Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
UCLA came out fired up today for a rematch against a Trojans team that won a close fought game last month at the Galen, with the added motivation of making Michael Cooper eat his words when he said "f**k UCLA" after the last game in his press conference. The game today would either give UCLA a 2 game lead for second place, or bring the Bruins and the Trojans back into a tie for 2nd with SC having the tie breaker. Before the game, Cooper was rained with boos when he was announced and was laughing, and as the band taunted him, he just laughed and cupped his hand to his ear. He would regret that decision.
|From WBB vs. U$C|
The Bruins flat out dominated the entire game from start to finish. UCLA opened up the game on a 14-4 run. USC turned the ball over on their first 3 straight possessions. UCLA's defense was swarming en route to a 37-18 halftime lead. UCLA forced a whopping 14 first half turnovers, while only committing 3 themselves. UCLA scored 16 points off of those turnovers against just 2 for USC. It was practically a flawless half for the bruins has they ran their lead up to 19 points, even with Jasmine Dixon spending most of time on the bench with 2 fouls. Just like at the Galen Center last month, Erica Tukiainen came out on fire in the first half, pacing the team with 11 points. If anything, UCLA could have and should have been up by even more, as USC was hacking us inside all game long and not getting called for fouls.
At the start of the second half, USC scored the first 6 points to cut the lead to 13, but UCLA regained their composure, went on an 8-0 run to push the lead up to 21, 45-24, and USC never had a chance after that. UCLA's lead got as big as 27 points at the 11 minute mark, 55-28. UCLA was able to get Allison Taka and Jackie Shepard into the game near the end, and USC scored just enough in garbage time to not have the score look completely embarrassing. More after the flip including pictures from the rest of the game courtesy of B D.
UCLA dominated pretty much every facet of the game today. To be fair, the one area of concern could be the 10% shooting from 3 point range, but that is really grasping at straws. UCLA out shot USC 45%-35%, out-rebounded the Trojans 44-29, forced 20 turnovers off of 14 steals. UCLA outscored USC 40-20 in the paint, and the bench contributed 28 to just 19 for USC. UCLA shot free-throws well today, making 13-16. UCLA had 4 scorers in double figures. Erica Tukiainen, Jasmine Dixon, and Markel Walker all finished with 13 points along with 7, 8, and 7 rebounds. Darxia Morris, who returned to the starting lineup, finished with 10 points.
Michael Cooper spent most of the game sitting in his seat with his head in/on his hand, embarrassed by his team's performance. In fact, it seemed like most of the time he wasn't even trying to coach, with his assistant doing most of the work. USC's "band" showed up in imitation of our power at the Galen Center last month, but the small 15 person crowd could be heard for all of 3 minutes before giving up and watching their team get demolished. On the flip side, you could see the excitement and the passion flowing out of our team. Normally after a game the team runs straight into the locker room, but this time Moniquee Alexander took the mic and with the entire team around her, passionately voiced to a crowd of 8,000 how important this win was to her as a senior and the team before leading the entire crowd in a loud 8-clap.
|From WBB vs. U$C|
With the victory today, UCLA now has a 16-7, (9-3) record on the season, while USC falls to 13-10, 7-5. UCLA has now won 6 of their last 7 while USC has lost 4 in a row, seemingly starting to run out of steam as their short bench is starting to catch up with them. UCLA now has a 2 game lead on 2nd place, and if they continue to play at this high level, should be able to secure the 2nd place spot going into the conference tournament. UCLA now plays Washington and Washington State at home this next week, two of the weaker teams in the conference, so if UCLA can stay focused, and play 40 full minutes as they did today, they should be able to pick up 2 easy wins and continue their march towards a tournament bid. As always, a big thank you to B D for amazing pictures of the game.