Dec. 5, 2002
MALIBU, CA - UCLA opened NCAA play in style on Thursday night in Firestone Fieldhouse, defeating ninth-ranked Long Beach State 30-25, 30-37, 30-21. The Bruins improve to 20-13 on the season and advance to the NCAA Second Round, where they will play host Pepperdine at 7 pm on Friday night in Malibu. Long Beach State's season concludes with a record of 28-4.
The Bruins took control of the opening game early on, scoring four straight points to take a 4-2 lead. UCLA did not trail again from that point in the game. The Beach came to within one point at 12-11, on a rally that started by an antenna call that initially gave UCLA a 13-8 lead, but was overturned to bring Long Beach to within three points at 12-9. However, the Bruins would recover, scoring six straight points on the service of Lauren Fendrick to take a 21-14 lead. UCLA downed five blocks in the opening game, led by Cira Wright with one solo and three assisted blocks. Offensively, Fendrick led UCLA with six kills in the opening game.
Game two was closely fought, with the teams within one point as late as UCLA's 28-27 lead. From there, however, Nancy Barba and Heather Cullen downed a block and Brynn Murphy placed a cross-court kill to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading to the locker rooms.
The Bruins continued their hot streak coming out of the break, sprinting to a 4-1 lead and never looking back.
UCLA was led by Heather Cullen with 10 kills, Chrissie Zartman with 12 digs and Cira Wright with seven blocks (one solo, six assists). As a team, UCLA hit .282 to Long Beach's .167, out-dug them 42-39, and out-blocked them by an 11-6 margin.