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#8 UCLA Women’s Basketball Completes Weekend Sweep of Southern Cal, 84-70

The win moves UCLA into a first-place tie with Oregon and Stanford in the Pac-12 standings.

Jordan Canada and Monique Billings led the Bruins to a big win against Southern Cal at the Galen Center.
Joe Piechowski

On Friday night, the UCLA Women’s Basketball team beat Southern Cal in a relatively low scoring game, 59-46, to start off rivalry weekend. Saturday afternoon, the UCLA Men’s Basketball team followed up Friday’s win with a win of their own over Southern Cal, 82-79. Tonight, the ladies played again to finish up the extended weekend and the Bruins were looking for a win to complete the weekend sweep over their crosstown rivals.

And, UCLA did not disappoint.

Tonight’s game was a higher scoring affair than Friday night, but the result was the same: another UCLA victory.

The Bruins started the game with a 9-0 run as UCLA led from the first basket to the final buzzer. Southern Cal were never able to tie the game. In the first half, they never got any closer than 3 points on multiple occasions.

But, each time the Trojans closed the gap to 3 points, the Bruins came right back and opened up a bigger lead.

This happened a few times near the end of the first quarter. With about two minutes to go, Southern Cal closed the gap to 21-18, but Monique Billings hit a layup to stretch the lead back to five. With 1:11 left in the first, Marguerite Effa hit two free throws to make it 23-20, UCLA, but Chantel Horvat nailed a three to push the Bruins’ lead back to six. And, the first quarter ended with the Bruins up 26-20.

The second quarter started and the Trojans cut the lead to three twice in the first minute and a half. Over the next four and a half minutes, UCLA increased their lead to double digits and they led 38-28 with just under four minutes to go in the half. The Bruins would finish the half by going up eleven, 44-33.

But, Southern Cal wasn’t done quite yet. In the third quarter, they outscored the Bruins 23-17 while slowly cutting away UCLA’s lead. The Bruins were up by five, 61-56, after three.

Southern Cal kept chipping away in the fourth quarter. An Aliyah Mazyck three-pointer cut the lead to just three points again with 6:39 to go. After Billings split a pair of free throws, Effa hit both of hers for Southern Cal to cut the lead to just two with 5:41 to go. A minute later, Minyon Moore hit a free throw to make it 69-68, Bruins, but she missed the second free throw which would have tied the game up.

That’s when a pair of free throws from Jordin Canada started a 15-2 Bruins’ run that clinched the game, the two-game sweep for the UCLA women and the weekend sweep for both Bruin basketball teams.

It was defense down the stretch that really won this game for UCLA. They held Southern Cal to just two free throws in the final 4:41 of the game. When your defense does that, you’re much more likely to win games and that’s how UCLA extended their winning streak to eight games.

Four Bruins were in double figures. Canada and Billings led the team with 18 points each while Lajahna Drummer added 11 and Kelli Hayes scored 10. Billings and Drummer both completed a double-double by pulling down 11 rebounds each.

The win also moves the team into a first place tie with Oregon and Stanford. All three teams now sit at 10-2 in conference play.

In other UCLA women’s basketball news, the team moved up to number 8 in this morning’s AP women’s college basketball poll. They are now the highest ranked Pac-12 school in the AP Women’s Top 25.

Go Bruins!!!