Seeing former coach Nikki Caldwell standing next to the opposing team’s bench must have been a strange sight for many members of the UCLA women’s basketball team.
Caldwell’s presence may have left the Bruins feeling a little out of their comfort zone, but it was LSU’s dominant size and aggressive play that really shut down UCLA in a 58-41 loss.
The return of junior guard/forward Markel Walker from thumb surgery brought a boost to UCLA’s offense, but that was not enough to counter the mistake-prone Bruins.
The team committed a season-high 24 turnovers Tuesday, including 10 in the first 10 minutes of play, allowing LSU to take the lead and never let it go.
The Tigers also turned the ball over a season-high 29 times but were able to close out the win after holding the Bruins to a lowly 25 percent in the second half and only 31.5 percent overall.
UCLA trimmed the lead down to three points with 1:38 to go in the first half, but LSU went on a 7-0 run to close out the first period of play ahead 30-20.
With eight 6-footers on their roster, the Tigers took advantage of their size against the Bruins, scoring 36 points in the paint compared to UCLA’s 20.
LSU also held UCLA’s two leading scorers, redshirt junior forward Atonye Nyingifa and senior guard Rebekah Gardner, to less than 10 points each. Both average 16.6 points per game. Walker led the team in points scored with 11.
The Bruins return to action on Collin Court this Saturday at 2 p.m. They face a tough matchup against No. 6 Tennessee.