USC might have helped Stanford become better as a team. The Cardinal, after losing to Lindsay Gottlieb’s Trojans one week ago, were freshly humbled. The 55-46 loss to USC came out of nowhere, but it certainly transformed the Trojans’ season. USC is now an NCAA Tournament contender with better-than-even odds of making the field.
That game might have transformed Stanford’s season as well.
The Cardinal were very alert, attentive and forceful in two double-digit wins over nationally-ranked opponents this past weekend in Palo Alto. Stanford handled No. 8 Utah by 12 on Friday in Maples Pavilion. The Trees then stopped No. 24 Colorado by 13 on Sunday afternoon.
What made the effort all the more impressive for Stanford was that guard Talana Lepolo was out with an injury. The Cardinal persisted and played stellar defense in both games.
Stanford is now 7-1, all alone atop the Pac-12. The Cardinal lost sole possession of first place when they fell to USC. The Trees got back on track and moved ahead of the two mountain schools and UCLA, which are all 6-2 in the conference.
UCLA won at Washington State on Sunday. Utah won at Cal. Arizona won at Arizona State.
USC is tied for fifth in the conference with Arizona at 5-3.