Patience is the name of the game.
At least according to the UCLA women’s basketball team and coach Nikki Caldwell.
As the No. 9 Bruins (19-2, 9-1 Pac-10) head to Eugene, Ore. today to take on the Oregon Ducks, a team they beat earlier in the season by a healthy 30-point margin, they will again have to try and contain the Pac-10 conference’s highest-scoring team.
Oregon (12-10, 3-8) is averaging a conference-best 80.9 points per game and boasts a legitimate one-two punch in their redshirt junior guard Nia Jackson and junior forward Amanda Johnson, who are first and second in the conference in scoring, respectively.
Knowing that the Ducks are the kind of team that can spread the floor, the Bruins have been preparing for this week with a cool demeanor.
“We can’t suck into the paint when there’s penetration for a kick out. We can’t run to the paint because (the Ducks’) trail (player) can also shoot the three,” Caldwell said. “We’re very aware of how they can spread you out, but we have to be committed to challenging the basketball and then filtering off from there.”
UCLA stifled Oregon in the first half of the two teams’ last meeting in Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 15, holding Oregon to just 18 points in an 87-57 win.
The Bruins also limited Jackson and held her to a season-low seven points.
Currently on the mend after a knee injury that sidelined her for her team’s last game, Jackson is listed as day-to-day but should be on the court today.
“I know (Jackson) is a really explosive guard ““ very fast,” senior guard Darxia Morris said. “We just know we have to keep her in front of us. … I’m going to be prepared for it.”
The Bruins might also want to be more patient on the offensive side of the ball.
The extra pass has been somewhat of a nuisance lately, sometimes causing more problems than solutions.
In Sunday’s game against USC, the Bruins turned the ball over 17 times, most of them stemming from misguided passes.
The Bruins will have to solve the turnover problem quickly if they hope to defeat the Ducks, who are second in the Pac-10 in steals, averaging 12.5 per game.
“We just have to stay calm and collected and play the game the way we know how to play it,” junior forward Jasmine Dixon said. “If we can get a good shot off with one pass, then so be it. We’ll eliminate all the extra (ones).”