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Struggle Bus Pulls Into Corvallis

Final Score: UCLA 74 Oregon St. 53

UCLA rolled into Corvallis Thursday, and routed the Oregon St. wommens' hoops team 74-53, before rolling on down the road to Eugene.

The Bruins went wire to wire, building a 20 point lead less than 14 minutes into the game, taking a 43-21 lead to the locker room at halftime, and extended the lead past 30 points less than eight minutes into the second half.

UCLA twice extended the lead to 32 points before coasting home.

The Bruins (19-7, 12-3) maintained control of second place in the Pac-10 race with the win.

"I've often said that we are on the struggle bus, and we are still struggling," Oregon St. coach LaVonda Wagner commented.

Markel Walker led everyone, with 19 points for UCLA, and her front-court running mate Jasmine Dixon added 17 more, as the Bruins' full-court defense pressured Oregon St. into 26 turnovers. Additionally, Guard Darria Morris was in double figures of a different sort, dishing out 10 assists for
the Bruins.

"I thought UCLA played like the team that they are," Wagner observed. "They like to score off their defense, and they did a great job of that tonight. They are very aggressive. They really get after you, and make you pay for every turnover. Their pressure bothered us, and we turned the ball over too many times."

The result was 16 fast break points for the Bruins, and a +11 advantage off turnovers.

The problem was compounded by the Beavers shooting barely over 30% in the first half.

Oregon St. recovered to shoot 55% in the second half, but it was too little, too late, as UCLA shot 55% for the game, and were over 50% in both halves.

Talisa Rhea rebounded from her four point outing at Stanford, with 15 points to lead the Beavers, and both Haiden Palmer and Kirsten Tilleman contributed 11 points to the total.

Additionally, Brittany Kennedy came in less than two minutes into the game, and wound up playing 35 minutes at the point. Kennedy served up seven assists.

"The one thing I can say is that each game we have somebody young that steps up," Wagner added. "I thought Brittany Kennedy did an excellent job for us at the point guard position. She had seven of our 11 assists. We've been struggling at point guard to find a leader and a floor general, and I think she did a very good job tonight."

It's certainly something the Beavers need desperately, and hopefully, the junior will be able to use the remaining three regular season games, and the Pac-10 tournament, to get a handle on the job heading to next year.

No one is in a hurry to throw Wagner or the rest of the team under the struggle bus, but after a couple of seasons of steady improvement, and a 9-2 start to the season, a 15 game losing streak wasn't what anyone was expecting of this season, but backcourt struggles have continued to shackle the Beavers' inside game, and the OSU perimeter defense hasn't held up either.

Well under 700 turned out for the next to last game for the lady Beavers, now 9-17 for the year, and 1-14 in the Pac-10, and alone in last place in the league race heading into the last home game of the season, Saturday at 2 PM, when USC (15-11, 9-6) visit on Senior Day.

The Trojans edged Oregon 87-84 Thursday night, taking the lead with 4.7 seconds left.

Here's hoping Oregon St., who lost 61-34 to USC in their first meeting in Los Angeles, and have lost their last two outings by over 20 points, can find a way to come as close Saturday.