LOS ANGELES -- A first loss, like a last loss, usually stings the most. That much was evident in Darxia Morris' eyes.
The senior guard missed a potential game-tying jumper as time expired Tuesday night and the UCLA women's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season, 55-53, at the hands of Louisiana State at Pauley Pavilion.
"This loss is hard on us, hard on our coaches," Morris said. "We didn't play our best game, but there's always time for learning. Not everything is going to happen our way."
Morris scored a team-high 16 points, but she and the 2,021 in attendance would have erupted had she made it 18 with an off-balanced jumper with 2.3 seconds remaining.
"It just didn't go in for me," Morris said.
Just seconds earlier, LSU's Taylor Turnbow -- who scored a game-high 18 points -- broke a 53-53 tie with a short jump shot.
UCLA (11-1), ranked No. 9 heading into Tuesday, was off to its best start in two decades. After leading by four at the half, UCLA trailed by as many as six points in the second. But senior Doreena Campbell's eight points sparked a mini comeback. Sophomore Markel Walker added 11.
LSU (10-4), which has won six straight since losing to top-ranked Connecticut by 30 points on Nov. 28, made a killing at the line. The Tigers made 13 of 16 free throws in the second half and 18 of 22 for the game.
Despite the loss, the Bruins look like a team with serious potential. Pac-10 Conference play begins Friday afternoon at Washington (5-4). UCLA was the highest-ranked Pac-10 team in the latest Associated Press poll at No. 8.
"There were many possessions in the second half when we didn't have all five people in sync," UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell said. "That has a tendency to cost us because the way we press and the way that we try to disrupt our opponent, we have to have all five people doing their job in our pressure defense."