All-American Chiney Ogwumike had 30 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 4 Stanford to an 86-59 victory over USC on Monday night in a game between the Pac-12's top teams.
"We're starting to get on the same page as a staff and program," Cooper-Dyke said. "The team understands what we want on both ends. One of the big changes is on defense. We didn't show it tonight, but for the last month or so we have been playing solid team defense."
Ariya Crook scored 18 points and Cassie Harberts added 17 for USC (14-7, 7-2), which had won four straight and nine of its last 10. The loss was in overtime at then No. 23 Arizona State.
"It always tough to come here and play the No. 4 team in the country on their home court," said Harberts, a senior. "But I do like the way things are going."
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer has noticed the Trojans' progress.
"I think SC should be ranked. They earned it," said the Hall of Fame coach with 913 career victories. "They are a tournament team. They have a lot of talented players and Cynthia is doing a great job."
VanDerveer was in the early stages of her coaching career when Cooper-Dyke helped the Trojans win back-to-back NCAA championships in 1983-84.
"Pace is essential. It gets you going immediately," Cooper-Dyke said. "Stanford came out right away.
Mikaela Ruef added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinal (19-1, 8-0), who won their 18th straight game to open a two-game lead at the top of the conference standings.
Ogwumike scored at least 30 points for the 10th time this season, adding to her Stanford record. She also recorded her 15th double-double.
"Chiney? I can't wait until she graduates," said Cooper-Dyke, who went on to the WNBA and was a four-time Finals MVP. "When you see that level of talent ... I'm a fan of women's basketball and I love that the game is in their hands."
Amber Orrange and Lili Thompson scored 12 points apiece and Karlie Samuelson had 10 in Stanford's 13th straight victory over the Trojans.
The closest USC got in the second half was when Kaneisha Horn hit a jumper with 17:26 remaining in the game, cutting Stanford's lead to 50-34.
Deanna Calhoun hit a jumper with 10:15 left in the first half to bring the Trojans within 23-20, but USC went cold for the next seven minutes, missing 11 consecutive field goal attempts and two free throws as the Cardinal went on a 14-0 run and took a 46-28 lead at halftime.
"We have to learn from this and move on," Cooper-Dyke said. "It's back to the drawing board to fix some of the mistakes we made."