UCLA opens season in record-breaking fashion

Jordin Canada notched the seventh triple-double in UCLA history with 26 points, 11 steals and 10 assists. Photo courtesy of UCLA Athletics.
Jordin Canada notched the seventh triple-double in UCLA history with 26 points, 11 steals and 10 assists. Photo courtesy of UCLA Athletics.

Los Angeles – No. 8 UCLA got the season off to a record-breaking start Friday with a 129-69 rout of San Jose State.

The point total broke the program record of 125, dating back to 1976. The Bruins bettered school records for most points scored in a first quarter (38) and in a first half (69).

Senior point guard Jordin Canada also had a history-making night, as she posted the second triple-double of her career with 26 points, 11 steals and 10 assists. It was the seventh triple-double in program history, and Canada joined former UCLA great Ann Meyers as the second player to notch two such games.

Three Bruins had double-doubles: senior center Monique Billings, with 19 points and 11 rebounds; freshman forward Michaela Onyenwere, with 19 points and 10 rebounds; and junior guard Kennedy Burke, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Lajahna Drummer and Chantel Horvat each added 12 points.

UCLA clamped down on defense in the second quarter and held the Spartans to just 18.8 percent shooting. Freshman Kayla Owens made a three-point shot late in the fourth period to put the Bruins over the scoring mark.

Coach Cori Close said the record was cause for reflection.

“Whenever you break a record that’s stood since 1976, you’ve got to be respectful,” she said. “Think of the amazing players who have played here. I’m very proud because I know the great people who have laid the ground for us, who sacrificed: Denise Curry, Maylana Martin, Ann Meyers. Noelle Quinn was here tonight. To be able to break a record that so many people built a foundation for, that’s pretty special.”

Canada, who has been on the All-Pac-12 team for two years and was the conference’s defensive player of the year last season, was in a zone against San Jose State. She eclipsed the triple-double mark with a leaping steal midway through the fourth quarter.

“The biggest difference with Jordin is her efficiency,” Close said. “She’s getting 26 points on 12 shots. “Her maturity is seen in her efficiency with the triple-double in how she’s facilitating the team. That’s what’s really exciting. The triple-double is just a by-product of all that growth.”

Myzhanique Ladd and Megan Anderson each had 11 points for the Spartans. Coach Jamie Craighead declined to comment on the game.

Close said she still sees a lot of room for improvement with the Bruins.

“We’re not playing with the consistency and the focus on the defensive end that I think we’re going to grow into,” Close said. “I love the team spirit, I love the selflessness of this group. That’s at a top ten level.”

“The good news is I think we could be really good down the road.”

UCLA has now won 30 straight home games – the second-longest streak after Connecticut’s. The Bruins next face Presbyterian College on Sunday.