Jan. 13, 2002
Los Angeles - Despite a game-high 21 points from Bruin junior Natalie Nakase, the UCLA women's basketball team dropped a 67-57 decision to rival USC Sunday before 5,331 in Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins (5-10 overall, 2-5 Pac-10) outscored the Women of Troy, 34-24 in the second half, but were unable to erase a 20-point halftime deficit. The Bruins narrowed the gap to nine points at 66-57 with 20 seconds to play and had possession of the ball, but could get no closer. USC improved its record to 9-7 (5-2 in the Pac-10).
USC broke open what had been a close game in the early going with a 23-8 spurt to end the first half and led 43-23 at the intermission. Senior forward Carmen Krause sparked the Trojans with eight of her team-high 14 points coming during that run. USC shot 61% (17-28) in that first half while limiting UCLA to just 24% (8-33) from the field.
Nakase finished the game 5-of-12 from the field, including 11-of-12 from the free-throw line. It marked her second straight game with at least 20 points, as she scored a career-high 24 points in her previous outing at Washington State. Senior forward Shalada Allen added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Bruins.
Three USC players joined Krause in double figures - sophomore forward Ebony Hoffman and sophomore guard Aisha Hollans each had 12, while freshman Rachel Woodward scored 11. Hoffman also grabbed a game-best 12 rebounds and had four blocked shots.
Both Hoffman and Allen were ejected from the game after getting tangled up with 5:32 to play in the second half during a scramble for a loose ball under the UCLA basket. USC was in the lead by a 58-43 margin at the time. Each player was assessed a flagrant technical foul (double technical foul) for fighting by the officials and they were both ejected from the game.
USC head coach Chris Gobrecht was also ejected from the game after receiving her second technical foul of the contest with 1:12 remaining in the second half.
"We have got to get something going at home and be a little more aggressive earlier," said UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier. "We can't save our best shot for the second half. We were just coming off a big road win. USC's defensive quickness hurt us today. We were forced to rush a lot of our shots."
UCLA will host Arizona State in Pauley Pavilion on Thursday night at 7 p.m in its next game.