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UCLA ruins Cal's run, advance to Pac-12 Title game

Jordin Canada and Monique Billings took the reigns, combining for 48 points as they led UCLA to an OT victory over Cal to advance to the Championship game.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle, WA -- Cal got an edge over UCLA early in the game as they forced back-to-back turnovers on UCLA, holding the Bruins on defense as UCLA failed to score. The Bears went on a fast 8-0 run, which resulted in some seriously built-up frustration.

Jordin Canada was getting mouthy in attempts to intimidate on defense, and with multiple fouls on UCLA, coach Cori Close got HEATED as she screamed at the refs in disagreement with calls being made on the floor.

The Bruins fell to a large 14-point deficit, however, showed some resilience as they closed out the quarter going three for three. With a long jumper by Canada, the Bruins closed it to nine going into the second.

The Bruins were able to maintain this slightly steady rhythm going into the second; however, Cal was unable to hold their own. UCLA was showing aggression, forcing the turnovers and drawing fouls to keep the ball in their possession. Cal really fell short offensively, not making a single basket in four minutes while UCLA played some catch-up.

It was very clear that they were looking a bit tired out on the floor. This could probably explain why they went from scoring 22 in the first quarter to 10 in the second. Six of the 10 came from Pac-12 Freshman of the Year alone, as Kristin Anigwe desperately needed more effort from her teammates.

Monique Billings started off the third RED hot landing not one, not two, but THREE consecutive jumpers. Canada followed up with a layup, which closed the gap to three points. It was pretty clear that the two had an agenda, as they combined for 76% of the team’s points.

Similar numbers were being reflected in Cal’s distribution of scoring power, however for this team, only one player was doing the job. And UCLA sure did take advantage of that, as they worked to foul Anigwe out. Going into the fourth, Anigwe was benched with four personal fouls, as UCLA was down by only one point.

Billings continued to dominate and put the Bruins over the edge to finally get their first lead of the night. However with Anigwe back in the game and Range getting buckets, the Bruins stayed right behind, even inching back ahead as the lead changed five times.

The intensity level reached extremely high once Anigwe grabbed a jumper with only one minute left to put the Bears ahead. The Bruins worked to get a steal but fell short with a foul, putting Asha Thomas at the line. The Bruins were down by three with the game coming to a close, needing some sort of miracle.

And with eight seconds remaining, Korver made a MASSIVE three to tie the game. She was fouled by Range, yet wasn't able to seal the game at the free-throw line. Then it was time for OT.

UCLA was on a high, and that didn’t fade going into overtime. They looked so in tune, and ready to end this game as they dominated the extra five minutes of play. And thanks to the work of Lajahna  Drummer and Canada, the Bruins got ahead by four quickly.

Cal tried to grab some extra time with fouls but was too rushed on the other end of the floor. With a big comeback by UCLA, the Bruins came out on top defeating Cal and advancing to the championship game, 73-67.

Canada led UCLA with 26 points, 6 assists, followed by Billings with 22 points, nine rebounds.

Anigwe was the top performer for Cal with a double-double 26 points, 15 rebounds, followed by Range ending the night with 17 points, nine rebounds.