It's "Beat SC Week" in Westwood which means that everyone's focus will be on beating the hated crosstown Southern Cal Trojans this weekend at the Coliseum in a must-win game for Jim Mora. After all, it's hard to say that Mora and his 85 scholarship athletes shouldn't win against an interim coach at Southern Cal and his sanctioned-limited roster of 55 scholarship athletes. But, with multiple non-revenue teams in post-season play, we take a few minutes to go through the various bits and pieces of news from around the wider UCLA-iverse:
- Beginning with Cori Close's unranked women's basketball team, the Lady Bruins hosted #10-ranked Oklahaoma at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday and they didn't disappoint, coming away with a huge 82-76 upset win. Going into half tied at 43-43, the Bruins came on strong to close out the game, led by an outstanding double-double effort by Atonye Nyingifa (28 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals) and a near double-double by Nirra Fields (27 points, 9 rebounds). With the win, the Lady Bruins are now 2-2 on the season, and will next be in action this Friday in Florida for the Gulf Coast Showcase, beginning with their opening game against James Madison University.
- Turning to the unranked women's volleyball team, the Lady Bruins continued a disappointing season with a weekend split against the Arizona schools in Los Angeles, beginning with a 2-3 (19-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-16, 13-15) loss to Arizona State on Friday at the Wooden Center. Despite double-digit efforts from Karsta Lowe (20 kills), Kelly Reeves (18 kills, 21 digs), Megan Moenoa (5 kills, 51 assists, 4 digs), and Karly Drolson (22 digs), the Bruins couldn't keep pace with the Sun Devils down the stretch. But UCLA bounced back on Sunday, sweeping Arizona 3-0 (28-26, 26-24, 25-19), salvaging an otherwise forgettable weekend. Once again Lowe led the way with 17 kills, while Claire Felix and Maddy Klineman each chipped in with 9 kills to help the Bruins along the way. With the weekend split, the Lady Bruins are now 15-13 overall and a pitiful 6-12 in conference play, and will next be in action tomorrow against hated Southern Cal at 5 p.m. before taking on Utah on Friday to end their regular season schedule.
- As for a dominating team, the #2-ranked men's water polo team grabbed a share of the regular season conference grab with an impressive 10-9 come from behind win over hated #4-ranked Southern Cal on Thursday. Southern Cal came out strong early, taking a 4-2 lead into half in a hard-fought match in the pool. But, the Bruins would not go away quietly in the second half, tying it up at in the final quarter and forcing overtime. After trading goals in the second overtime, freshman Ryder Roberts won it for the Bruins with the winning goal with 7 seconds on the clock. With the huge win, the Bruins finish the regular season 27-2 overall and 7-1 in conference play, and will head into the conference tournament this Friday, beginning with a quarterfinal match against UC Santa Barbara in Stockton.
- Turning to NCAA tournament action, the #2-ranked but #2-seeded (great work once against Chianti) women's soccer team got their post-season underway on Friday against Kentucky in the tournament second round (having had a bye for the first round), and took care of business early against the Wildcats, winning 3-0. The Bruins dominated the match and it only took Sam Mewis a little over 4 minutes to set up Caprice Dydasco's first goal of the year in the 5th minute to take an early advantage. Despite dominating possession and the shot count (20-5), the Lady Bruins left it later to put the game away, scoring the second in the 71st minute through Courtney Proctor and the third in the 81st minute through Dydasco again. Next up for UCLA? The Stanford Cardinal on Sunday, the same Stanford program that knocked the Bruins out of the NCAA tournament three out of the last four years. But these Lady Bruins were not to be denied, dropping the Cardinal 2-0 to advance to the NCAA tournament quarterfinal against North Carolina in Chapel Hill (once again, great work on making sure our ladies didn't get screwed there Chianti Dan). In a much more even match than Friday's fight with Kentucky, the Bruins once again scored early through Kodi Lavrusky in the 13th minute, on a beautiful curling shot, assisted by none other than Sam Mewis. And Mewis would get herself another tourney assist, again leaving it late, with Taylor Smith scoring in the 85th minute to give the Bruins a comfortable last 5 minutes. Next up? North Carolina in the quarterfinal this Saturday.
- As for the #1-overall-seeded men's soccer team, the NCAA tournament opened up with a lop-sided second-round 4-0 victory over Elon. Like their female counterparts, the Bruins struck early and often, opening the scoring with Victor Chavez's seventh of the year in the 12th minute, followed by the Leo Stolz assist show, with Stolz assisting Joe Sofia's goal in the 22nd minute, dishing an assist to Aaron Simmons' goal in the 31st minute, and grabbing the assist hat trick on Chavez's diving header in the 54th minute to wrap up a comfortable win. With the win, the Bruins advance to the next round where they'll face the Huskies from Connecticut on Sunday.
Alright folks, those are your non-revenue sports related bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for this Tuesday afternoon. Stay tuned as we switch back into full-blown football mode as we march on during "Beat SC Week" and Saturday's huge must-win game against the Trojans from Southern Cal. Fire away in the comment thread with your additions, opinions, and takeaways as we gear up for Southern Cal.