USC 87, UCLA 76

From UCLA’s website, because I don’t have the energy to go through it again, after watching it:

Los Angeles, CA – UCLA outscored USC, 51-41, in the second half but could not overcome a 21-point halftime deficit, falling to the Trojans by an 87-76 count on Sunday afternoon at the Galen Center.

The Bruins led 6-2 to start the game, but poor shooting by UCLA, who missed 13 of their first 16 shots and shot just 21.9% in the half, allowed USC to quickly take a 17-11 lead with 10:43 to play in the half. UCLA used a 7-2 run over a minute and a half to close to within one, but the Trojans went on a 13-1 run to up their advantage to 32-19 with 4:45 to play in the half. USC took a 46-25 lead into halftime after closing the half with a 14-3 run. The 46 points by the Trojans were the most by a Bruin opponent this season.

Down by 21 points, the Bruins faced a major uphill climb but got off to a good start in the second half by scoring the first six points and using a 10-3 run to cut the lead to 14, 49-35. Doreena Campbell scored eight of the 10 points in the run. The Bruins closed the gap to 10 points, 55-45, after consecutive jumpers by Erica Tukiainen, Campbell and Atonye Nyingifa. USC, however, got the lead back up to 19, 68-49, with an 11-2 run.

However, UCLA quickly mounted another comeback with an 11-3 run over a minute and 43 seconds to pull to within 11, 73-62, with 5:36 to play. Three straight steals, two by Nyingifa and one by Tierra Henderson led to five of those points. A three-pointer by Tukiainen at 4:52 made it a 10-point game, 75-65, but the Bruins would not be able to get any closer.

Campbell led all players with 20 points, her fourth 20-point game of the season. Tukiainen had 14 points and a career-high four steals, and Nyingifa added a career-high tying 10 points and eight rebounds. Junior center Moniquee Alexander was the game’s leading rebounder with a career-high 13 boards, seven offensive. She also tied her career-best with two blocks and added eight points.

Camille Lenoir and Heather Oliver led four USC players in double-figures with 19 points apiece.

UCLA’s record drops to 14-7, 5-5 in the Pac-10. USC improves to 12-9, 6-4 in the Pac-10.

The Bruins will next host Arizona on Thursday, Feb. 12 at 7 pm in Pauley Pavilion.


Box score:

None of the above accurately conveys just how horribly UCLA played today. Their 21.9 percent shooting in the first half was abysmal. They were 3-16 for three-pointers. They just looked utterly discombobulated. Even when they mounted a comeback in the second half, it quickly fell apart.

Me and my crew of Spark fans observed that:

– UCLA let USC’s defense punk them. Granted, the Trojans were putting on some great moves to defend their basket, but the Bruins didn’t push back much. They just kept passing the ball. And passing, and passing, and passing, and passing……..
– And what is up with that passing? They needed to take it to the rack but they were afraid to, so they kept throwing up stupid shots that they couldn’t make. USC was hungrier today.
– Moniquee Alexander is a great person, but she needs to be more aggressive under the hoop. She put up three shots soft, and they didn’t go in – not even close. She did get 13 rebounds, but she could have got at least 19 if she would use that big body of hers more. But this isn’t a new issue with her – it’s just something she hasn’t corrected yet. Hopefully she will soon.
– The Bruins still stand around too much on offense. They need to pick it up, set more screens, flash more.
– Camille LeNoir is a stud. There were times today when she just put her team on her back. And she had two amazing, run-to-the-rack plays. I hope the Sparks draft her.
– Doreena Campbell is a stud. But she can’t do it alone, people.

I turn my back to: referees Michael Price, Chuck Gonzalez and Jeneane Pence.

A horrendous crew of officials. WNBA fans already know how much Michael Price sucks, but I hadn’t seen the other two before. Maybe Price rubbed off on them, because they were calling every ticky-tack BS thing they could think of, on both sides. At one point in the second half, they called a foul on a Bruin player, so the Trojan player stepped to the line for the free throw. On the rebound they called a foul on another Bruin player, sending a second Trojan to the line. After that throw, they called a foul on an SC player. It was at that point that the crowd began cat-calling. I yelled at them that I had to go to work tomorrow.

Kudos to: the 8721 that came out today as part of the “Day in Troy” campus tour (UCLA has one too when USC comes to that campus). It was great to see the Galen Center so full of fans.

As Tennessee lost to Florida at the same time UCLA was tanking, I’m going to go pound my head against the wall for a while before bedtime.