UCLA Drops 64-56 Decision To USC
Jan. 19, 2008
UCLA nearly overcame a 21-point second-half deficit, closing to within two with a minute remaining, but USC closed out the game with free throws and won by a 64-56 score in front of 8,545 at the Galen Center Saturday afternoon.
UCLA got off to a slow start to open the game and never really recovered in the half, finishing the period trailing 33-16. USC scored the first five points and opened the game with an 11-2 run. Turnovers hurt the Bruins in the half, and USC took advantage, scoring 17 of its 33 first-half points off turnovers. UCLA shot just 25% (7-28) from the field in the half and had 14 turnovers against the Women of Troy's pressure defense. USC, in contrast, shot 43% (14-32) and commited just seven turnovers.
The Bruins came out more inspired in the second half and trimmed USC's lead to six, 45-39, thanks to a 14-2 run, capped by a Nina Earl layup at 10:36. USC responded by scoring six unanswered points to reclaim a 12-point lead, 51-39. Consecutive baskets by Candice Brown and Moniquee Alexander brought UCLA to within eight, 51-43, with 7:45 to play, but USC ran off eight-straight points to take a 58-43 lead with 5 minutes to play.
UCLA's comeback aspirations were not done, however. The Bruins scored 13 unanswered points in a three-minute stretch on six points from Tierra Henderson, four points from Christina Nzekwe and a three-pointer by Lindsey Pluimer at the 1:07 mark that cut the lead to two points, 58-56. On USC's next possession, Henderson forced a turnover, but Nzekwe's subsequent jumper missed, and USC was fouled on the rebound. Nadia Parker made one of two free throws with 15 seconds remaining to increase USC's lead to three points, 59-56, and Pluimer's three-point attempt with five seconds to play was blocked by Parker. USC senior Allison Jaskowiak grabbed the rebound, and a skirmish ensued, leading to a total of four technical fouls, four players being ejected for leaving the bench. Jaskowiak made five of six free throws to account for the final 64-56 score.
Pluimer led the Bruins with 15 points. Henderson added 12 points. Chinyere Ibekwe had a solid game with eight points and a team-high eight rebounds. Brown added seven rebounds, a new career high. Heather Oliver led USC with 15 points.
UCLA's record evens out to 9-9, 4-3 in the Pac-10. USC improves to 11-7, 4-3.