When I think about UCLA's defense, what springs to mind is a play in Seattle against the University of Washington this season where UCLA guard Doreena Campbell was floored by a screen from Washington center Laura McLellan. For most teams, this would instantly cause a 4 on 5 situation leaving the defense almost helpless. Instead, Campbell not only snapped up off the ground almost as quickly as she hit the ground and popped right back into a perfect defensive stance against Washington point guard Sarah Morton with the same intense expression as though nothing had even happened.
It's that discipline and focus that defines this team. People can dismiss it as a team needing to be disciplined and focused because they don't have the talent to win otherwise. However, that's somewhat irrelevant given that they performed well enough to ascend to the Top 25 at the end of the season. It's not just that they shut down teams, it's how they do it.
Down double digits against the University of Oregon in Eugene, they systematically shut down every single thing the Ducks wanted to do. It wasn't just an increase in intensity -- they identified what Oregon was trying to do and just took everything away by overplaying passing lanes, adjusting to stop all guard penetration, and crashing the boards hard. The way Dixon turned it on and just punished Oregon on the boards pretty much ended all hope of Oregon getting a win in their final game at Mac Court. It was about as artful as a defensive performance could possibly be.
You really should read rest of the wonderful write up on our Bruins here. Don't forget our game time is set for 6:30pm PST on Sunday on ESPN2.