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UCLA Women Have the Run of the Place in Win

Fastbreak is in high gear again as Bruins roll to 87-71 victory over Charlotte in title game of tournament at Loyola Marymount.

November 27, 2005|Mike Terry | Times Staff Writer

It is still early in the college basketball season, but the UCLA women's team is sending a message to its opponents: Run at your peril.

Those Bruin legs, and some more hard board work, propelled UCLA to an 87-71 victory over Charlotte on Saturday in the championship game of the Loyola Marymount Thanksgiving Classic.

The victory squared UCLA's record at 2-2. But also worth noting: It's the third time in four games the Bruins have scored at least 80 points.

"Our defense had been struggling before, but it was great in this tournament, which allowed us to get comfortable. And we like to run it, and it showed," said UCLA guard Lisa Willis, who had 21 points and was selected the tournament's most valuable player.

Willis was one of four Bruin starters in double figures. Nikki Blue (nine points, six assists) might have made it five, but she hit her head on the floor following a collision with 49er guard Whitney Hoey. She left the game with 1:36 to play.

That was the biggest concern for Coach Kathy Olivier, who otherwise enjoyed watching her team shoot 53.2% (33 for 62), outrebound Charlotte, 40-30, and hold the 49ers to 36.1% shooting (22 for 61). Andrea Davidson led the 49ers with 19 points.

"We knew we're a good offensive team because we have a lot of weapons," Olivier said. "And when we're pushing the ball up the floor we're very effective."

UCLA used that speed to build a 38-30 halftime lead, and widened the margin to 52-34 with nearly four minutes gone in the second half. That forced the 49ers (2-2) to spend the rest of the game using full-court pressure to try to catch up. Charlotte would get as close as 65-61 with 5:42 remaining, but the Bruins went up another gear and outscored the 49ers, 22-10, the rest of the way.

"I'm sure other teams will try and slow us down because [running] is our strength," said forward Amanda Livingston, who had 10 points. "But there are other ways around that."

In the consolation game, 11th-ranked Georgia defeated Loyola Marymount, 89-58.

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