One late run in the first half basically decided the outcome of the CSUN women’s basketball matchup with the UCLA Bruins Wednesday night.
With CSUN down 29-27 late in the first half, the Bruins ended the half on fire, ripping off a 12-0 run in the final 2:20 and making it stick the entire second half, as the Bruins spoiled the Matadors home opener with an 81-69 win at the Matadome.
Junior guard Whitney Ligon led the Matadors with 16 points, followed by junior guard Ashley Blake with 11 points. Junior guard Tonicia Tademy and senior center Katie Holloway had nine points each, with Holloway also grabbing 12 rebounds.
UCLA had five players in double figures, led by senior forward Lindsey Pluimer’s 16 points. Guard Doreena Campbell scored 14 points, Nina Earl had 13, guard Darxia Morris had 12 and guard Erica Tukiainen scored ten points. Pluimer and Tukiainen both pulled down nine rebounds.
“We played well,” Ligon said. “You never want to take a loss, but we’re stepping in the right direction.”
The first half started out close, with UCLA holding an early 7-5 lead. Ligon nailed a three to put CSUN ahead, junior center Crystal Hahs buried a jumper and a pair of Ligon free throws gave the Matadors a 12-7 lead. CSUN then scored five of the next seven points to lead 19-11 at 11:31. However, UCLA took control from that point on, going on an 18-4 run to lead 29-23. Free-throws by Ligon and junior guard Ashley Blake cut the lead to two, but CSUN couldn’t recover from UCLA’s earlier run which gave the Bruins a 41-27 lead heading into the locker room.
“That was the game right there,” Holloway said.
The Matadors tried to stay with the Bruins in the second half, but while CSUN was able to keep the game from completely getting out of control, it couldn’t mount any serious threats against the Bruins, as UCLA kept its lead at double digits for all but 50 seconds in the second half and led by as many as 16 points.
UCLA took control of the game by outscoring CSUN 26-4 on fast break points and 38-14 on points in the paint.
Although a loss is a loss, after losing by a combined 61 points in its first two games, head coach Staci Schulz was pleased with the effort put forth by the team on Wednesday night.
“We took a big step,” Schulz said. “We blended well and everyone did good things out there.”
The Matadors looked to pick up its first win of the 2007-2008 campaign when it hosted the Rice University Owls on Friday.