UCLA struggles, downs Washington
Top 25: No. 10 UNC has no trouble at Gardner-Webb
The Associated Press
SEATTLE -- Rebekah Gardner came off the bench to hit a trio of 3-pointers and lead UCLA with 15 points, and the No. 8 Bruins rallied from an eight-point deficit early in the second half to hold off upset-minded Washington 60-48 on Friday.
The Bruins (11-1, 1-0 Pac-10) opened Pac-10 play with an ugly victory that came with very little contribution from leading scorer Darxia Morris, who finished with just four points and sat much of the second half. Morris entered conference play averaging 12 points per game and didn't score until there was 6:40 remaining.
But Gardner made up for Dixon's quiet day, part of the 27 points from the Bruins bench.
Mackenzie Argens led Washington (5-5, 0-1) with a season-high 18 points. The Huskies were trying to pull their first upset of a ranked opponent in nearly three seasons.
UCLA started the week with its highest ranking in the AP Top 25 in 11 years, but then lost 55-52 at home to LSU in its final non-conference game before the start of Pac-10 play, snapping a 10-game win streak.
The hangover from losing to the Tigers seemed to carry into Friday. UCLA was never able to shake the Huskies, who were coming off a 33-point home loss to Georgia Tech.
The Bruins even found themselves behind 36-28 early in the second half before relying on their trapping defense and a Washington team more than willing to make mistakes.
Washington tried taking control with a quick 7-2 spurt to start the second half and took its biggest lead on Kristi Kingma's long 3-pointer. But the Huskies went the next seven without a field goal - and a handful of turnovers mixed in - giving the Bruins a chance to rally. Markel Walker scored six of UCLA's next eight points and the deficit was down to 37-36 with 12 minutes left.
Jasmine Dixon then followed with another basket and UCLA had its first lead since 26-25 late in the first half. Morris' jumper just before the shot clock expired gave UCLA a five-point lead and Gardner's 3-pointer with 4:57 left pushed the lead to six.
Dixon and Walker were among a trio of Bruins to finish with nine points.
Argens made eight of 10 shots and scored 14 in the first half, but was one of three Huskies to foul out in the final five minutes. Kingma added 12 for the Huskies, who were trying for their first upset of a ranked team since beating then No. 9 California on March 2, 2008. Washington shot nearly 63 percent in the first half, but missed seven straight shots during their second-half scoring drought that gave UCLA an opportunity to rally.
Washington finished with a season-high 25 turnovers.
No. 10 North Carolina 83, Gardner-Webb 62 -- Box Score
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. -- Italee Lucas scored 23 of her 29 points in the first half, and No. 10 North Carolina rolled to an 83-62 victory against Gardner-Webb on Friday.
Lucas, a 5-foot-8 senior guard and the team's leading scorer with a 17.9 average, hit five 3-pointers in the first half and went on to finish 10 of 16 from the field, 5 of 6 on 3s.
It was another dominant performance by the Lady Tar Heels (13-0), who pulled out to a 40-18 lead, led 54-32 at halftime and never let Gardner-Webb seriously challenge in the second half.
North Carolina has won by an average margin of 35.5 points this season, second-best in the country. Their closest call has been a 12-point victory over Iowa.
Lucas didn't waste any time getting going. She converted a three-point play just 4 seconds into the game after the Tar Heels won the opening tip, and then she came back on North Carolina's next possession and hit a 3-pointer for a 6-0 lead just 55 seconds into the game.
At one point in the first half, she had outscored Gardner-Webb by herself. Her 3-pointer with 6:04 remaining gave her 19 points for the game and the Tar Heels a 39-18 lead.
The closest Gardner-Webb got in the second half was 60-45.
Chay Shegog had 16 points for North Carolina, while Jessica Breland had 14 points and nine rebounds and Cetera DeGraffenreid had 15 assists.
Monique Hudson had 16 points for Gardner-Webb (8-5), while Jasmine Dale added 11. The Lady Bulldogs' 6-6 center Sandra Vaituke missed the game with an ankle injury. Gardner-Webb had won six of its previous seven games.
North Carolina shot 50.8 percent from the field (31 of 61) and 58.3 percent from 3-point range (7 of 12) but committed 20 turnovers and was outrebounded 43-39.
Gardner-Webb played one other top 10 opponent, falling at Oklahoma 84-75 in late November.