LOS ANGELES (AP) Once a game is over, the UCLA women’s team focuses on its next opponent. The 13th-ranked Bruins just might want to remember their last one a bit longer.
Monique Billings had 28 points and 11 rebounds, and UCLA used a big second quarter to rout crosstown rival Southern California 74-59 on Wednesday night for its third straight victory and sixth in eight games.
The teams meet again Sunday at Pauley Pavilion.
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”We just need to execute the same game plan and keep punching first,” Billings said.
The Bruins (14-4, 5-2 Pac-12) outscored the Trojans 27-8 in the second behind Billings, who had eight points inside, and led 40-22 at halftime.
”Our team chemistry is really, really good,” Billings said. ”My point guards know the type of passes I like to receive.”
Courtney Jaco led USC (10-8, 1-6) with career highs in points (27) and 3-pointers (seven). She also made all four of her free throws. The Trojans have lost six in a row.
”Once the first two went in I got a lot of confidence off that,” Jaco said. ”The game was going so fast, I was just trying to do anything I could do to help my team.”
Jaco was limited to one 3-pointer in the second after hitting three in the opening quarter. The Trojans were held to 25 percent shooting in the second when the Bruins hit 65 percent and outscored USC 20-2 in the paint.
”I liked the way our team came out early in the game,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. ”We controlled the rebounds, possessions. We asserted ourselves really well in the first half.”
The Bruins forced 20 turnovers and had 15 steals.
”I’ve got to allow my freshmen to mature and grow,” USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. ”I’ve got to be patient.”
The Trojans never made a dent in their double-digit deficit in the third. After Jaco hit her sixth 3-pointer, the Trojans didn’t make another field goal over the final five minutes when they went 10 of 12 from the free throw line.
”We continued to give UCLA second and third looks at the basket,” Cooper-Dyke said. ”We weren’t effectively attacking their defense.”
Jordin Canada added 15 points for the Bruins and was 7 of 7 from the free throw line.
UCLA led by 24 points in the fourth before being outscored 12-1 over the final 3:49.
UCLA: The Bruins have steadied themselves after being swept by the Washington schools on the road last week. They’ve entered a favorable stretch in which they play five of six at Pauley Pavilion.
USC: The Trojans remain in a tailspin and there’s no relief this weekend when they have to visit the Bruins.
UCLA: Canada and Jaco were high school teammates at Windward School in Los Angeles. ”She’s tough. I love her game,” Canada said. … The Bruins improved to 12-1 when they outrebound opponents. … Billings was coming off a career-high 30 points against Oregon in her last game.
USC: The Trojans played without injured leading scorer Kristen Simon, who has missed three straight games. … The Trojans have lost four of the last five and 10 of the last 15 meetings between the rivals.
The teams meet again Sunday. They split their two games last year with each team winning a close one on its home floor.
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