Needing an almost-flawless performance to take down the high-powered Cardinal, USC (12-6, 4-3) couldn’t keep pace with the defending Pac-10 champions.
The Women of Troy shot just 28 percent from the field while allowing Stanford to shoot over 50 percent.
The performance convinced at least one observer of the Cardinal’s championship potential.
“Last time I had my butt kicked this bad was in Boston Garden and that was as a player,” said USC coach Michael Cooper. “That was a long time ago. This team’s probably going to win it all. I will put my namesake on that one.”
With the loss, USC dropped to 5-6 on the road this season.
The Women of Troy are undefeated, however, in seven games inside the friendly confines of the Galen Center.
Trailing 8-7, Stanford (16-2, 7-0) quickly erased any hope of a USC upset by going on a 17-2 run.
The Cardinal shot 48 percent in the first half and controlled the backboards, outrebounding USC 27-16 and holding a 12-2 edge in second-chance points.
“They make you pay for your mistakes,” junior guard Briana Gilbreath said. “We gave them a lot of open shots tonight and they knocked them down like we [expected].”
Freshman forward Chiney Ogwumike, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, validated her lofty ranking with 14 points and nine rebounds in the first half. Senior guard Jeanette Pohlen added nine points and nine assists to help give Stanford a 46-27 lead at the break.
Gilbreath led USC with nine points in the first half. Senior center Kari LaPlante added six points on 3-for-3 shooting for the Women of Troy,
A slow start out of halftime ended any chance of a USC rally.
The Women of Troy missed eight of their first nine shots in the second half and trailed by at least 30 points for most of the half.
“In the first half we fought pretty hard,” Gilbreath said. “We didn’t come out with the greatest intensity in the second half.”
One of the few positives for USC was Gilbreath knocking down two free throws to become the 22nd player in school history to register 1,000 points in her career.
After the game, the junior guard expressed mixed emotions about the record.
“It’s kind of bittersweet because I didn’t get it with a victory,” she said. “But I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the years so to see it pay off makes me happy.”
Gilbreath finished with a team-high 17 points on her record-setting night.
Pohlen led the Cardinal with 21 points and 12 assists.
Junior guard Ashley Corral is also within striking distance of 1,000 points for her career, but finished with just nine points Saturday while continuing to struggle with her shot. Corral did add six rebounds and four assists.
Next up for the Women of Troy is a homestand against Arizona and Arizona State, two teams tied with USC at 4-3 in Pac-10 play.