Having traded in their customary blue, white and gold threads for pink and white ones, the Bruins made Friday evening a flashy attire affair.
The game itself, however, was anything but fashionable.
On the night of the annual Pink Zone Game, the No. 9 UCLA women’s basketball team (22-2, 12-1 Pac-10) pushed past California (14-11, 6-8) 63-48 at Pauley Pavilion, but not before turning the ball over 27 times, a number rivaled by Cal’s share of 26 turnovers.
With the Bruins hosting the conference-leading Stanford Cardinal on Sunday, the miscues were a particular point of emphasis for coach Nikki Caldwell.
“Defensively, we did some really good things, but offensively, we did not take care of the ball,” Caldwell said. “We didn’t have great ball security, and (the Bears) were getting deflections and steals and forcing us to turn the ball over. We’ve got to do a much better job of making the extra pass and the short pass.”
Despite the Bears’ scrappy and hustle-driven style of play, the Bruins never seemed in danger of losing the game. Junior guard Rebekah Gardner gave UCLA its biggest lead of the contest with a 3-pointer from the right corner to put her team up 55-34 with 8:47 remaining.
Gardner went on to lead all players in scoring with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
Up next for the Bruins is the anticipated rematch against the No. 3 Cardinal. In the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 20, Stanford routed UCLA 64-38.
But with home-court advantage on their side this time around, the Bruins have in their sights an upset against their conference rival.
“I want to make sure that this team understands that right from the start, we have to be ready to go and match (Stanford’s) intensity,” Caldwell said. “I want (my players) to leave everything on the line.”