Little by little, day by day, is the way it goes for the UCLA women's basketball team. At times, inch by inch.
After Tuesday night's 76-52 loss to Auburn before a gathering of 726 in Wooden Center, UCLA Coach Billie Moore groped for the positive. It's getting more difficult.
The Bruins (2-4), with a young and inexperienced team, have faced top 10 teams in their last three games. And lost.
"I think we've grown as players. I think we've grown as a team," Moore said of the Bruins' schedule.
As it had against Tennessee Sunday night, UCLA looked impressive early but lost that edge. The letup allowed the Tigers to run off 10 consecutive points in the first half.
"With some teams you can do that, let them get that lead. With Auburn, you can't," Moore said.
Auburn (7-0) moved up a notch to No. 2 in this week's poll.
The lack of an inside game was disastrous for the Bruins. Center Sheri Bouldin had nine points and forward Sandra VanEmbricqs had only two.
"We're still looking to get that balance," Moore said. "We need VanEmbricqs and Bouldin to be more active."
Only Dora Dome on the front line is scoring inside. She had 16 points Tuesday.
Dome has been carrying the offensive load for the Bruins. She scored 35 points Sunday night in the loss to Tennessee.
Luckily for UCLA, the Tigers were tired out from the three-game trip. Along with Cal State Long Beach, Auburn is held as the premier running team in women's basketball. There was not much evidence of that speed Tuesday night.
"We were a little sluggish," Auburn Coach Joe Ciampi said.
The Tigers had a 15-point lead at the half and extended that in the second half.