Normally, Senior Day is celebrated in Maples Pavilion after the game to prevent the emotions of the goodbye from impeding the focus on winning. On Sunday, however, a dominant first quarter turned the whole afternoon into a celebration, as there was no doubt about the end result.
No. 6 Stanford (21-3, 9-2 Pac-12) responded to its first home loss of the season in a big way with a 79-59 wire-to-wire victory over visiting USC (12-11, 4-8 Pac-12).
Seniors guard Mikaela Brewer, guard DiJonai Carrington, forward Nadia Fingall and guard Anna Wilson were recognized for their four years on the Farm. While Carrington has been sidelined for much of the season with an injury, Brewer played in her third game since returning from injury. Fingall scored 11 points and hauled in five rebounds in 24 minutes and Wilson had 8 points with a pair from downtown.
“Today was all about making a statement, coming out and getting a win for our record of course but also for the seniors,” Wilson told the Pac-12 Network after the game.
As each senior checked out of the game for the final time, they received a rousing ovation from the Maples Pavilion crowd.
Seven different Cardinal players scored in the first quarter en route to a dominant 28-6 opening 10 minutes. Junior forward Alyssa Jerome set the tone with a corner 3-pointer on the opening possession.
Coming off a poor showing on Friday, Stanford caught fire from behind the arc for 6-of-13 in the first quarter, including a pair from sophomore guard Lexie Hull. Hull went on to lead the team in points with 14 points in a team-high 29 minutes.
Though USC rebounded from its 2-for-12 first quarter to finish 18-of-65, none of the eight options used by head coach Mark Trakh caught fire. Five players tied for a team-high of three made field goals.
On the Stanford side of the action, junior guard Kiana Williams led the team in assists with three, hit a pair of triples and, most importantly, was able to rest. After the last game, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said she removed Williams from the end of the game due to fatigue.
For the third straight game, freshman forward Ashten Prechtel led her team in rebounds, this time with seven. Prechtel was also one of three Cardinal in double digits with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
Though the home team dominated during the first half, the final two quarters were won by USC, as Stanford shot just 1-of-12 from beyond the arc, turned the ball over 11 times and tallied just two assists. Aside from the second-half struggles, the day was successful.
Stanford will travel to Utah for a Friday night showdown. Tip-off in Salt Lake City is set for 6 p.m. PT.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.