Oregon 73, UCLA 56

I took two of my girls to the game today and it was the birthday of one, so we partied afterward. This was also a straightforward one-team-plays-great-while-the-other-team-plays-crappy game. And I’m going to a high school tournament tomorrow, so this won’t be a long post.

The Ducks came out blazing from the get-go, took the lead and never looked back. They played mad D, Taylor Lilley was making ridiculous shots and couldn’t miss, and Micaela Cocks and Jasmin Holliday also came up big for their team.

The Bruins looked lethargic, and their brilliant moments were way too far and few between. They shot 36.8 for the game to Oregon’s 55.6. But what concerns me is that their rebound total today was 35, which is what it’s been the last few games. And that’s way below the 50-plus per game they were getting a couple months ago, and doesn’t even match their season average of last year. Even worse in today’s case was that the Ducks only had 25 rebounds.

“We’re going to have to focus on getting better in our man-to-man defense,” Coach Nikki Caldwell said in the post-game interview.

She added that with a week until their next game, against USC, they would use the time to “get back to their defensive scheme.”

Oregon looked very good today, and it wasn’t a surprise to me. I have wondered for many weeks how they have been losing as much as they with the assistant coaches that are on board.

Caldwell was uncharacteristically quiet for her; she didn’t yell at the team, and at the end of the game she took a seat on the bench.

Oregon Coach Bev Smith did the opposite, remaining quiet for most of the game before coming alive at the end, standing and shouting to the Ducks. After she went through the hand slap line afterward, she turned around and walked the other way to slap the hands of her own squad.

The Ducks and their many fans, which helped fill Pauley Pavilion, were extremely excited about the win, and with good reason: Oregon had been swept by USC and UCLA for the past four consecutive seasons. Three Ducks are also Southern California natives: Lilley and Tatiana Thomas of Newhall, and Jasmin Holliday of Chino Hills. An especially large contingent showed up to cheer on Holliday. They also stayed after the game and waited until the freshman finished up a radio interview so they could cheer her as she walked across the court towards them.

Bruin notes:

Today was the second consecutive game that Tierra Henderson sat with the team on the bench in street clothes. The senior guard was suspended from the squad indefinitely last month for a violation of team rules.

New recruit Jasmine Dixon was again at the game today. She got some kind of paperwork on a clipboard from one of the team assistants, took it back to her seat and proceeded to fill it out with an older woman sitting next to her. I looked back over less than 10 minutes later and both women, as well as a young girl sitting with them, were suddenly clad in large blue UCLA sweatshirts. It looks like things are moving along.

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