March 13, 2009
Los Angeles, CA - Fourth-seeded UCLA, now 19-11 on the year, picked a perfect time to win its first game after trailing at the half,overcoming poor first-half shooting to register a 62-56 victory over fifth-seeded Oregon State, 19-11, in the second round of the Pac-10 Tournament at the Galen Center.
UCLA shot just 28.6% from the field in the first half and trailed by as many as six points in the first half and by 26-21 at the half. The Beavers received 15 first-half points from Brittney Davis to account for more than half of their points.
Oregon State began the second half strong and grabbed a nine-point lead at 32-23, but the Bruins rebounded to pull to within one at 38-37 with 11:27 left in the game on a jumper by Atonye Nyingifa. Davis, however, answered with another three-pointer, her fourth of the game, to up the Beavers' lead back to four. Back-to-back baskets by Darxia Morris and Nyingifa capped an 11-3 run that knotted the game at 41-41 with 9:29 to play.
UCLA took its first lead of the second half at 5:53 on a three-pointer by freshman Rebekah Gardner that made the score 46-45, and OSU responded with a bucket by Mercedes Fox-Griffin. Morris missed a layup that would have given UCLA the lead once again, but she didn't miss the next time up the court and gave UCLA a 48-47 advantage with 4:36 to play.
After OSU's Talisa Rhea hit a long jumper that just beat the shot clock buzzer, Nyingifa scored on a put-back and was fouled. She converted the free throw for the three-point play, and the Bruins came back with a fast-break layup by Tukiainen to take a 53-49 lead with 3:11 to play.
Nyingifa scored again with 2:36 on the clock, giving the Bruins a 55-49 lead, but Rhea earned a three-point play on the other end, tightening UCLA's lead to three points. But the Beavers would get no closer, and the Bruins put the game away with free throws.
Nyingfa finished with a career-high 18 points and grabbed a career-high-tying 10 rebounds for her second double-double. Morris and Doreena Campbell each added 10 points. Morris totaled all 10 in the second half of play after sitting out much of the first half in foul trouble. Christina Nzekwe tied Nyingifa for game-high honors in rebounding with 10, seven on the offensive end.
The Bruins will advance to play top-seeded Stanford on Saturday at 8:30 pm.