Dec. 29, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Offensively, sophomore Thea Lemberger had a career-high 26 points and junior Markel Walker added 18, while on defense, the Bruins set a single-game mark with 13 blocks, including a school-record seven from sophomore Corinne Costa, as UCLA defeated California 60-55 on Thursday at the John Wooden Center.
The Bruins open up Pac-12 play by snapping their four-game losing streak to improve to 6-6 overall, while the Golden Bears fall to 9-4 on the season.
Lemberger made 7-of-11 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point range and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line, adding four assists. Walker was 7-of-8 from the charity stripe and recorded eight rebounds and a season-best four steals. Costa's seven blocks surpassed the UCLA single-game record set by Natalie Williams, who had six on March 6, 1992 against Arizona. The 13 blocks by the Bruins broke a 31-year-old school record (12 vs. Texas A&M, Dec. 4, 1980). Senior Rebekah Gardner added eight points and five rebounds, as UCLA shot 35.8% (19-53) from the field, but made 85.0% (17-20) of its shots from the free-throw line.
The Bruins scored the first four points on layups from sophomore Rhema Gardner and Walker and still held the lead at 9-6, but an 8-2 Cal run gave the visitors a 14-11 edge midway through the first half. The Golden Bears still led by three at 16-13, but nine in a row for the Bruins gave them a 22-16 advantage. A three from Lemberger and consecutive baskets by Costa, Lemberger and Rhema Gardner put UCLA up by a half dozen with six minutes to go.
Cal went more than five minutes without a bucket during the Bruins' 9-0 run, but were able to hold UCLA without a point for the last six minutes of the half to take a lead into the locker room. The Golden Bears netted the final eight points of the first to take a 24-22 advantage to halftime. Lemberger had 10 points and played all 20 minutes of the first half, while Walker added six points and five rebounds. The Bruins shot 32.3% (10-31) from the field.
UCLA's scoreless drought reached eight minutes until a Walker jumper two minutes into the second half made it 26-24 California. The bucket marked the start of a 6-0 Bruin run, as a pair of free throws by Walker and a layup from Rebekah Gardner put UCLA up 28-26. The Golden Bears rallied with the next three to re-take the lead, but the Bruins scored five unanswered on a trey by Walker and two free throws from Lemberger to go ahead 33-29. While the game would be tied two more times and the Bruins' lead would never be greater than six, they didn't trail for the rest of the contest.
Trailing 42-36 midway through the half, Cal scored the next five to get to within one, but two free throws by Walker and a layup from Rebekah Gardner brought the margin back up to five at 46-41 with 5:29 left. The Bears again rallied, going on a 5-0 run to square things at 46. The score would be tied again at 48 with 3:15 left, but one free throw by Rebekah Gardner and two from Walker made it a three-point game.
A pair of Layshia Clarendon free throws made it 51-50 with a minute to go, but Lemberger nailed the dagger with her third trey of the game from the right corner to make it 54-50 with 44 seconds remaining. The Bruins were a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch, with all the attempts coming from Lemberger, as they won it by five. Lemberger had 16 points and made all eight of her free throws in the second half, Walker scored 12 and went 7-of-8 from the line and Rebekah Gardner added eight points. The Bruins shot 40.9% (9-22) from the field in the second half and made 16 of their 18 from the charity stripe (88.9%).
Gennifer Brandon paced the Golden Bears with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Clarendon added 12 and Lindsay Sherbert posted 10, as Cal shot 29.7% from the floor for the contest and had 21 turnovers.
The Bruins are back in action on New Year's Eve when they host fourth-ranked Stanford at 2 p.m. at the John Wooden Center. Gametracker, free video and free audio will be available at UCLABruins.com. Parking on campus for the game is free due to the holiday.