Billings leads No. 20 UCLA women past California 75-56
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA Coach Cori Close knows success can come down to simple math.
The No. 20 Bruins beat California 75-56 with a team effort that earned them 20 more shots than their opponent Friday night.
"Twenty more shots is a huge advantage," said Close. "`We are a possessions team. We have consistently been getting more shots on goal than our opponents, and that's pretty much turnovers and rebounds."
The Bruins outrebounded California 49-37, forced 20 turnovers while committing 10 and that combination -- including 24 offensive rebounds -- enabled the Bruins to enjoy a 77-57 edge in shots taken in the game.
"UCLA beat us in the categories that we felt were going to be the determining factor in the game," said California Coach Lindsay Gottlieb.
Monique Billings led the way with 14 points and nine rebounds. Nirra Fields and Jordin Canada scored 12 points each and Lajahna Drummer had eight points and 12 rebounds for UCLA (13-5, 5-2 Pac-12), which snapped an eight-game losing streak against California (10-8, 1-6).
"We decided as a team to really talk," Billings said. "When it comes to the Pac-12 tournament we know it's going to be us as a team is going to be better. If we want to get to the next level in the Pac-12 we know that teamwork is going to be the thing."
The key moment for the Bruins came with 4:03 left in the second quarter. They led 27-24, but Close was not happy.
"We were not communicating in transition, and I was pretty fired up," Close said. "We were all running down the floor with no communication so we were late on the rotation."
Out of that time out, UCLA finished the quarter with eight unanswered points and led 35-24 at halftime.
The Bruins added an 11-0 run early in the third quarter, opening a 49-29 lead on Fields' 3-pointer with 6:31 left. The Bears got no closer than 16 points the rest of the way. The Bruins' biggest lead was 73-48 with 5:15 left in the fourth quarter.
Kristine Anigwe scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds despite early foul trouble. Penina Davidson added 13 points for California, which lost its fourth in a row and sixth in its last seven.
"It sucks to be where we are," Gottlieb said. "We want to be good now. We don't want to be everybody's choice for next year."
Anigwe, the Bears' leading scorer, had 25 points and 10 rebounds when the Bears posted a 108-104, double-overtime victory over Bruins in a nonconference game on Dec. 21.
California: Freshman Kristine Anigwe has claimed Pac-12 Freshman of the Week seven of the nine times the distinction has been awarded this season. ... The Bears have opened their Pac-12 schedule with six of their first eight conference games on the road. ... The Bears posted two wins over Top 25 competition during their nonconference schedule, beating No. 8 Louisville 75-71 and then-No. 19 UCLA 108-104 in double overtime.
UCLA: The Bruins came into the game ranked eighth nationally in rebounding and have been ranked in the Top 25 for eight consecutive weeks. The Bruins won 47 of the first 69 meetings between these two schools. Kari Korver's 3-pointer with 7:55 to play extended her streak to 29 games with at least one 3-pointer, a UCLA record.
California visits Southern California on Sunday.
UCLA hosts No. 12 Stanford on Sunday night
- Michael Price
- Kyle Bacon
- In'Fini Robinson
2022-23 Pac-12 Conference Standings