Culver City Observer -

UCLA Women Excel At Tournament Time


The UCLA women’s basketball team is moving in the right direction at the right time. They have won 11 out of their last 13 games, went undefeated at home and they are the No. 3 seeded team in the Women’s Pac-12 Tournament that started yesterday in Seattle.

The lady Bruins will play the winner of the Oregon versus Arizona game at 2 p.m. on Friday. If the Bruins win they will probably face No. 2 seeded Arizona State on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the semi-finals. If they win their semi-final game they will play for the championship on Sunday at 6 p.m.

The Bruins go into the conference tournament with an overall record of 22-7 and they finished third in the conference at 14-4. Oregon State won the Pac-12 Conference with a record of 25-4 and 16-2 while Arizona State came in second at 25-5 and 16-2.

Last Sunday the nationally ranked No. 14 Bruins showed why they are one of the best teams in the country when they beat No. 9 Arizona State 74-61 on senior day on the UCLA campus inside Pauley Pavilion. UCLA was led by the play of guards Nirra Fields and Jordin Canada and forward Monique Billings.

“I am really proud of this team on what they have accomplished this season,” said UCLA head coach Cori Close after the victory over Arizona State. “We are undefeated at home and our habits have been outstanding this season.”

Close is also very excited about the play of several players including the backcourt combination of Canada and Fields who combined for 46 of the Bruins 71 points.

“You can’t find a better backcourt in the country. They play both ends of the floor and they can do a multitude of things on the court,” she said.

Billings, who made all six of her field goal attempts and was 2-2 at the throw line, also grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with her 14 points against Arizona State.

“Billings plays like a pro,” said Close. “She is becoming so confident and her teammates have a lot of confidence in her. She is playing really, really hard and she is running the court really well. She is so athletic and she can do things off the dribble and off passes. You can’t find a post player in the country that has improved more than Monique.”

Senior guard Fields was happy to get a win on senior day. “I wanted to do it for the team,” said Fields. “We were playing a great team so I wanted to play well. It was a great win for us and my brother was watching me play for the first time. That was special.”

Now that the post season has started Close thinks her Bruins are ready for the challenge. “We are now in the post season. We have beaten every team in the Pac-12 conference so that really helps us going into the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.

“Winning games gives us a chance to host a first round NCAA tournament game. It kind of takes the pressure off of us.”


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