LOS ANGELES — Alanna Smith lost the nail on her right index finger in the opening minutes Sunday.
When it came time for a clutch layup, she went with her left hand instead.
The Stanford senior drove the lane and scored with three seconds to lift the No. 10 Cardinal over USC 69-67.
Smith finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds as Stanford (21-4, 11-3 Pac-12) rallied from 15 points down to defeat the Trojans (15-10, 5-9).
“We just found a way to win,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I’m really proud of the way our team battled. Everyone just tried to focus on what we needed them to do. We didn’t shoot for a great percentage. We made free throws down the stretch.”
After Stanford regained the lead with 6:39 to play, the final minutes were frantic with nine lead changes and six ties.
The Trojans were led by sisters Minyon and Mariya Moore, both Salesian-Richmond alums. Minyon Moore had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and Mariya Moore added 14 points.
“Minyon was a warrior,” USC head coach Mark Trakh said. “Got a double-double and just played her butt off. Ten rebounds against a bunch of trees? She did a great job.”
DiJonai Carrington added 18 points and 12 rebounds for Stanford, and Kiana Williams played all 40 minutes and had 16 points and four assists.
Stanford shot 37.1 percent but out-rebounded USC 45-33 with 17 offensive boards.
“That was a battle,” VanDerveer said. “Extremely physical. I thought our team showed a lot of grit. We stayed with things really well. It was tough. Made some big plays.”
The Cardinal aggressively went to the basket in the final period. They had 14 free-throw attempts, making 11.
Carrington and Williams each scored seven points in the fourth quarter, when Smith scored 12 of her 23.
“Nothing was really going right,” VanDerveer said. “We got back and then they made another run, and then we got back again. We just kept getting off the mat. They really showed great fight.
“Our big three stepped up and made some big plays.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Stanford-women-erase-15-point-deficit-top-USC-13624224.php.