#14 UCLA Women's Basketball (21-7, 13-4)
Opponent: #9 Arizona State (25-4, 16-1)
When: 11:00 AM PST, Sunday, February 28, 2016
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
Audio: Bruin Live Audio
Video: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
Even though UCLA and Arizona State are sure to receive NCAA Tournament bids, there's a lot at stake today for both teams. With a win today, the Sun Devils will wrap up the Pac-12 regular season title. For the Bruins, a win today will ensure that they finish no lower than third in the Pac-12, and will help immensely in UCLA's pursuit of a top-16 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
It's also Senior Day at Pauley Pavilion, which means that this might be the final home game for seniors Nirra Fields and Kacy Swain. Sadly Swain's appearance will be limited to the bench as she recovers from a minor knee injury.
The Bruins managed reasonably well without Swain against Arizona on Friday. UCLA won 80-53, getting solid contributions from forwards Lajahna Drummer and Paulina Hersler (12 points each) and wings Kennedy Burke (10 points) and Kari Korver (11 points). With Fields tallying 13 points and Canada adding a dozen, the Bruins had terrifically balanced scoring with six players in double digits.
When the teams met earlier this season, the Bruins battled back several times, but ultimately came up just a bit short, losing 65-61. That game proved once again that the 2016 Bruins can compete with the top teams in the country, at home or on the road.
Obviously the Bruins will miss Kacy Swain today. She does so many of the little things that don't show up in the boxscore but that make the difference between winning and losing. Her tough defensive work will be missed in particular; the Bruins don't have another forward with her experience and toughness. Drummer and Hersler offer something different, but both will have to work harder on their defensive positioning and rebounding to help Monique Billings.
Finally, this is the last regular season game for Nirra Fields. She deserves special recognition for her remarkable career and her many important contributions to the recent success of UCLA Women's Basketball. She's a real warrior on both ends of the hardwood.
Thank you, Nirra! Thank you, Kacy!