It wasn’t as bad as the score would indicate. In fact, UCLA was up 59-42 with 6:35 left in the game. I guess they decided to go nuts and put the whoop on WSU after that.
The Bruins started a little slow, and to be sure, Coach Nikki Caldwell substituted all five players at once, two times during the game. She was not pleased. But in fairness, the Cougars have a lot of potential. They are 2-3 (post) players away from being contenders.
Jazmine Perkins is fearless. She is a relentless pickpocket (four steals in Thursday’s game – a high for both teams) who drives to the basket like it’s the most natural thing in the world. She finished with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists to go with her steals.
Also impressive is Katie Appleton and her 3’s. She was 4-5 the other night, and she shot two of them right in a row. WSU needs to work on their shooting – except for her.
The Cougars have an impressive array of guards, including April Cook and Danielle LeNoir. What they need are some effective posts. Heather Molzen is OK, but she doesn’t make shots under the hoop. Ebonee Coates should be more aggressive. Ditto for Jessica Oestreicher, though she’s only a freshman, so I cut her some slack.
I like the way the WSU team supports each other on the bench and communicates during the game. They seem to have the enthusiasm and the cameraderie. Hopefully Coach June Daugherty can bring their skills along to match that.
On the UCLA side, Antonye Nyingifa got her first start Thursday night. She responded with eight points. Team scoring was once again balanced, with Doreena Campbell leading the way with 15 points, Nina Earl following with 12, and Erica Tukiainen with 11.
– During the game, I sat with a UCLA usher who’s worked there for four years. He said the change in the Bruin players this year, under Caldwell, has been dramatic. Before, they seemed apathetic and uncaring about winning, he said. Now they are enthusiastic and energetic, and with that has come more aggressive play. Some girls, the usher said, never got off the bench under former coach Kathy Oliver; now they’re starting or getting significant minutes (read Christina Nzekwe).
That just proves my theory: Kathy Oliver couldn’t recognize talent if it hit her in the face. Also, it proves that motivation starts with the coach. If you have given up, then your players will as well.
– Transfer Jasmine Dixon was wearing a boot on her right foot. She must have done something in practice.
Today I’m going to catch Washington State play at USC, instead of going to the UCLA game. I’ve been waiting to see Camille and Danielle LeNoir play against each other for the longest time.
This evening, Monique and I are going to the Brea-Cajon game. I have found my batgirl!