On a night when the UCLA men's basketball team saw its season end, the women's team continued theirs — and inched ever closer to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bruins crushed Oregon State, 60-44, Friday at the Galen Center in the quarterfinals of the State Farm Pac-10 women's tournament, advancing to Saturday's semifinal round against rival USC.
UCLA's regular season record now stands at 23 wins and seven losses. To guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament, the Bruins would have to win this tournament, but head Coach Nikki Caldwell said they have already done enough.
"This team has really done what they needed to do as far as their overall record, and I hope the committee recognizes that," said Caldwell, who was recently named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
They certainly did what they needed to do against the Beavers, a team they beat by a combined 47 points in two regular-season games: Dominate. The game seemed over after the first half, when the Bruins had huge advantages in points in the paint (22 to two), points off turnovers (23 to four) and assists (13 to four).
But, as per the rules, they played a second half, and UCLA fell asleep for most of those final 20 minutes while the single-game tournament records fell: Most steals by one team (UCLA had 21); most turnovers by one team (Oregon State had 33); and turnovers by both teams (56).
Jasmine Dixon led the Bruins with 14 points and nine rebounds. Julie Futch led Oregon State with 13.
But Caldwell said she was "disappointed" with her team because they didn't play together.
"The team that showed up today, I told them in the locker room, I hope they don't show up tomorrow because I do think the outcome will not be in our favor," Caldwell said.
How does she motivate her team? "I threaten them" she said. "No, really."
That could work, though it wouldn't seem to be needed against crosstown rival USC (tipoff at 5 p.m.). The teams split games in the regular season, with each team protecting home court. Yet the matchup has more fire than usual after USC Coach Michael Cooper directed an expletive at UCLA following his team's win in January.
Cooper ate several servings of humble pie after his team lost, 74-56, in Westwood. The former Laker and his team watched UCLA's win from the mostly empty stands after they defeated Oregon in the game before.
Said UCLA guard Erica Tukiainen: "I think it's going to be really competitive, heated. We beat SC at our place and they beat us over here, so we have some unfinished business."