Nov. 16, 2008
Los Angeles, Calif. - In its first game under first-year head coach Nikki Caldwell, the UCLA women's basketball team posted a 78-62 win over Cal State Fullerton on Sunday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion. Junior center Moniquee Alexander led a balanced Bruin scoring attack with a career-best 12 points and also had seven rebounds. Senior guard Tierra Henderson added 10 points and a career-high tying eight rebounds.
The Titans had a strong start to the game, hitting their first four shots and first three free throws in the contest to take a 13-4 lead at the 16:10 mark. Fullerton maintained the scoring advantage until the final minute of the half, when UCLA took its first lead since scoring the initial basket of the game. A pair of free throws by junior guard Allison Taka put UCLA up, 34-32, with 58 seconds left in the half. Sophomore Candice Brown's free throw with 28 seconds remaining left the Bruins in front by a one-point margin at halftime, 35-34.
After the halftime break, it was all UCLA, as the Bruins shot 51.9% from the field in the second period while keeping Fullerton's shooting percentage down to 32.4% in the half. UCLA scored the first seven points of the second half, with a three-point basket by junior guard Erica Tukiainen capping the streak and propelling the Bruins to a 42-34 advantage with 18:07 to play. The Titans never got closer than six after that point. UCLA went on to lead by as many as 18 points, 74-56, in the final three minutes of the contest. The Bruins owned the boards in the second half by a 30-10 margin and 54-21 for the game. Senior center Chinyere Ibekwe pulled down a career-high 14 caroms to lead UCLA.
All 11 Bruins who played scored in the contest. Freshmen Atonye Nyingifa and Rebekah Gardner each scored six points and grabbed three rebounds in their Bruin debuts. Taka scored a career-best seven points.
Senior forward Toni Thomas led Cal State Fullerton, now 1-1 on the season, with 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting before fouling out. Three other Titans scored in double-digits - sophomore guard Lauren Chow and junior guard Jasmine Scott with 11 points each and sophomore guard Ashley Richie with 10.
The Bruins (1-0) will host Pepperdine (1-0) on Tuesday night in Pauley Pavilion at 7 p.m. Pepperdine opened its season with a 79-72 win over Cal Poly on Nov. 14.