but they never let us do it," Trojans coach Mark Trakh said. "You look at Wiggins and she brings the X-factor. She can create her own shots and she disrupted our offense. They have a real good press breaker in Candice."Wiggins credited her teammates and Stanford's practice methods for the easy win."We work on our press offense a lot, and with our guards I don't think any one can really press us," Wiggins said. "We stay poised and we don't have to worry about every possession. We're thinking about the big picture."Kristen Newlin added 14 points as the Cardinal (17-2, 8-1) won their eighth straight. Susan King Borchardt and Kelley Suminski each had 10, giving Stanford four players in double figures for the fourth straight game."We're doing all things well," Newlin said. "We're concentrating on the little things. We have great shooters on the team, and it's all the extra work they put in."Eshaya Murphy scored 11 points to lead USC (13-5, 7-2), which had its seven-game win streak stopped, its longest in 11 years. Jamie Hagiya had 10 points."That's a finely tuned machine right now," Trakh said. "Where do you beat them? They have talent and are extremely well-coached. They're going to be good anywhere. That's the best team we've played all year."Stanford won its 17th straight home game, and has a 33-game home winning streak against Pac-10 opponents. The Cardinal have won 52 of their last 55 games at Maples.The margin of victory was its most against the Trojans since a 56-point spread in 1995."This was a breakout weekend for us," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We were able to keep bodies fresh and we were just a little more effective."Southern Cal, picked to finish seventh in a preseason poll, entered the game with its best conference record since Cheryl Miller coached the Trojans to the 1993-94 Pac-10 title. The Trojans have not finished any higher than third since.USC won three of the past seven meetings against the Cardinal, the best by any Pac-10 team over that span, and was the last conference team to beat Stanford on its home court in 2001.The Cardinal were relentless even after building a huge advantage in the first half. They outscored Southern Cal 23-11 to open the second half and eventually led by as many as 45 points.Wiggins did not play the final 12 minutes.Stanford threatened to run away from the Trojans early, scoring the first 12 points of the contest and held USC scoreless for nearly 6 minutes. The Trojans missed their first 10 shots."You just stay positive at that point," Murphy said. "You keep everybody together and take it one possession at a time."Southern Cal, on the strength of eight offensive rebounds, rallied to close within six points. That was as close as the Trojans would come as Stanford, with Wiggins having her best half of the season, eventually opened a 54-27 lead at halftime.Stanford shot over 70 percent, its best shooting half since 1989. The Cardinal have led at the half in all 19 games, including 12 by double figures.
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