Bruins Topple No. 4 Bears, 71-56
March 1, 2009
LOS ANGELES (AP)--Erica Tukiainen scored a 18 of her career-high 25 points in the second half, and UCLA upset No.4 California 71-56 on Sunday.
The win was UCLA's biggest against a ranked opponent since Jan. 7, 2008, when the team beat No.2 Stanford.
UCLA (17-10, 8-8 Pac-10) hit two key 3-pointers, one by Christina Nzekwe at 5:55 and another by Tukiainen at 5:20, to give the Bruins the lead for good, 54-49.
Darxia Morris had 18 for UCLA, which is 1-4 against ranked opponents this season.
Ashley Walker had 17 points for Cal (23-4, 14-2) and scored her 2,000th career point when she made a layup with 18:17 remaining in the second half. Walker became the second player in Cal history and the 11th in Pac-10 history to do so.
Devanei Hampton added 11 points for Cal and Lauren Greif had 13.
Cal started out the second on a 9-2 run to take a 36-32 lead, its first lead since 5:12 of the first half.
Hampton had two layups and a free throw and Walker added four in a 2:20 span.
Cal couldn't get shots to fall down the stretch, though, and missed opportunities when it mattered most.
Casey Morris turned the ball over with 18 seconds remaining and both she and Greif missed 3-pointers with less than a minute remaining that would have brought Cal within six.
Morris, a sophomore guard and six-game starter this season, stepped in to give UCLA a boost.
Morris went 6-for-10 from the field for 12 points and helped the Bruins' defense cause fits for the Golden Bears' post players.
Cal had trouble getting the ball into Walker and Hampton and threw the ball away when trying to force that pass in.
Hampton was 0-for-1 in the first and Walker had eight points, mostly on putbacks.
The Bruins were down for most of the first half until Morris scored six straight to give UCLA a 24-21 lead.
Cal, 16-1 when leading at halftime, took a 30-27 halftime lead behind Morris and seven points from Tukiainen.
It didn't help when Cal lost sophomore Alexis Gray-Lawson, who went down with a sprained left knee with over two minutes left in the first half. Gray-Lawson, who finished with six points, didn't return in the second and was on crutches after the game.
With Gray-Lawson out, Cal lost a long-distance threat--the guard was 10-for-15 in 3-point shooting over the past four games and had two Sunday before going down with the injury.
The sophomore, who had 22 points in a win over USC on Friday night, will be reevaluated when the team heads home.