Jan. 24, 2009
Los Angeles, Calif. - UCLA used 10 straight points scored by sophomore guard Darxia Morris to help hold off Washington and earn a 74-66 Pac-10 conference win this afternoon in Pauley Pavilion. After the visiting Huskies had taken a 52-51 lead with 9:50 to play, Morris scored UCLA's next 10 points in the contest. Her last basket in the stretch broke a 59-all tie and gave UCLA a lead it would not surrender.
Utilizing eight points from Seattle native Christina Nzekwe and six points from senior guard Tierra Henderson, UCLA jumped out to a 17-6 lead to start the game. Bruin turnovers (18 in the first half) and timely Washington three-pointers from freshman guard Kristi Kingma and junior guard Sami Whitcomb, however, helped the Huskies get back into the game. Washington used 6-0 and 7-0 runs to close the gap to 33-30 at halftime.
Washington tied the score at 37 after a three-pointer by Kingma at 18:06 and grabbed its first lead, 44-43, at the 14:54 mark on a Kingma jumper. The teams traded leads five more times before Washington nabbed its biggest lead of the game, 56-53, with 8:24 to play. However, Morris nearly single-handedly brought the Bruins back on top, scoring all eight points in an 8-3 Bruin run that gave UCLA a 61-59 lead.
A layup by Nzekwe and a Doreena Campbell layup, after a forced turnover by Henderson, brought the Bruins' lead back up to six, 69-63, with 2:10 to play. Washington pulled to within four points on a layup by Heidi McNeill, 69-65, with 1:54 remaining. The teams then traded missed shots before Bruin freshman guard Atonye Nyingifa scored on consecutive layups at the 55-second mark and again with 29 seconds showing on the clock to seal the win.
"Darxia (Morris) made some big shots for us down the stretch and did good job of leading the attack. She and Doreena (Campbell) in the backcourt handled things for us," said UCLA head coach Nikki Caldwell. "Washington did a good job in taking us out of our game, but I'm glad we were able to come away with the win."
Campbell led five double digit scorers with 20 points for the Bruins, who are now 14-4 on the year and 5-2 in Pac-10 Conference play. Henderson added a season-high 12 points. Nyingifa grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and tossed in a career-best 10 points, while Nzekwe finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. Morris came off the bench to total 12 points.
Kingma connected on a career-high six three-pointers for the Huskies, one shy of Washington's single-game record, and scored a career-high 25 points to lead all players. The Huskies dropped to 5-12 on the season and 1-6 in the Pac-10.
UCLA will travel to the Bay Area for a pair of games against Top 15 opponents in No. 6 California (Jan. 29) and No. 11 Stanford (Feb. 1). The Bruins will then return to Los Angeles to face USC on Feb. 8 before returning home to Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 12 to meet Arizona.