USC’s attempt to upset Stanford fails by a close margin


Cameron Brink became Stanford’s career leader in blocked shots with six more and scored 12 points, including a key putback with 1:04 left, and the No. 3 Cardinal beat No. 25 USC 50-47 on Friday night to take sole possession of the Pac-12 lead.

Brink began the night needing two blocks to break Jayne Appel’s mark of 273 set from 2006-2010, then swatted away a layup by Kadi Sissoko at the 5:25 mark of the second for the record. Close family friend and supporter Stephen Curry and his daughter, Riley — alongside 49ers quarterback Trey Lance — sat on the baseline cheering for her. Brink already had the single-season record, moving her total to 99. She also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Okako Adika’s jumper with 1:41 remaining pulled the Trojans (19-7, 9-6) to 48-45 but Brink answered after a miss by Jones. Destiny Littleton scored 15 points but missed a baseline three under pressure just before the final buzzer trying to send the game into overtime.

Haley Jones added eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the “Pink Game” as both programs wore pink to raise awareness for breast cancer. Stanford (25-3, 13-2 Pac-12) bounced back after having its 14-game winning streak stopped by the Trojans in a 55-46 loss in Los Angeles on Jan. 15.

The Cardinal are alone in atop the Pac-12 after No. 4 Utah’s 82-72 loss at 18th-ranked Arizona earlier Friday.

Sissoko, leading USC at 15 points per game for a Trojans team averaging 65.8 points, shot just three of 15 for nine points.

Adika made two early threes and Littleton also knocked one down from deep as USC went ahead 11-5. Adika wound up with 13 points but the Trojans had just two points in the paint, none from the bench and none in the fast break.

“What gives me confidence with this group is the body of work over the course of the season,” coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “I still think our best basketball is in front of us.”

Block queen

Appel, now Jayne Appel-Marinelli, offered her congratulations to Brink via text message to the AP.

“From one Stanford big to another Stanford big: You have taken the torch and moved it to a higher level. Congratulations, Block Queen! Truly an accomplishment to be on the top with all the other Stanford greats!”

Big picture

USC: Sophomore center Clarice Akunwafo went down hard on her left leg with 5:55 left and grabbed at her knee before going to the locker room. USC was averaging 9.3 steals per game and wound up with five. The Trojans lost their 19th straight at Maples Pavilion dating to a 62-59 win March 1, 2001. They are 7-33 all-time on Stanford’s home floor.

Stanford: Stanford attempted only four three-pointers in the first half largely because the Cardinal outscored the Trojans 26-0 in the paint before the break. Up 48-41 with 3:47 to play the Cardinal committed a rare shot-clock violation. Stanford has won 22 straight Pac-12 home games.

Up next for USC: On Sunday at California, Gottlieb’s former program as the Golden Bears honor their Final Four team 10 years later.

Up next for Stanford: Hosts UCLA on Monday for senior night as the Cardinal conclude the home schedule.

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