SEATTLE (AP) — Cassie Harberts scored 10 straight points for USC in the final three minutes, and the Trojans held on in the closing seconds to upset No. 4 Stanford 72-68 in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals on Saturday night.
USC will play for the championship and an automatic NCAA tournament bid on Sunday night against either Oregon State or Washington State. It will be the first time since the tournament’s inception in 2002 that Stanford will not play in the championship game and will mark the Trojans’ second appearance in the title game.
Harberts’ scoring run came after Stanford had rallied from a 10-point deficit to take a 60-57 lead with 5:06 remaining. Harberts finished with 13 points. Alexyz Vaioletama led USC (21-12) with 19 points.
Chiney Ogwumike scored 30 points for Stanford (29-3), but did not score in the final seven minutes.
Ogwumike moved into a tie as the Pac-12 career scoring leader in defeat. She tied Candice Wiggins’ mark of 2,629 points with a pair of free throws with 7:09 left, but went scoreless the rest of the way. She added 21 rebounds and shot 11 for 24. Lili Thompson had 13 points for the Cardinal.
Ariya Crook added 15 points for the Trojans and Vaioletama added 15 rebounds to go along with her scoring that was 11 points more than her season average.
Tied at 32 at halftime, Stanford missed 13 of 14 shots to start the second half and was down 46-36 before Ogwumike’s rebound putback with 12:55 left.
That was the start of her takeover. She converted a three-point play to get Stanford within seven, then blocked Crook’s layup. The block eventually led to Amber Orrange’s 3-pointer from the top of the key. Ogwumike added a pair of free throws and the Trojans lead was down to 50-48.
The run continued with six more points from Ogwumike and Stanford retook the lead on Thompson’s driving layup for a 58-57 lead with 6:45 left. Free throws from Thompson pushed the lead to three.
But despite having not scored for nearly 5 minutes, the Trojans pulled even at 60 on Harberts’ three-point play with 3:07 left. After Ogwumike missed, Harberts scored at the other end and USC was back in front. She added a short jumper and another three-point play and the Trojans led 67-60 with 1:23 remaining.
Orrange broke Stanford’s scoreless skid with a pair of free throws and added a driving layup to get the Cardinal to 67-64. USC struggled at the free-throw line and Thompson scored in the lane with 27.6 left and USC’s lead was down to 68-66.
Crook was fouled and this time hit both for a 70-66 lead. Orrange hit two free throws of her own and Barrett split a pair for a 71-68 lead.
Instead of extending the game, Stanford tried to get look at a tying 3-pointer, but Ogwumike’s rushed attempt was off and Barrett’s free throw with 1 second left clinched the victory for USC.
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