Jan. 11, 2009
Los Angeles, Calif. - UCLA broke open a close game midway through the second half with a 14-2 run and posted an 87-75 win over USC on Sunday afternoon in a Pac-10 conference women's basketball game played before 5,203 fans in Pauley Pavilion. Sophomore Doreena Campbell led UCLA, which improved its records to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference, with 20 points. The guard also grabbed a career-best nine rebounds. USC, which fell to 8-6 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-10, was paced by senior guard Camille LeNoir, who poured in 20 points.
Bruin freshman guard Rebekah Gardner's three-point shot with 9:23 remaining in the contest knotted the score at 58-all and started a 14-2 UCLA run. A three-point basket by Campbell ended the Bruins' big run, which left UCLA with a 69-60 advantage with 6:44 showing on the clock. The Trojans never got closer than nine points the rest of the way. Gardner, part of a Bruin bench which totaled 50 points in the game, ended with a career-high 13 points in the contest.
USC jumped out to a 10-2 lead to start the game before the Bruins rallied with a 9-0 run to take their first lead, 11-10, with 15:29 to play in the half. USC, however, ran off five unanswered points to regain the lead at 16-11. The Trojans still enjoyed a 27-23 lead at the 6:48 mark when the Bruins proceeded to string together another 9-0 run to take a 32-27 lead with 4:28 remaining. A long three-pointer by Campbell, at 6:09, gave the Bruins the lead for just the second time in the contest, at 28-27. She scored five of UCLA's points during the stretch, and the Bruins went on to take a 40-34 lead into the locker room at the break.
USC began the second half by scoring the first eight points of the half, kicking off an 11-1 run to take a 45-41 lead with 16:37 on the clock. The Women of Troy connected on their first five shots of the half during the run, but the four-point margin would be their biggest lead of the second half. UCLA, which had misfired on its first six shots coming out of the locker room, managed to tie the game at 45 on its first basket of the second half, a three-pointer by junior guard Allison Taka. The lead then changed hands eight times before UCLA exploded for its 14-2 run.
Senior center Chinyere Ibekwe finished with a season-best 17 points for the Bruins, many on second-chance opportunities, and collected a game-high 10 rebounds for her fifth career double-double. UCLA received 28 points in total from second chance opportunities during the game. Freshman guard Atonye Nyingifa tied her career high with nine points and posted a career-best eight rebounds, all in the second half. UCLA ended the game with a season-best rebound total and won the battle of the boards by a 55-38 margin.
"We challenged them at halftime to be all over the boards, and they did a phenomenal job at that," said UCLA head coach Nikki Caldwell. "Our two first-years - Rebekah Gardner and Atonye Nyingifa - came in and gave us great minutes and played with real good intensity."
UCLA will play next at Arizona State on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 11 am MT.