UCLA 61, USC 42

There was this guy in the huddle with UCLA today that they showed on the arena camera a few times. Said he was from the UCLA men’s championship team in 1995. Now I see why he was there:

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Tyus Edney helped UCLA win its last national basketball championship in 1995, so coach Nikki Caldwell called on him to give her women’s team an earful.

Jasmine Dixon scored 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and No. 12 UCLA routed Southern California 61-42 Saturday in a matchup of crosstown rivals off to their best starts in years.

“He said it’s about heart,” Caldwell said. “I think the team listened to him, they don’t always listen to me.”

Whatever it was, the Bruins dominated USC from tipoff to final buzzer. I didn’t expect that. And though USC didn’t play badly, UCLA just seemed utterly on and fired up:

Ashley Corral scored 14 points for USC, which had its six-game winning streak end. Still, the Trojans are off to their hottest start since going 17-1 before their first Pac-10 loss in 1993-94.

“There were a lot of things in the game we didn’t get done. We had a lot of open looks in the first half and didn’t make them,” USC coach Michael Cooper said. “Their defense was harrassing, but it wasn’t maniacal like we thought it would be. I thought our defense was going to be a lot better. We got to get a lot nastier.”

USC’s leading scorer Briana Gilbreath missed all 12 of her shots and finished with nine points—all on free throws—while playing in foul trouble. She came in averaging 14.5 points.

“We still had open looks and she just wasn’t knocking them down,” Cooper said.

The Trojans shot a 28 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers in front of a big crowd, including UCLA’s rowdy student section that noisily taunted the Trojans for their airballs.

Box score.

Pauley Pavilion was full of 6,675 loud people today. It was great to see that size of a crowd. Basketball celebrities in attendence included: Jessica Moore, Lisa Leslie doing commentary for FOX, and Lisa Willis.

USC’s #15 Briana Gilbreath runs to help Jacki Gemelos, who has the ball.

Gilbreath and UCLA’s Jasmine Dixon scramble for a rebound in the first half.

Sheila Boykin and Kacy Swain chilling at halftime and perhaps talking about what they’ll do at UCLA next year, when they’re playing for Nikki Caldwell.

Markel Walker pops a long two in the second half.

Dixon scores and Walker yells for joy.

Gemelos has a crazy skill set. Here she prepared to take the ball in during the second half. She shot it, missed, got her own rebound and put it up and in.