No. 14 UCLA beats No. 5 California 70-58 in Pac-12
SEATTLE (AP) — Despite earning some impressive wins during the regular season, UCLA could not solve the elite of the Pac-12.
At least until Saturday night when the No. 14 Bruins took down fifth-ranked California in stunning fashion.
Markel Walker matched her season high with 23 points, Jasmine Dixon added 15 points and 12 rebounds, and UCLA advanced to its fourth Pac-12 tournament title game with a dominant 70-58 win.
"This win means a lot to us because they are such a formidable opponent and we've respected them all year," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "... But I'm proud of our basketball team."
The Bruins will seek their second Pac-12 crown in Sunday night's final against No. 4 Stanford, which beat No. 18 Colorado, 61-47. UCLA won its only Pac-12 tournament title in 2006 when it pulled off upsets of Arizona State and Stanford to win the title. This will be the Bruins' third appearance in the title game in the last four years.
UCLA was efficient offensively and California could not solve the Bruins' zone defense. California (28-3) shot just 29 percent and saw its 16-game win streak come to an end.
The loss also ruined a possible third showdown between California and Bay Area rival Stanford in the conference title game. Instead it'll be the Bruins playing for the title — and deservedly so.
UCLA avenged two regular-season losses to Cal, including a 28-point loss at home in mid-February. UCLA has now won six straight since getting swept by the Bay Area schools. Walker made 10 of 13 shots and grabbed seven rebounds. Alyssia Brewer added 13 points and Atonye Nyingifa scored 11 for the Bruins.
UCLA played a nearly flawless first half, leading by as many as 22. The Bruins shot 55 percent, were perfect at the free throw line and had assists on 10 of their 15 field goals. Walker had 13 in the first half and came up with two of UCLA's seven steals. The Bruins outscored Cal 22-6 in the paint in the first half and 42-22 for the game.
That was the game plan UCLA tried to use against California in the first meeting back in January when the Bears pulled out a 70-65 win at home. That game plan was out of the picture when the teams played in Los Angeles about a month ago when the Bears used their transition offense to play with a lead.
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