Tonight at Pauley, UCLA at 5-3 was taking on the Lady Raiders who entered 8-1 with an opportunity to add a very impressive win to their tournament profile. Box score can be found here. The game was tightly contested the entire time. No team lead by more than 6, and for pretty much the entire game it felt like Texas Tech would cling to a 2 or 3 point lead, UCLA would tie it up, and Texas Tech would push it back to a 2 or 3 point game.
Jasmin Dixon lead the Bruins with 14 points shooting 7 for 8 cleaning up missed shots and loose balls around the glass. Moniquee Alexander had a very good game with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Very importantly to the future of this team is that it seems her footwork is starting to noticeably improve. It would be common in the past to see her travel multiple times a game in the paint shuffling her feet, but i don't think she traveled once tonight.
So why did we lose? UCLA played a very sloppy game, though in the end, both teams totaled 22 turnovers. A combination of careless passes and texas tech reacting to our trying to feed the post created alot of steals for Texas Tech. It was clear that we wanted to pound the ball inside to Moniquee/Dixon/Walker, and Texas Tech was doing anything they could to interrupt those passes. UCLA got beat on the boards by 2, but it seemed that UCLA could have easily won the battle of the boards had they boxed out better. After the game, Nikki Caldwell pointed out that the team didn't approach rebounding/the game in general with the level of energy we usually see. She specifically pointed out her disappointment with the level of effort from the starters, and she rewarded the 2nd team's effort and hustle by starting them in the second half.
Despite sloppiness and rebounding difficulties, UCLA could have still won the game, but Texas Tech made 9 3s, most of them momentum killing daggers. UCLA also left 7 points at the freethrow line, as our post players collectively went 2 for 8 at the line.
One nice sight tonight was the return of Allison Taka to the lineup after suffering a foot injury before the season. Now, Atonye Nyingifa is the only Bruin out with an injury, and her return will add another strong rebounder and defender to the lineup. Now 5-4, the Bruins play Saint Mary's Monday at noon in an odd early afternoon weekday game.