Jan. 2, 2011
PULLMAN, Wash. - PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - The pressure defense of No. 8 UCLA proved too much for error-prone Washington State. So did UCLA's good shooting.
Jasmine Dixon, Darxia Morris and Doreena Campbell each scored 12 points as UCLA beat Washington State 80-55 on Sunday.
The Bruins forced WSU into 28 turnovers. They also had their best shooting day and largest margin of victory of the season.
"We have a full court press and a half court trap that I am very happy with," said UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell. "We executed that today. We forced the turnovers that we needed."
The Bruins lead the nation in steals--averaging 15--and they got 18 against the Cougars. The Bruins also had a big edge in free throws, making a season-high 28-of-35 for 77.8 percent. Washington State was just 5-of-13 from the line.
From the field, the Bruins shot a season-high 56 percent, making 26 of 46. Morris made all six of her shots. Washington State managed just 41 percent, although they tied their season high with eight 3-pointers.
Still, the Bruins led just 32-23 at halftime, as the Cougars made five 3-pointers to keep it close. A 15-2 run to open the second half blew it open.
"Our team was really focused in the second half," Dixon said. "We did what we had to do defensively, and that helped our offense."
UCLA (12-1, 2-0 Pac-10) has won 21 straight in the series since 2001.
Washington State (2-12, 0-2) has lost six consecutive games, but hung around in the first half until poor shooting took a toll. Freshman Ireti Amojo was the only Cougar in double figures with 13 points.
"They are going to press you and make the game very, very ugly," Washington State coach June Daugherty said of the Bruins. "They make you take what they give you."
"We turned it over too much at the beginning of the second half," she said.
Jazmine Perkins and Katie Grad added seven points each for the Cougars. Amojo, who was injured nearly all of last year to earn a medical redshirt, made four 3-pointers, even though she is not yet comfortable being asked to carry the scoring load, Daugherty said.
"She's a graceful, talented kid with a nice stroke," Daugherty said. "Her teammates are really counting on her to take those open looks."
Neither team shot well early, and Campbell had a basket and six free throws to put UCLA ahead 10-7. Consecutive 3-pointers by Amojo allowed Washington State to tie the score at 14. But Morris replied with two straight baskets to give the Bruins an 18-14 lead they did not relinquish.
Washington State sank only two field goals in the final nine minutes of the half to trail 32-23 at halftime. The Bruins shot 50 percent in the first, while Cougars shot just 32 percent and committed 16 turnovers.
The Bruins went on a 15-2 run to open the second half, for a 47-25 lead, and the Cougars could not make up the ground.
"We shared the ball better in the second half and one of our goals was to reduce the amount of turnovers, and we did that," Caldwell said. The Bruins had 19 turnovers.
The Bruins' only loss was to Louisiana State last week.
UCLA leads the all-time series 44-6.
Washington State has not beaten a ranked opponent since topping No. 22 Arizona in 2001.