Feb. 25, 2012
UCLA (14-13, 9-7) pulled away from Arizona (14-15, 3-14) in the second half of a Pac-12 Conference women's basketball game played in the John Wooden Center on Saturday afternoon and went on to record a 72-58 win on Senior Day in Westwood. Four Bruins, led by lone senior Rebekah Gardner's game-high 21-points, scored in double digits in the victory which moved UCLA into a fourth place tie with Oregon State, at 9-7, in the battle to earn a top four seed and a first-round bye into the Pac-12 Tournament.
UCLA used a 13-4 run in the early stages of the second half, capped off by a basket by freshman post Kacy Swain, to break open what had been a tight game and take a 56-41 lead with 11:40 to play. Sophomore guard Thea Lemberger netted two three-point baskets to key the run and junior forward Markel Walker added a basket and a free throw. The Bruins led by double figures the balance of the game and built the advantage up to as many as 19 points on a bucket by Gardner with 1:27 on the clock.
UCLA had opened the game by scoring the first five points in the contest, four coming on a pair of baskets by Swain. Arizona came alive, after missing its first eight shots, and went on a 12-0 run to open up a seven-point lead, 16-9, at the 9:47 mark. UCLA knotted the score at 19-all on a three-point basket by Gardner. The teams traded baskets and were tied at 23, 26 and 28 points. There were seven lead changes in the last 4:12 of the half before UCLA tallied the final six points of the initial twenty minutes of play to take a 40-35 edge into the locker room.
Swain finished with career-best totals of 14 points and seven rebounds. Walker added 17 points and 12 rebounds (she moved up to 14th on the all-time school rebounding list) for her 11th double-double of the season. Lemberger scored 15 points to reach double digits for the ninth time in the last 10 outings. Sophomore forward Rhema Gardner, Rebekah's sister, pulled down a career-best 12 rebounds.
UCLA will complete the regular season with a pair of conference games at the Washington schools next week. The Bruins' trip begins on Thursday evening at Washington State and concludes with a battle against Washington on Saturday afternoon. The first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament begins March 7 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.