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USC’s bid for another upset over Stanford falls short in narrow loss

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

Brink started the night with two blocks needed to break Jayne Appel’s 273-set score from 2006-2010, then knocked off a Kadi Sissoko layup 5:25 from second for the record. Close family friend and supporter Stephen Curry and his daughter, Riley – along with 49ers quarterback Trey Lance – sat on the baseline to cheer her on. Brink already held the single-season record, bringing her total to 99. She also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Okako Adika’s jumper with 1:41 left pulled the Trojans (19-7, 9-6) to 48-45 but Brink answered after a miss from 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) rebounded after his 14-game winning streak was stopped by the Trojans on January 15 in a 55-46 loss in Los Angeles.

The Cardinal tops the Pac-12 alone after losing to No. 4 Utah 82-72 earlier Friday in 18th-ranked Arizona.

Sissoko, who led USC in 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 led 11-5. Adika finished with 13 points, but the Trojans only had two points in the paint, none from the bench and none in the quick breakaway.

“What gives me confidence in this group is the work that has been done throughout the season,” said coach Lindsay Gottlieb. “I still think our best basketball is ahead of us.”

Block Queen

Appel, now Jayne Appel-Marinelli, congratulated Brink by text to the AP.

“From one Stanford pig to another Stanford pig: you took the torch and lifted it to a higher level. Congratulations, Block Queen! Truly an achievement to be on top with all the other Stanford greats!”

Big picture

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

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

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

Next for Stanford: Host UCLA on Monday for senior night as the Cardinal wraps up the home schedule.