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Billings’ relentless pursuit on glass lifts No. 9 UCLA over USC

Monique Billings has been a rebounding machine all season for No. 9 UCLA. Friday night as the Bruins battled its rival USC, Billings owned the glass as she snatched down 16 rebounds to bring home UCLA’s seventh-straight victory.

Déjà Mattox/Swish Appeal

By Deja Mattox

Los Angeles, CA — The No. 9 UCLA Bruins wasted no time on Friday proving who was the more dominant team in Los Angeles.

In the first of back-to-back crosstown games, the Bruins (18-4, 9-2 Pac-12) used a 10-0 start to throttle the USC Trojans (15-7, 5-6 Pac-12) 59-46 at the Pauley Pavilion.

The athleticism from both teams was tremendous. USC showed heart and UCLA showed charisma throughout the game. From the trash talking on the court, to the intense diving plays, both teams tried their best to pull it through.

UCLA guard Jordin Canada made it no secret that this game was not just a regular matchup, considering their history.

“We knew this was a very emotional game for both teams," Canada said.

In almost every quarter, the Bruins managed to start off hot, going on runs of 10-0, 7-0, and 4-0. And while the Trojans managed to outscore the Bruins in the second half, those runs were too much to overcome.

USC head coach Mark Trakh had very little to say in regards to the 13-point defeat.

“We could have been blown out," Trakh said, while also acknowledging that the Bruin defense was on lockdown.

In her post-game interview, USC guard Minyon Moore simply stated, “I just didn’t think we took good shots.” The stat sheet definitely agreed with her assessment.

The Trojans were 4-of-24 from three-point range, and overall shot a season-low 28.3 percent (15-of-53) from the field. The Bruins, in comparison, shot 8-of-18 from three, and 20-of-56 overall.

The biggest threat to USC was UCLA’s forward Monique Billings, and she delivered on that threat Friday night. She finished the game with 14 points and 16 rebounds, going 5-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Canada stepped up and hit 3-for-3 from behind the arc, leading all scorers with 16 points.

The Trojan’s Kristen Simon registered her 26th career double-double, as she finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Her teammate Moore contributed 10 points and four assists in the loss.

For one of the greatest rivalry games in the history of sports, there is more to come on Feb. 5th when these two are back on the court against one another to claim bragging rights as the best college team in Los Angeles.

LIVE thoughts following #9 UCLA's win over rival USC

Posted by Swish Appeal on Friday, February 2, 2018