Palo Alto, CA – 18 years. That’s how long it’s been since the No. 13 UCLA Bruins snagged a victory against the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal at Maples Pavilion. Tonight, however, was different. UCLA not only defeated Stanford 85-76 on their home court, but they also ended the 18-year curse at Maples and improved to 24-59 in the overall series against their California competitor.
Things were looking up for UCLA at the end of the first period. The Bruins forced and capitalized on five turnovers on their No. 8 foe, held them to a mere 25% shooting from the field, and got ahead on their opponent by as many as 12 points. Jordin Canada and Monique Billings combined to score 15 of UCLA’s 22 points propelling their team to a 22-12 lead going into the second period.
It appeared as if nothing could go wrong for UCLA. Little did the Bruins know, however, Stanford wasn’t going to lie down and let the Bruins continue their hot streak without answering with one of their own. The Cardinal came out scorching in the second and took the court with the momentum necessary to regain the lead.
Stanford was knocking down shots from all over the court and giving the Bruins – whose defense was once solid -- a run for their money. Stanford outshot UCLA 16-2 in the paint and ended the half with 75% shooting from the field, while the Bruins fell from 50% in the first quarter to a mere 29%.
Alanna Smith proved to be a game-altering spark off of the bench for the Cardinal, scoring 10 of Stanford’s impressive 28-second quarter points and contributing to the teams’ overall 20 rebounds, compared to UCLA’s 12.
What fans thought might end as a tied in the first half at 37 all, ended with a clutch triple by Stanford junior Briana Roberson at the 22-second mark to lift the Cardinal 40-37 going into intermission.
UCLA came out looking to redeem their second quarter breakdown and regain the lead in the third period – and that they did. Billings, Canada and Kari Korver, each with six points, combined to score all 18 of the Bruins third-period points. Stanford, on the other hand, experienced poor shooting from the field again (4-of-20) and entered the fourth quarter down by four, 55-51.
It was really anyone’s game with just 10 minutes remaining in what had turned out to be a tight contest, but UCLA made it very clear early in the fourth quarter that it was their game to win.
Nicole Kornet stunned the stat sheet in the fourth stanza and completely showed out on offense scoring all 15 of her points in the final 10 minutes of the game, which turned out to make up half of UCLA’s fourth quarter points.
Despite some good efforts in the last minutes, the Cardinal just couldn’t quite find their way back on top, ending the game with a loss against their in-state opponent.
UCLA continues their four-game trek on the road at Oregon Friday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. P.T., while Stanford takes the court Friday too, at home against Colorado at 8 p.m. P.T.