UCLA Tops Santa Clara in Iowa Challenge

Nov. 15, 2009

The UCLA women's basketball team evened its record at 1-1 on Sunday afternoon with a 77-51 win over Santa Clara (1-2) in the consolation round of the University of Iowa KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge. Erica Tukiainen led four Bruins in double digits with 21 points.

UCLA broke open a close game with a 13-4 scoring run to end the first half. Santa Clara came back to score the first four points of the second half to move to within eight at 39-31, but it would be as close as the Broncos would get. UCLA rattled off the next 12 points of the contest to take a 20-point lead at 51-31 with13:39 on the clock and coasted home from there. Tukiainen recorded two three-point shots in that run and ended the game with five on the day.

The Bruin senior also keyed the Bruin scoring run to end the first half as UCLA stretched a 24-21 lead at the 3:33 mark into a 37-25 margin at the halftime break. Tukiainen connected on three three-point shots in the last 41 seconds of the first 20 minutes during the run and finished with a team-best 11 points at intermission.

UCLA had grabbed the lead for good in the first half on a three-point basket by sophomore guard Rebekah Gardner which put the Bruins up 17-15 with 7:21 on the clock. The score was tied twice in the first half and there had been five lead changes in the early going before UCLA pulled away at the end of the half.

Gardner finished with a career-best 14 points for the game. Freshman forward Markel Walker added 12 and nine rebounds, while freshman guard Mariah Williams totaled 10 points and six assists. Senior post Moniquee Alexander led Bruin rebounders with 10 boards.

UCLA returns to Los Angeles and plays its first home game on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7:00 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion versus the University of Hawaii.

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