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UCLA Women's Basketball Needs to Pound the Boards against the Cougars

The Bruins are still in the race for the Pac-12 regular season title, but they have to beat Washington State tonight to stay in contention.


#14 UCLA Women's Basketball (17-6, 9-3)

Opponent: Washington State (12-11, 3-9)

When: 7:00 PM PST, Friday, February 12, 2016

Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA

AudioBruin Live Audio

Video: UCLA Live Stream

Live StatsUCLA StatBroadcast

Official Game Preview | Game Notes

With showdowns against the Pac-12's top two teams (Oregon State and Arizona State) looming in the final two weeks of the season, the Bruins have to keep winning to make those games meaningful. Therefore this weekend's task is to sweep the visiting Washington schools.

First up is ninth-place Washington State (12-11, 3-9). The Bruins host the Cougars tonight in the 10th Annual Play4Kay Pink game which benefits the Kay Yow Foundation and the UCLA Breast Cancer Center. For those who want more information, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund website has details on the work the foundation undertakes and the ways to contribute to their effort.

The Bruins and Cougars met nearly four weeks ago in Pullman, and on that occasion, UCLA held on for a narrow victory, 75-73. The Bruins' defensive effort that day was well below par, and they were particularly hurt by allowing 19 offensive rebounds. Many of those were long rebounds collected by WSU's guards following up on many missed three-point attempts.

UCLA's offense wasn't sharp either. Neither Jordin Canada nor Nirra Fields shot the ball well that day, and in many cases it was the result of poor shot selection.

If the Bruins play as well as they have in every game since their first meeting with the Cougars, they should be able to build a double-digit lead by halftime and put the game out of reach by the end of the third quarter.

A key Bruin to watch tonight is Lajahna Drummer. Coach Close has had trouble getting consistent production from her forwards with the exception of Monique Billings. Drummer is a gifted athlete, a strong rebounder and defender, but her offensive output is terribly inconsistent. For the Bruins to take a step forward offensively, Drummer needs to be a bigger contributor, either as a scorer or a creator.

UCLA needs to win tonight to keep their conference title hopes alive. If the Bruins can do a better job of controlling the boards this time, they shouldn't have too much trouble knocking off the Cougars.