Brandon leads No. 6 Cal women past No. 15 UCLA

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2013 at 12:02 am •  Published: February 16, 2013
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Something had to give.

No. 6 California had won nine in a row and had not lost in more than a month. No. 15 UCLA had won six in a row and had not lost a Pac-12 home game all season.

However, it wasn't much of a contest as the Bears built a big early lead and made it stand up, beat the Bruins 79-51 Friday night.

Gennifer Brandon scored 16 points to lead a balanced offense to help California (22-2, 12-1) extend its win streak to 10 straight. Brittany Boyd and Layshia Clarendon had 14 points each and Reshanda Gray added 10.

"We knew this was a big game coming in," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "As a coaching staff you try to prepare them the best you can, and give a good scouting to give them confidence. But what's really special is when they take that message and rise above."

The Bears built a 19-point lead in the first half and led by 18 at the break.

UCLA made an early run in the second half in an effort to cut into Cal's halftime lead. Nirra Fields had a steal and dribbled the length of the court to score and pull the Bruins to 47-36 with 13:57 remaining. But they could get no closer the rest of the way.

Atonye Nyingifa scored 20 points for UCLA (19-5, 10-3), which had not lost being beaten at California on Jan. 20.

Bruins coach Cori Close said the Bears were the more aggressive team — Cal had 15 steals in the game, including 10 by Boyd — and never allowed UCLA to get into its game.

The Bruins also shot just 34 percent (19 for 56) from the field.

"It sends a message to everybody," Boyd said before adding that she and her teammates are not looking past their next game Sunday against Southern California. "I would say it sends a message to USC. We came to LA to play."

Cal hasn't lost since a defeat to No. 4 Stanford on Jan. 8.

"We want to become part of the nation's elite," Gottlieb said. "We want to make a name for ourselves. But you do that by taking one small step at a time and taking care of the business in front of you. But those increments, I hope, are saying we're for real on the national level."

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