UCLA Women Down USC In Pac-10 Tournament, 73-52
March 8, 2008
San Jose, CA - UCLA advanced to the semifinals of the State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament with a 73-52 victory over USC on Saturday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. The fifth-seeded Bruins improved their overall record to 16-14 with the win. Fourth-seeded USC fell to 17-13 on the season.
The Bruins took control of the game with an 11-0 second-half run keyed by freshman guard Darxia Morris, who scored seven of UCLA's points in the stretch. USC had closed to within 35-30 at the 16:44 mark of the second half when the Bruins went on the surge and upped the margin to 46-32 with 13:39 to play. UCLA shot 62.5% from the field in the second half and went up by as many as 28 points, 70-42, with 2:58 to play on a basket by freshman forward Christina Nzekwe.
The Bruin defense kept USC to zero field goals for an eight and a half minute stretch in the second half and forced a Pac-10 Tournament record tying 29 turnovers. UCLA finished with 18 steals, just two shy of its Tournament record. Tierra Henderson and Nina Earl had four steals apiece.
UCLA used a 9-1 run late in the first half to extend a 26-19 lead to 35-20 with 1:39 to play. Morris keyed the Bruin attack with eight first-half points, including three baskets in the last 6:24 of the half. Senior forward Lindsey Pluimer, UCLA's leading scorer, scored five points in the half and nine overall but spent time on the bench late in the half after picking up her third foul with 3:59 remaining in the period. The Trojans scored their last basket of the first half at the 4:58 mark of the half but managed to convert six free throws down the stretch to narrow the Bruin lead to 35-24 at the break.
Morris led all players with 19 points after hitting nine of her 11 shots from the field in the contest. It was the most points by Morris since she scored 20 in a Jan. 4, 2008 UCLA win over Stanford in Pauley Pavilion. Fellow freshman Doreena Campbell added 13 points, and Regina Rogers led the Bruins with seven rebounds. Camille LeNoir led USC with 13 points.
UCLA will advance to play No. 1 seeded Stanford on Sunday. The game is the second semifinal game of the day and is scheduled to start at approximately 2:30 p.m. Fox Sports Net will televise both of Sunday's semifinal contests live. The first semifinal matchup begins at Noon and features second-seeded California and third-seeded Arizona State. The championship game of the tournament is set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday night in the HP Pavilion. FSN will televise the title game live.
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