No. 16 UCLA 66, UC Santa Barbara 52

The UCLA Bruins have a simple goal in mind this season – force

turnovers, and lots of them.

Jasmine Dixon and Markel Walker scored 12 points apiece to lead

a balanced attack and No. 15 UCLA showed its defensive prowess in a

66-52 win over UC Santa Barbara on Sunday.

”That’s our game plan every time,” Dixon said. ”We feed off

turnovers.”

Darxia Morris and Atonye Nyingifa each finished with 10 points

for the Bruins (2-0), who employed full-court defensive pressure to

force 23 turnovers. The Bruins got 14 steals, with six players

recording two apiece.

”Each of us was getting hyped on the turnovers we were

making,” Dixon said. ”It’s like a domino effect.”

And the plan worked accordingly against the overmatched Gauchos,

who failed to deal with the Bruins’ intensity on the defensive

end.

”This team is a team that relies heavily on defensive

pressure,” UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell said. ”I thought our

starters did a good job of establishing that defensive

pressure.”

That pressure was evident as UCLA put on the clamps defensively

to open the second half, using an 18-0 run that was capped by

Doreena Campbell’s 3-pointer. The scoreless span lasted over five

minutes and helped the Bruins to a 55-26 advantage.

The Gauchos hit a 3-pointer coming out of the half but managed

just one other basket until Emile Johnson’s layup broke their

drought at the 12:20 mark.

”If you want to beat a Top 25 team, you can’t go scoreless for

five minutes,” Johnson said.

UCLA hung on from there, emptying the bench and playing mostly

reserves the rest of the way to win its home opener.

Johnson led the way with 14 points UCSB (0-2), which fell to

2-12 all-time against UCLA. The Gauchos turned the ball over 14

times in the opening half and managed just 10 assists for the

game.

”I feel like on our end, we were sloppy,” UCSB coach Lindsay

Gottlieb said. ”But UCLA is going to force a lot of teams into

turnovers.”

Unlike their season opener on Friday night when they fell behind

early and trailed at halftime before coming back for a win over San

Diego State, the Bruins played out in front for most of this

one.

UCLA scored eight straight points, including five from Walker,

midway through the first half to go ahead by nine points. They lead

31-21 at halftime.