UCLA women's basketball Coach Billie Moore observed after her team's Friday night win over Northern Arizona that the Bruins had lacked intensity in the first half.
Showing, at the very least, remarkable consistency, UCLA did the same thing Saturday night against UC Santa Barbara. The fact that they won, 58-38, and took the championship of the UCLA-MacGregor Tournament before 824 fans at Pauley Pavilion, seemed beside the point to Moore.
"Well, it held over from last night," she joked. "Obviously, it (the first-half collapse) is a problem for us. We have been on the road and out of school; that means we are out of shape. We can improve on that. I can assure you, we won't be out of shape for our next game."
The UCLA players within earshot of that announcement groaned. It looks like another week of nonstop running for the Bruins.
They could use the practice. UCLA's play can only be described as rusty. The lack of practice showed in several areas Saturday night. UCLA shot only 34% from the floor and committed 20 fouls.
"About 90% of our shots were short. That's what happens when fatigue sets in," Moore said.
The Bruins' second-half resurgence was epitomized by Anne Dean. She scored only 6 points in the first half but had 11 in the second to lead all scorers with 17.
Dean, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, did not shoot particularly well (8 of 19) but had a good game defensively.
UCLA (8-7) led throughout the first half on the scoreboard but not in turnovers, although it was close. UC Santa Barbara (5-9) had 11 turnovers in the first half to UCLA's 10.
Most of the turnovers were not the result of UC Santa Barbara's pressure defense or UCLA's press, they were a function of sloppy play.
A case in point is Dean. The normally steady senior (the only senior on the Bruin team) committed four turnovers, leading both teams in that category.
With the demise of Dean as a scoring threat and no one able to pick up the slack, the Bruins totaled only 27 first-half points.
Had it not been for the Gauchos' ability to pass inside to their 6-4 center, Kira Anthofer, they wouldn't have broken out of the teens in first-half scoring. UC Santa Barbara's Dana Panfili, who had 16 points Friday night against New Mexico, didn't take a shot in the first half.
In the consolation game, Northern Arizona (9-6) overcame horrendous first-half shooting (4-33) for a 41-37 victory over New Mexico (1-10).
Named to the all-tournament team were Winifred Foster, New Mexico; Julie Hanks, Northern Arizona; Kira Anthofer, UC Santa Barbara; Dora Dome, UCLA, and Kristi Moore, UCLA.