Games against Southern Cal are more than just games. It’s about earning the bragging rights for a whole season. This week, UCLA played Southern Cal on Wednesday night at the Galen Center and tonight, the two teams meet in Westwood where the Bruins look for a sweep of Southern Cal.
It was as if a switch was turned on for the Bruins Wednesday. They played better offense and defense. They trailed only at the end of the first quarter. It was the only time they would trail all night long. By the end of the first half, the Bruins had taken control of the game. They defended well by forcing 20 turnovers and making 15 steals. The Southern Cal offense was no match for this UCLA defense.
Things did not get better for the Trojans as the Bruins kept adding to their lead. The lead even extended into the double digits in the third quarter. The Trojans’ defense struggled against UCLA. They gave the Bruins second and even third shots at the basket. And, Southern Cal paid the price for that. It also didn’t help that the Trojans were without senior Jordan Adams and their leading scorer Kristen Simon.
Based on how that game went, there is little that UCLA needs to change to complete the sweep. That said, the one thing they shouldn’t do tonight is underestimate their opponent. Yes, Southern Cal hasn’t played well in conference play so far, but that can change at any moment. If they want to move up in the conference standings, UCLA needs to end this rivalry week with a sweep before hosting the Arizona schools next weekend.
It’s the second half of the crosstown showdown between UCLA and Southern Cal. The Bruins need a win today if they still dream of a conference title. A loss tonight, or in the future, will put them in the middle of the pack and make it harder to win the conference.
Tonight, though, it’s all about the sweep and bragging rights for another year.
#11/13 UCLA Women’s Basketball (14-4, 5-2)
Opponent: Southern Cal Trojans (10-7, 1-5)
When: Sunday, January 22, 2017, 5:00 pm PT
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Pac-12 Networks National and Los Angeles with Anne Marie Anderson, Tammy Blackburn, and Jill Savage
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now App