This is the big-stage experience USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn coveted when he hired Lindsay Gottlieb as the Trojans’ women’s basketball coach.
Gottlieb was the head coach at California for eight consecutive seasons (2012-2019). She went up against Stanford icon Tara VanDerveer at least twice every season, three times when Cal and Stanford would meet in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Gottlieb has been on the short ends of games against VanDerveer and Stanford. She has seen the precise, fluid, structured Stanford halfcourt offense dissect her defenses. She has seen how disciplined and strong the Cardinal regularly are. Gottlieb knew that the difficult but realistic path to victory against Stanford is to turn a game into a street fight, not give the Cardinal easy baskets or free throws, and make them hit jump shots.
Defend without fouling. Rebound. Minimize turnovers. That’s the formula against Stanford.
Gottlieb got her players to hold Stanford to 31-percent shooting, just 4 of 21 on 3-pointers. Rebounds were nearly even (40-36 Stanford), and USC was plus-16 in free throw attempts (26-10) and plus-nine in makes (17-8). USC was plus-seven in turnovers, forcing 14 Stanford giveaways while coughing up the ball just seven times.
It was a complete defense-first, toughness-first game plan, the only way for the Trojans or anyone else to beat Stanford.
What made the win even more amazing: USC hit just 27 percent of its shots. The Trojans, when they get more elite talent on the recruiting trail in future seasons, will have the high-end scorers who will give USC more margin for error on offense. Beating Stanford in Year 2 of her tenure shows that Lindsay Gottlieb has USC women’s basketball ahead of schedule.
Pete Carroll’s NFL success is staggering; he and Jim Harbaugh learned how to win in the pros