Morris' 20-Point Effort Leads Bruins Past St. Mary's
Dec. 21, 2009
Junior guard Darxia Morris scored a season-high 20 points to lead UCLA, now 6-4 on the year, to an 83-58 win over Saint Mary's College on Monday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion, snapping the Gael's six-game win streak.
The contest was tied five times in the first eight minutes of play, the last coming at 16-all with 11:40 on the clock. Morris' four-point play broke that tie and sparked an 11-2 Bruin run which put UCLA up 27-17 with 9:19 remaining in the first half. The Bruins extended their lead to as many as 12, 37-25, before the Gaels clawed back to within three points. UCLA went on to enjoy a 43-38 advantage at the intermission, thanks in part to 14 first-half points from Morris. Freshman Markel Walker had 10 points at the break.
The Bruins took control of the game at the start of the second half by scoring the first eight points, four on a couple of baskets by senior guard Erica Tukiainen, to go ahead 51-38 with 17:52 remaining. UCLA never led by less than 11 points the balance of the game.
'We did a nice job coming out and trying to execute our game plan,' said UCLA head coach Nikki Caldwell. 'We came back from Friday's loss, and the following two days, we just let them run practice, and we told them that how you want to complete 2009 season is going to be on you. And with the way they practiced, they did take more ownership of the outcome of this game. Darxia Morris really stepped up and hit some big shots for us right off the bat.'
Walker finished with 17 points, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and handed out a career-best seven assists for the Bruins. Junior guard Doreena Campbell scored 13 points, her third straight contest in double digits Tukiainen totaled nine points and three steals. UCLA outshot the Gaels 49.3% to 31.6% and outrebounded SMC 47-32.
Senior guard Jontelle Smith led St. Mary's, now 9-5 on the year, with 14 points, including three treys. Junior forward Louella Tomlinson chipped in with 10 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, before fouling out.
UCLA completes its non-conference slate by hosting LMU (6-5) on Monday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins will open the Pac-10 conference schedule on the road, at Arizona, on Jan. 1.