Los Angeles – No. 13 UCLA contained a physical Stanford effort, 64-53, Sunday to avenge their loss in the first game of the season series.
Jordin Canada had 21 points and five assists for the Bruins, while Monique Billings added 18 points and eight rebounds, and Kennedy Burke scored 10. Billings’ effort put her over the 1,500 point and 1,000 rebound career marks.
UCLA got out to a quick ten-point lead, while Stanford missed their first six field goal attempts before scoring at the charity stripe at the 5:53 mark. The Bruins lead by 12 at the end of one and were ahead 31-21 at halftime.
The Cardinal made a run late in the fourth period, three times cutting the UCLA to six. But four free throws from Canada and two from Billings in the final 41 seconds sealed the win for the hosts. The Cardinal never lead in the matchup.
Bruin coach Cori Close said the initial 10-0 run set the tone for the entire game.
“Our start, hitting those jump shots, that changed their whole scouting report,” Close said. “That enabled us to run some things we didn’t think we would be able to run.”
In a multi-player ball scramble in the first quarter sent Canada to the locker room for the rest of the period, and well into the second frame, after her head was slammed to the floor. She stepped on to the court again, wearing a protective mask, just before halftime and ignited a mini-run before the break.
Close was pleased with the way UCLA players handled her absence.
“I thought we were really calm and poised when Jordin went out, and that speaks to the maturity of our team,” Close said. “It also speaks to the confidence our team has in Monique to anchor us.”
Billings and Canada said the team wasn’t happy with their effort in losing to the Cardinal three weeks earlier, and didn’t want a repeat performance.
“As a team, we put our heads together and knew it would take a better game to get a win over Stanford,” Billings said. “(Today) felt good – we had a lot of energy and had a really good tempo that we were able to carry throughout the whole game.”
Canada said the Bruins had more perseverance in the second matchup.
“When we played them there, we didn’t come out with enough energy, and when they went on their run we kind of gave up. But this time we followed the game plan, we executed pretty well….and we were aggressive.”
Kiana Williams was the lone Stanford player in double figures, with 14 points.
Coach Tara VanDerveer credited UCLA for taking her team out of its rhythm.
“They were aggressive, they made good passes, and we weren’t able to run our offense that well, and it was disappointing,” she said. “They made a lot of free throws, and we didn’t make ours.”
Stanford fell out of the top 25 rankings this month for the first time in 17 years. VanDerveer said her young team has many improvements to make.
“I feel like California – we’ve got a lot of fires to put out, wherever it is,” VanDerveer said. “It’s taking care of the ball, running offense, it’s rebounding, making free throws. The list is a long list.”
“We need to be more consistent.”