UC Davis 49
Sunday featured a matchup between two undefeated teams that both utilize pressure-based zone defenses.
Early on, the No. 15 Bruins (4-0) easily sliced through the UC Davis (3-1) zone and found no difficulty kicking out for uncontested mid-range jumpers, resulting in a 65-49 victory.
As the first half progressed, however, the zone collapsed and the Bruins struggled to find an offensive half-court rhythm.
“You’ll see a lot of us pressing and falling back into our zone,” coach Nikki Caldwell said. “With this team, we can do a lot of our man action as far as trapping and matching out of our zone. I think when we run our match-up zone, we force people to take a lot of perimeter shots, and it helps put us in a good position to rebound the basketball.”
UCLA jumped out to an early 11-3 lead, but the Aggies capitalized on careless Bruin turnovers by tightening the pressure defense and rallying in transition themselves, going on a 10-2 run to even the score at 13.
Junior forward Jasmine Dixon, who had an 18-point, 11-rebound performance against Notre Dame Thursday, was fronted by Aggie defenders all throughout the first half, and the UCLA guards weren’t able to find a good post-entry feed, resulting in multiple passes flying out of bounds. UCLA would finish the game with 29 total turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Aggies spread the floor out and worked for a few open looks from the baseline. Aggie junior wing Vicky Deely got off ball screens time and time again and utilized them to her advantage, sinking five 3-pointers.
But in relying on the long-distance jump shot, the Aggie offense was left vulnerable to a collection of quick Bruin hands playing the passing lanes. UCLA pressured the Aggies into 32 turnovers, who also forced 33 of their 46 shots from beyond the 3-point stripe.
After an emotionally and physically draining double-overtime victory against a No. 12 Irish squad on Thursday, the Bruins weren’t about to allow a letdown Sunday.
Coming out of halftime, the Bruins went to Dixon on the first two possessions, resulting in two layups that put the Bruins up 36-21.
Later on, redshirt sophomore forward Atonye Nyingifa deflected multiple passes in the backcourt, leading to multiple transition opportunities.
“It started with (coach Caldwell) giving us three keys to victory,” Nyingifa said. “One of them was intensity. I tried to anticipate the pass and really focus on defense, and that’s what generates our offense. When our defense is good, our offense gets going.”
And in the second half, the Bruin defense was able to contain a UC Davis squad still intent on shooting long-range jumpers, and cruised to victory.
It marked the first time in 14 years that the Bruins have started the season 4-0. UCLA will host the Temple Owls (1-2) on Sunday.
Campbell reaches milestone
Senior guard Doreena Campbell reached the 1,000-point milestone during Thursday’s game against Notre Dame. On Sunday, she was as quick to acknowledge the UCLA program as she was getting back in the team huddle after the game ball presentation.
“To have that many championships, that’s something this school has,” Campbell said. “It’s bringing people from all different walks of life, and they’re coming here and competing. Sometimes, I really think about it, and I am lucky to be here.”