A Legendary Night

UCLA has never in the history of its women's basketball program beaten a team ranked higher than No. 4. Yet considering that the Bruins play in the legendary Pauley Pavilion where John Wooden's success is immortalized, it's no surprise to see the women's program enjoy a legend making moment of their own.

That night was tonight as the unranked UCLA Bruins not just edged out, but solidly beat No. 2-ranked Stanford 69-56.

"This was a very good win for our program and I think our non-conference schedule prepared us for a team like Stanford," said UCLA coach Kathy Olivier. "Our team is fearless and out to play anyone. We are going to be ready for anyone."

The fearlessness of this UCLA team was seen early on when the Bruins enjoyed an 11-point lead twice in the first half. Yet instead of falling behind and letting their opponent make a run on them (as what Maryland did late in the second half), the Bruins stayed strong and shook off the Cardinal coming within four points both at the end of the first half.

"I thought our team did a great job of staying focused for 40 minutes," said Olivier. "We played for 40 minutes and when we do this, we can play against good people."

Part of UCLA being able to stay focused is the balanced attack of scoring and rebounding from all players on the court. UCLA was led by freshman Darxia Morris with 20 points and senior Lindsey Pluimer with 13. Yet when all players except one scored tonight and everyone who saw playing action grabbed at least one rebound, it was this team effort that enabled them to get the win.

"I think our team was sick of playing with teams at the top and not being able to finish," said Pluimer. "We learned from those games and you could tell at the end that we were slowing the ball down, using the clock and being patient which came from the Maryland and Tennessee games."

Despite getting within reaching distance many times during the game, Stanford's struggles were painfully obvious as their energy level was not where it should have been and not putting in a team effort for the night.

"We had trouble defensively and didn’t have the energy we needed as a team," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "I was very disappointed overall with our team effort and we missed an incredible number of point-blank shots and free throws. I thought we rebounded well and had a lot of good opportunities, just didn’t knock them down."

Stanford was led by senior Candice Wiggins and her 29 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Jayne Appel with 17 points and eight rebounds.

"It's hard to explain a game like this," said Wiggins. "We knew what to expect and that they were a great team who had played great teams close and they are very good at home. Unfortunately bad shooting and getting in the hole early, we were unable to fight out of this one."

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)