UCLA routs Oregon St. to reach State Farm Pac-10 Tournament semis

March 12, 2010

LOS ANGELES -- Jasmine Dixon scored 14 points, Markel Walker added 10 and No. 23 UCLA rolled into the Pac-10 tournament semifinals with a 60-44 victory over Oregon State on Friday night.

Erica Tukiainen hit three 3-pointers for the second-seeded Bruins (23-7), who have won nine straight and 13 of 14 in coach Nikki Caldwell's impressive second season.

UCLA's third easy victory over the Beavers this season set up an all-California rivalry slate in Saturday's semifinals. No. 2 Stanford will face California before the Bruins take on USC in the Trojans' home gym.

Julie Futch scored 13 points and Haiden Palmer added 10 for Oregon State (11-20), which set a Pac-10 tournament record and season high with 33 turnovers in its 18th loss in 20 games.

UCLA also set a tournament record with 21 steals, but made 23 turnovers of its own.

The Beavers finished last in the Pac-10, but surprised seventh-seeded Washington in Thursday's first-round game. Leading scorer Talisa Rhea struggled against the Bruins, managing just five points on 2-of-8 shooting while making seven turnovers.

Playing in their crosstown rivals' gym, the Bruins easily extended their longest winning streak since the 1998-99 season -- also the year of their last Pac-10 title. Before entering the conference tournament with their highest seed ever, they even moved into the AP Top 25 this week for the first time since November 2006.

From the opening minutes, it was clear Oregon State was highly unlikely to pull a second straight upset. While the Beavers sometimes struggled to get the ball across halfcourt, the Bruins played tough defense and fluidly ran their offense for a wealth of open shots, taking a 37-18 halftime lead.

In the last game of their third losing season in the past four years under coach LaVonda Wagner, the Beavers managed just 35 shots -- 18 fewer than the Bruins.

Kirsten Tilleman's turnover in traffic with 2:15 to play was the Beavers' 30th, establishing the new tournament record -- and Oregon State made three more in the final minutes. UCLA's 21 steals surpassed its own tournament record, set against Cal in 2006.

After opening with a 13-3 run, UCLA scored eight straight points to take a 27-9 lead late in the first half. Futch's three 3-pointers were Oregon State's only points for the first 12 1/2 minutes.

The Beavers had 19 turnovers and 15 shots in the first half, managing just five field goals.The Galen Center was largely empty for all four quarterfinal games, but UCLA had a small and vocal cheering section, even with the men's team facing Cal at Staples Center, just a short drive up Figueroa Street.