Bruins Topple No. 4 Bears, 71-56

March 1, 2009

Box Score |  AP Photo Gallery 

LOS ANGELES (AP)--Erica Tukiainen had the biggest game of her career, and UCLA was happy it came against No. 4 California.

Tukiainen scored 18 of her career-high 25 points in the second half, and UCLA upset the Golden Bears 71-56 on Sunday. The win was UCLA's biggest against a ranked opponent since Jan. 7, 2008, when the team beat No. 2 Stanford.

"Coach told us we needed an extra spark," Tukiainen said. "I was in the zone and we got it done."

The Bruins (17-10, 8-8 Pac-10) sure did, knocking Cal (23-4, 14-2) from the top spot in the conference standings. The Golden Bears were sharing the No.1 position with Stanford, which defeated Southern California 85-74 on Sunday, before the loss.

The Bruins hit two key 3-pointers, one by Christina Nzekwe at 5:55 and another by Tukiainen at 5:20, to give the Bruins the lead for good at 54-49.

"She knocked down big shots for us," UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell said. "She did a fantastic job in anchoring us. She battled in there when she was undersized and offensively, she had one of her most productive nights."

Tukiainen, who finished 11-of-16 from the field, also had three 3s for UCLA, which beat California for the first time since December 2006.

Cal managed to score just one basket in the final 7:39 and was 1-for-9 down the stretch.

The Golden Bears' final six points came from the free-throw line.

"We were not focused. We were sloppy and we turned it over," Cal coach Joanne Boyle said. "We got away with one on Friday (against USC), but it caught up with us today."

Darxia Morris had 18 for UCLA, which is 1-4 against ranked opponents this season.

Ashley Walker led Cal with 17 points and 11 rebounds and scored her 2,000th career point when she made a layup with 18:17 remaining in the second half. Walker became the second player in Cal history and the 11th in Pac-10 history to do so.

Devanei Hampton, who finished with 11, reached her own milestone when she scored on a jumper at 7:40 to post her 1,500th career point. Both Hampton and Walker declined to speak with the media following the loss.

"It's a great accomplishment," Boyle said. "It should be a joyous occasion for these two kids but losing makes it difficult."

Lauren Greif had 13 for Cal, which started out the second half on a 9-2 run to take a 36-32 lead, its first since 5:12 of the first half.

Hampton had two layups and a free throw and Walker added four in a 2:20 span.

Cal, which had won the last four matchups, couldn't get shots to fall down the stretch, though, and missed opportunities when it mattered most.

Casey Morris turned the ball over with 18 seconds left and both she and Greif missed 3-pointers with less than a minute remaining that would have brought Cal within six.

UCLA's Morris, a sophomore guard and six-game starter this season, stepped in to give UCLA a boost.

Morris went 6-for-10 from the field for 12 points and helped the Bruins' defense cause fits for the Golden Bears' post players.

"Our offense rolled off of our defense," said guard Doreena Campbell, who finished with seven points. "We put more ball pressure on their guards and tried to make it more difficult for them to get the ball into the post."

It worked.

Cal had trouble getting a pass into Walker and Hampton and threw the ball away when trying to force it in.

Hampton was 0-for-1 in the first and Walker had eight points, mostly on putbacks.

The Bruins were down for most of the first until Morris scored six straight to give UCLA a 24-21 lead. UCLA took a 30-27 halftime lead behind Morris and seven points from Tukiainen.

It didn't help when Cal lost sophomore Alexis Gray-Lawson, who went down with a sprained left knee with over two minutes left in the first half. Gray-Lawson, who finished with six points, didn't return in the second and was on crutches after the game.

With Gray-Lawson out, Cal lost a long-distance threat -- the guard was 10-for-15 in 3-point shooting over the past four games and had two Sunday before going down with the injury.

The sophomore, who had 22 points in a win over USC on Friday night, will be reevaluated when the team heads home.

Tukiainen surpassed her previous best, a 21-point performance against Arizona on Feb.12, when she scored on a layup with 1:25 remaining.


EVENT INFORMATION
UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Friday, Nov 20
vs. James Madison
Los Angeles, CA
W, 90 - 61
Sunday, Nov 22
vs. South Carolina
Los Angeles, CA
L, 65 - 68
Friday, Nov 27
vs. Louisiana Tech
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
W, 68 - 57
Saturday, Nov 28
vs. Notre Dame
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
L, 84 - 92 (OT)
Saturday, Dec 05
vs. CSU Bakersfield
Los Angeles, CA
W, 82 - 68
Sunday, Dec 13
at Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
W, 86 - 77
Wednesday, Dec 16
vs. UC Irvine
Los Angeles, CA
W, 83 - 48
Friday, Dec 18
at Sacramento State
Sacramento, CA
W, 109 - 76
Monday, Dec 21
at California
Berkeley, CA
L, 104 - 108 (2OT)
Monday, Dec 28
at UC Riverside
Riverside, CA
W, 70 - 56
Wednesday, Dec 30
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
W, 78 - 73
Saturday, Jan 02
vs. Oregon
Los Angeles, CA
W, 80 - 69
Monday, Jan 04
vs. Oregon State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 71 - 51
Sunday, Jan 10
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
L, 68 - 71
Friday, Jan 15
at Washington
Seattle, WA
L, 56 - 64
Sunday, Jan 17
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
W, 75 - 73
Friday, Jan 22
vs. California
Los Angeles, CA
W, 75 - 56
Sunday, Jan 24
vs. Stanford
Los Angeles, CA
W, 56 - 36
Friday, Jan 29
at Colorado
Boulder, CO
W, 82 - 64
Sunday, Jan 31
at Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
W, 69 - 63
Friday, Feb 05
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
L, 61 - 65
Sunday, Feb 07
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
W, 73 - 39
Friday, Feb 12
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 73 - 61
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Los Angeles, CA
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at Oregon
Eugene, OR
Sunday, Feb 21 - 6:00 PM PST
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
Friday, Feb 26 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Feb 28 - 11:00 AM PST
vs. Arizona State
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Thursday, Mar 03 - All Day PST
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