UCLA’s Doreena Campbell came to a boil for two minutes on Tuesday night, just in time to cook the Gauchos in a 61-49 victory for the Bruins at the Thunderdome.
The quick point guard bubbled over to score 8 of her 12 points in a two-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter, giving the Bruins their first double-digit lead at 55-45 and effectively puttin the dagger in the Gauchos with 2:01 remaining.
Before that, UCSB was down on only three points at 46-43 after holding the lead for most of the first half.
“We just needed to get a few more stops and a few more scores and things could have been different,” said Lindsay Gottlieb, whose Gauchos are now 3-6 overall.
UCSB’s defense actually forced enough stops but couldn’t rebound, limiting the Bruins to 33 percent shooting while allowing 24 second chances on offensive rebounds.
“Obviously we didn’t shoot the ball very well, but we did bring our defense and board play,” said second-year UCLA head coach Nikki Caldwell.
Overall, the Gauchos were out-rebounded 46-31.
The Bruins (5-3) also got a boost from the UCLA debut of Rutgers transfer Jasmine Dixon. The physical post player came in and scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds.
“I’m very pleased with her debut as a Bruin and I like what she established for us as far as being another go-to,” said Caldwell, who has already had four different leading scorers in eight games.
UCSB also has had four different leading scorers after Meagan Williams scored a team-high 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Williams also collected six rebounds, five blocks, three steals and two assists.
Williams helped UCSB grab an early 17-8 lead by completing a five-point play of sorts. Emilie Johnson rebounded a long UCLA miss and found Williams open upcourt.
Campbell was whistled for a flagrant foul while trying to stop Williams from getting a layup, giving the Gauchos two free throws plus possession. Williams knocked down both before connecting from beyond the arc on UCSB’s free possession.
“I’m just trying to play my role in the starting group,” Williams said.
The senior forward started, finished and played everywhere in between as she and Johnson played all 40 minutes.
UCLA closed the half on a 19-7 run, scoring six points on easy putbacks.
“It was just execution towards the end and the offensive boards that we gave up in the first half were crucial,” blamed UCSB forward Jordan Franey for the outcome.
Mekia Valentine, coming into the game as the nation’s third-best shot blocker, swatted away six UCLA shot attempts in the first half and finished with seven blocked shots for third time this season.
The total might have been more, but the Gauchos’ center picked up two quick fouls at the start of the second half and was forced to the bench with four. Valentine re-entered the game with 11:32 remaining and recorded one more block but couldn’t be as aggressive as before.
Darxia Morris was UCLA’s second-leading scorer with 17 points and Markel Walker tallied eight points and 10 rebounds. UCLA’s starters scored all but two of the Bruins’ point total.
UCLA returns to Pauley Pavilion for a three-game home stand starting with Texas Tech on Friday. UCSB finishes off its three-game home stand on Sunday with a 2 p.m. game against Pepperdine.