FanPost

Bruins Match Best Start Since 1980-81 with 70-60 Victory Over UofA

#10/11 UCLA entered Pauley today to close off the first half of the Pac-10 season by facing the 13-6, 4-4 Arizona Wildcats. If the score looks familiar, it is because just two days ago, UCLA defeated ASU by the same score of 70-60.  When the Bruins took the court, it was a case of good news bad news, as the good news was it seemed whatever limp Markel Walker had at the end of the game on Thursday was gone, but the bad was Mariah Williams wasn't even suited up for the game, which will be interesting to find out the reason for and duration of her not suiting up.

From 20110129WBB vs. AZ

The game actually started off pretty poorly for the Bruins, at least for a few minutes.  UCLA was shooting coldly, as on their first possession saw the bruins miss 3 shots, get the offensive rebound all 3 times, draw a foul, before finally turning the ball over.  Arizona had some hot shooting early on including two made 3-pointers as Arizona jumped out to a 6 point lead at 12-6, then 15-9 with 13:48 remaining.  At that point, UCLA's offense and defense came alive as the Bruins rattled off the next 12 points as part of a 25-4 run caped by a 3-pointer from Darxia Morris to open up a 34-19 Bruin lead with under 4 minutes in the half remaining.  The Bruins closed out the half with a 38-24 lead going into the lockerroom.  Arizona actually outshot the Bruins 45% to 43% in the first half, but the Bruins took 15 more shots in the half thanks to 16 offensive rebounds which led to 17 second chance points.

From 20110129WBB vs. AZ

In the second half a 9-2 opening spurt gave UCLA their largest lead of the game at 47-26 with 16 minutes left.  UCLA held around a 20 point lead for the next 8 minutes before Arizona started to give UCLA a scare in the last 8 minutes.  Down 19 with 8+ minutes left, Arizona started to hit a few 3s and a 16-4 run by the Wildcats over 5 minutes cut the lead to 7 with 3 minutes left.  Arizona actually got the lead down to 7 on several occasions, and UCLA had 3 straight possessions with difficulties from the freethrow line as Jasmine Dixon missed 2 freethrows, and then Darxia Morris missed 2 front ends to allow Arizona to stick around.  In the final minute, UCLA's two best freethrow shooters Doreena Campbell and Rebekah Gardner both hit a pair of freethrows to go with a basket by Darxia to help ice the game and the Bruins came away with a 70-60 victory.  In the second half, UCLA shot 48% to 42% for the wildcats.  Photos of the game by the soon-to-be-sneaky B D.

From 20110129WBB vs. AZ

Jasmine Dixon led three Bruins in double digit scoring with a season high 22 points and 9 rebounds on an 11-12 performance from the field, as she was able to slice through the wildcat defense time and again for layup after layup.  Darxia Morris cooled down a bit from her last few games but still had 13 points, and Atonye Nyingifa had a double double with 11 points and a career high 12 rebounds.  Markel Walker had a nice bounce back game with 7 points, 9 rebounds, and a team high 6 assists with some nice passes (though she does also make some foolish passes, as she had a team high 6 turnovers).  Rhema Gardner was the only Bruin suited up today who did not play.

The story for the game for the Bruins was the absolute domination on the boards, which is surprising because Arizona seemed like a team with good length that shouldn't be pushed around, but UCLA had a 48-24 advantage on the boards, including a whopping 25 offensive rebounds, leading to a 28-5 advantage in second chance points.  Atonye Nyingifa had 8 rebounds in the first half, which tied the entire Wildcat roster as UCLA had a 26-8 advantage in the first half, to give you an idea of how completely UCLA dominated the boards.  UCLA did seem a bit more sloppy with the ball today with 18 turnovers while forcing only 16 from Arizona.  The refs seemed to allow both sides to play more and get away with some contact which seemed to really benefit the Bruins, though when UCLA did go to the line, they shot a mediocre 66% which is something to point to as an area of concern.

From 20110129WBB vs. AZ

With the win today, UCLA improves to 18-2, 8-1, which ties the best start since the 1980-1981 season.  UCLA has a wide 3 game lead on the rest of the conference for 2nd place, and trails Stanford by just 1 game, who will be visiting Pauley during the second half of Pac-10 play.  It's hard to say if the front half or back half of conference play will be tougher, as getting the bay area schools at home is nice, but the trip to the desert will be tough, as will visiting the Galen center where UCLA still has never won during the regular season.  UCLA will have a chance to fix that next week, as the Bruins travel to USC on Sunday for a 1pm game that will be televised on FSN.  Because the game is on superbowl sunday (though the superbowl doesn't start until after the game is over), the game is free for anyone to attend, and UCLA is hoping to try and get more fans out there than SC will have.  So, if you want to catch the game in person (or on TV) before the superbowl starts later in the afternoon, i highly encourage it.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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