In the UCLA women's locker room before the game, seniors Darxia Morris and Doreena Campbell stood in front of their teammates and presented a scouting report on Louisiana State. The players had watched video and taken scrupulous notes on the team, a duty normally reserved for coaches.
"I'm putting a lot of ownership on them," UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell said. "The more ownership they feel, the more invested they'll be to execute the game plan."
Caldwell's tactic didn't quite pan out, as the Bruins weren't prepared for a team that was practically their mirror image in scrappiness, intensity and speed. LSU pulled off a dramatic 55-53 victory Tuesday night at Pauley Pavilion, ending the Bruins' 10-game win streak.
UCLA (10-1) led, 25-21, at halftime, but entered the second half discombobulated, missing layups and committing foul after foul. At one point, Caldwell pounded one of her five-inch beige high heels into the floor, as she watched Louisiana State (10-4) shoot 18 for 22 from the free-throw line while the Bruins were seven for 13.
UCLA, ranked No. 8 in the nation, found itself trailing by six points with just over three minutes remaining. But the Bruins made a final push, and Christina Nzekwe made a six-foot jump shot with 39 seconds remaining to tie the score at 53-53.
But Taylor Turnbow made a jumper just inside the key with 15 seconds left to give the Tigers the win. Turnbow finished with a career-high 18 points.
Morris led the Bruins with 16 points.