The No. 5 Stanford Cardinal cut a 19-point first-half deficit to seven by intermission and continued the rally into the second half, holding off the USC Trojans 64-59 Friday night at the Galen Center in Los Angeles to clinch no worse than a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title.
The Cardinal (25-2, 14-1 Pac-12) trailed 32-13 with 6:08 to go in the half after Alexyz Vaiolentama hit the first of two free throws.
With a 14-1 conference mark, the Cardinal can do no worse than tie California, which is 10-4 in conference play heading into Friday night’s late game at UCLA. Stanford swept the season series from the Golden Bears.
Stanford closed the half on an 18-5 run, getting the deficit back inside single digits on a 3-pointer by Bonnie Samuelson with 10 seconds to go in the half.
The Cardinal tied the game on Chiney Ogwumike’s basket with 11:39 to go that made it 43-43 and took their first lead of the night when Ogwumike scored again 32 seconds later.
Stanford took its largest lead with 1:37 to go on a basket by Ogwumike that put the Cardinal up 60-51.
The Trojans (16-11, 9-6) came out firing, with Brianna Barrett dropping in a pair of 3-pointer during a 10-2 USC run to open the game.
Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 27 points and also blocked three shots. Samuelson added 14 points. Mikaela Ruef pulled down eight rebounds and Amber Orrange handed out five assists and had three steals.
Ariya Crook scored 24 points for the Trojans and Cassie Harberts added 12. Vaioletama pulled down 10 rebounds and Barrett dished out four assists, though she hit just 1-of-8 shots after her opening volley.
Stanford was 22-for-49 (44.9 percent) overall, 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) from 3-point range and 17-for-20 (85 percent) from the free throw line. USC was 21-for-58 (36.2 percent), 7-for-18 (38.9 percent) and 10-for-13 (76.9 percent).
The Cardinal had a 35-33 edge on the glass and each team committed 14 turnovers.
Stanford wraps up its road schedule on Sunday when it visits UCLA at 4 p.m.