Thursday, May 23

UCLA women’s basketball dominates USC in highly anticipated match

Revenge was finally exacted Saturday morning, when coach Nikki Caldwell and the UCLA women's basketball team defeated their rival Women of Troy

Revenge was finally exacted Saturday morning, when coach Nikki Caldwell and the UCLA women’s basketball team defeated their rival Women of Troy, 74-56, in front of a raucous crowd of 8,006 fans, the fifth largest attendance for a UCLA women’s basketball game in the history of Pauley Pavilion.

“I thought that our team really took an aggressive, intense approach to this game for many different reasons,” Caldwell said in Saturday’s postgame press conference. “But I think the one thing about this team is their ability to play together when they want to and they can really do some great things.”

If there were any particular “great thing” that the Bruins did Saturday, it was their effort on the defensive end, particularly in the first half. UCLA held USC to just 18 points in the first half and led 37-18 going into the break. The Bruins also forced 14 USC turnovers in the first half, while only committing three themselves. But even more impressive was that the Bruins held the Women of Troy to only 18 shot attempts in the first 20 minutes of play, only six of which USC converted.

In addition, the Bruins dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Women of Troy 44-29, and limiting USC to only three offensive rebounds in the first half and 10 on the game. Meanwhile, UCLA snatched down 20 offensive rebounds, 12 in the first half.

“I thought that they did a phenomenal job, primarily in the first half, of limiting them to one-and-done,” Caldwell said. “Our defensive effort, that’s what we hang our hat on. Our defensive play and our board play.”

After the Bruins’ first contest with the Women of Troy, a game that UCLA lost 70-63, USC coach Michael Cooper had some choice words regarding UCLA, but Cooper toned it down significantly following his team’s loss Saturday.

“My opening statement: UCLA kicked our butt.”

Next up, the Bruins will host the Washington schools, with the Washington Huskies paying a visit to Pauley Pavilion Thursday night at 7 p.m., followed by an afternoon matchup with the Washington State Cougars Saturday at 4 p.m.

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