Skip to main content

Women's hoops falls to Bruins

January 28, 2011

Final Stats |  AP Photo Gallery 



Darxia Morris scored 21 points and Atonye Nyingifa added 16 as No. 11 UCLA beat Arizona State 70-60 on Thursday night.

Morris and Nyingifa combined to score 25 of UCLA's 38 points after halftime. Morris hit seven of 10 shots overall and Nyingifa finished 6 of 8 from the floor.

"It was the flow of the game," Nyingifa said. "We had teammates making the extra pass."

UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell had an easy explanation for the offensive success.

"For the most part, we were more patient offensively," she said.

The Bruins (17-2, 7-1 Pac-10) put on the clamps defensively to limit Arizona State to just 34 percent shooting.

UCLA, which entered fourth in the nation in steals at 14.0 per game, slowed the Sun Devils despite coming up with only seven takeaways, but made up for it by contesting shots.

"I felt like they'd be one of the best defensive teams we've played all year," Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "They do make you rush."

Jasmine Dixon had 10 points and Rebekah Gardner scored nine for the Bruins, who never trailed in beating the Sun Devils for the third straight time.

"This was a decent game," Nyingifa said. "I thought we should have played better, but we'll take a win any day."

Dymond Simon scored 20 points but was the lone player in double figures for Arizona State (12-6, 4-4).

"We're not an experienced team at all and we're not a team that played in many big games," Turner Thorne said. "We make too many mistakes."

It was the Bruins' 11th straight conference home win since a 65-61 loss to Stanford in January 2010.

The Bruins, who are a 62 percent free throw shooting team, made 19 of 26 on Thursday, much to the delight of their coach.

"We knocked free throws, and that's an area that's plagued us," Caldwell said.

Trailing by as many as 21, the Sun Devils forged a comeback bid with a 7-0 spurt that cut the lead to 48-35 on Simon's layup with 9:36 remaining. Morris, however, hit a 3-pointer and a jumper on consecutive possessions to push the advantage to 52-37.

Play was stopped 5 minutes into the second half when Dixon took a shot to the face from Kali Bennett, who was converting a layup. Dixon went to the floor for a brief period and slowly made her way to the bench as referees reviewed the play.

"That was a hard fall," Nyingifa said.

They ruled that the basket stood but called a flagrant foul on Bennett, after which Dixon converted both free throws for a 40-24 lead.

The Bruins gained all the separation they would need early on. Following a 3-pointer by Simon that tied the score, UCLA used a run of 10 straight points that was capped by Dixon's jumper to take a 17-7 lead.

The Sun Devils made just six baskets and shot 25 percent in the first half. They trailed 30-18 at the break.