It was Jasmine Dixion. The 5-foot-11 sophomore forward for UCLA, scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 20 rebounds—just three rebounds less than the Ducks recorded as a team—while leading the Bruins to a 91-75 victory over Oregon. It didn't play out the way the Ducks had imagined—even by the midway point in the second half.
"It's unfortunate we lost," Senior Micaela Cocks said. "You know, we fought hard, we just ran out of gas at the end."
The Ducks (16-12, 7-9) led for almost the entire first half behind the red-hot shooting effort from Cocks, who scored 18 points in the first half on 7-for-8 shooting and 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Amanda Johnson also helped the Ducks offense with 11 first half points as Oregon established a 50-46 lead at half.
Oregon started the second half on a 12-2 run in the first two minutes after a pair of steals a pair of threes by Taylor Lilley and Johnson and a Nia Jackson layup. After a run of their own, the Bruins finally took the lead, 69-68 with 8:10 remaining in the game on a layup by Dixion and they never looked back.
"We played pretty good for a good spell and then couldn't hold it," Westhead said. "[We] didn't hold it."
The Ducks were able to cut the Bruins lead to 75-73 after Jackson knocked down two free-throws, but they didn't score again until Cocks hit a jumper with 44 seconds left. Dixion proved to be too much in the paint and too powerful on the offensive boards.
UCLA outscored Oregon 52-20 in the paint and out rebounded Oregon 50-23. Dixion grabbed 12 offensive rebounds alone as she accounted for half of UCLA's 24 offensive rebounds and most of the Bruins' 25 second chance points.
"She's a strong young lady, I'll give her credit," Westhead said. "And they hit the boards real well."
Oregon kept trying to find solutions to slow Dixion down—a 3-2 zone, 2-3 zone, a switching man and a traditional man defense were all used—but nothing worked.
"We ran four different defenses and it didn't look like we had changed anything," Westhead said.
Oregon, which led by 16 with 14:12 to play, scored just seven points in the last eight minutes en route to being outscored 45-25 in the second half.
"It looked like we were spent." Westhead said. "I think our players played as hard as they could and then they just ran out of gas. Unfortunately there was just way too much time left." Westhead said Oregon's missed opportunities and baskets and stalled offense gave UCLA breathing room. "Had we kept being able to score, I don't think it would have resulted like it did."
Cocks was slowed down in the second half, but finished the game with a team-high 24 points and four assists.
"They were just a lot more aggressive and aware of where I was," Cocks said of UCLA's defense in the second half. "They switched out any on-ball [screens], [they] just didn't want to give Taylor or I any open looks on the outside."
Lilley finished the game with 17 points and four assists. Johnson and Jackson chipped in 17 and 13 points respectively.
UCLA (20-7, 13-3) is alone in second place and is off to their best since 1998-99. The Ducks will now go on the road this week to the Washington schools in their final two regular season games of the season. After being swept by USC and UCLA this weekend, Oregon has now lost its last four games.
"It's kind of a reality check now," Westhead said. "We need to regroup, play our very best in Washington and then get ready to go to Pac-10 [Tournament]."
It was definitely not the story-book ending that Cocks, Lilley and Lindsey Saffold had envisioned, but nonetheless it was special.
"It was just a neat atmosphere to be in," Lilley said of the senior-day celebration. "You know there were a lot of fans supporting. You know it was emotional, but we had a game to be played and that's what we did."
Despite the loss, Lilley, Cocks and Saffold's efforts throughout their careers at Oregon were not forgotten by fans, or their first year coach.
"They will be sorely missed," Westhead said.
Women Lose to UCLA
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