No. 9 UCLA 75, Oregon 48

BY foxsports • February 11, 2011

The last time No. 9 UCLA opened the season like this, Ann Meyers was leading the way.

This version of the Bruins has been marked by balance and depth - two things Oregon had no answer for Thursday night.

Reserve guard Rebekah Gardner had a season-high 18 points and a career-high eight rebounds and UCLA matched its best start in 34 years with a 75-48 win against the Ducks.

Atonye Nyingifa added 12 points and Markel Walker had nine points and 13 rebounds for the Bruins, who improved to 20-2 overall and 10-1 in the Pac-10 Conference, matching the start of the 1976-77 UCLA team.

Four other players scored at least seven points for UCLA and 10 players scored overall.

''When you have a balanced attack, it's easier to be more efficient,'' UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell said.

For the first time in 10 games, Gardner led the Bruins in scoring. The 6-foot-1 junior guard went 7 for 10 from the field to match her points total from the previous four games combined.

''I felt like I've really been underachieving the last few games,'' said Gardner, who averages 7.6 points and 3.3 rebounds.

Amanda Johnson had nine points and seven rebounds to lead the Ducks (12-11, 3-9), who scored their fewest points in 57 games under coach Paul Westhead.

It was the fifth straight loss for Oregon, and seventh in eight games. The only team keeping the Ducks out the Pac-10 cellar is 1-11 Oregon State, who UCLA will face Saturday.

Oregon point guard Nia Jackson, who leads the Pac-10 in scoring (17.0) and assists (5.7), missed her second straight game after she suffered a strained left knee and bruised right knee a week ago against Washington.

Jackson, who hasn't practiced in a week, remains doubtful for Oregon's game against USC on Saturday.

''I'm hopeful Nia will return sooner rather than later,'' said Westhead, who wouldn't offer a timetable on how long his star could be out.

It was a tough night for the Ducks to be without their floor general. UCLA is in the top-12 nationally in steals and turnover margin and they showed why against Oregon.

Trailing 13-9 early in the first half, the Bruins went on a 15-0 run, getting 11 of those points off Oregon turnovers, to take a 24-13 lead with 13:09 to play in the half.

''After that, we held the pedal down the rest of the way,'' Gardner said.

Oregon did cut the Bruins' lead to 32-23 by the 6:06 mark, but UCLA scored the final 12 points of the half to take a 44-23 lead into the break.

''I think we did a terrible job of letting them ahead,'' Caldwell said. ''This team understands we're going to take everyone's best shot and we've got to be able to answer those runs.''

The Bruins' largest lead was 73-44 with 2:29 to play, and Oregon made just one field goal in the final 10 minutes.

Overall, the Ducks shot 25 percent from the field and made just 6 of 29 3-point attempts.

''This is a hard one to comment on,'' Westhead said. ''I thought we were well prepared and had good schemes. But at the end of the night, you have to make baskets.''

The Bruins were especially proficient themselves, making just 39 percent of their shots. However, they outrebounded Oregon 61-20 and had 22 offensive boards that led to 23 points.

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