Women’s basketball wins 20th straight home game

Monique Billings starred in the UCLA women’s basketball team’s 87-74 win over Colorado on Sunday, scoring a career-high 27 points with 18 rebounds.

Billings notched her eighth double-double of the season as UCLA (11-2, 2-0 Pac-12) extended its home winning streak to 20 games, the sixth-longest such streak in the country.

“She’s just one of the best post players in the country, and she’s hard to guard one-on-one,” Colorado head coach JR Payne told reporters of Billings. “I don’t know anyone that could guard her one-on-one. We certainly didn’t try to.”

Women’s basketball hands Utah first loss in conference opener

The UCLA women’s basketball start started its Pac-12 season Friday by ending Utah’s undefeated season, knocking off the Utes 67-56 at Pauley Pavilion.

Jordin Canada led the No. 10 Bruins (10-2) with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting and seven assists. Monique Billings had 10 points and 13 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.

The Bruins led by as many as 24 late in the second half before emptying the bench, which allowed the Utes to close the game on a 10-0 run.

Women’s basketball preparing for competitive Pac-12

The UCLA women’s basketball team is one of seven Pac-12 teams ranked in the AP top 25 this week after the polls came out Monday morning.

The No. 10 Bruins (9-2) start their Pac-12 schedule Friday against Utah at Pauley Pavilion (7 p.m.). Both of UCLA’s losses have come to top-10 teams (No. 3 Baylor and No. 6 South Carolina).

Pac-12 coaches picked the Bruins as the favorite to win the conference this season. Junior guard Jordin Canada leads UCLA in scoring with 17.6 points, which is fourth in the Pac-12. Junior forward Monique Billings is sixth in the conference in scoring (17.0 points) and third in rebounding (10.2 rebounds).

No. 9 Washington (12-1) leads the Pac-12 in the AP Poll, with Stanford (13), Arizona State (18) and Colorado (20) also checking in inside the top 20. No. 21 California and No. 22 Oregon State also cracked the rankings this week.

In the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, UCLA is ranked ninth, which leads all Pac-12 teams, followed by No. 10 Stanford and No. 11 Washington. Oregon State (15), Arizona State (21) and Cal (24) also appeared in the coaches’ poll.

Women’s basketball drops top-10 matchup with South Carolina

A slow start to the second half doomed the No. 9 UCLA women’s basketball team to a 66-57 loss to South Carolina on Sunday.

The No. 6 Gamecocks started the second half with a 17-3 run, breaking the game open after the teams played to a 26-26 tie at halftime.

Junior forward Monique Billings pulled down a career-high 22 rebounds for the Bruins (8-2) and completed her double-double with 12 points. Senior guard Jordin Canada led UCLA with 15 points on just 6-for-20 shooting. UCLA shot an inefficient 28.2 percent from the floor.

Both of UCLA’s losses have been to top-10 teams. Sunday’s loss was the first for the Bruins since an 84-70 loss to then-No. 2 Baylor on Nov. 14.

UCLA has one more game until Pac-12 play starts, finishing the nonconference slate with North Carolina A&T on Tuesday in Columbia, S.C., before facing Utah on Dec. 30 at Pauley Pavilion.

UCLA weekend recap: Men’s, women’s basketball rise in polls

UCLA men’s basketball notched a signature win over then-No. 1 Kentucky and rose nine spots to No. 2 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches’ Polls. The Bruins are ranked in the top 2 for the first time since Nov. 26, 2007.

In other news around UCLA athletics:

  • Women’s basketball continued its home winning streak with a 72-49 win over Hawai’i on Sunday. The Bruins (6-1) have won 17th in a row at Pauley Pavilion and moved up one spot to No. 9 in the AP Poll on Monday.
  • Women’s volleyball advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 first-round win over Murray State (21-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-9) and a 3-0 sweep over Baylor (25-21, 25-20, 25-20). The 10th-seeded Bruins face No. 7 North Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Friday.
  • Men’s water polo lost in the NCAA semifinals, falling 9-8 to Cal in overtime. It was UCLA’s third loss in the final four games of the season after the Bruins set an NCAA record with 57 straight wins. Cal beat No. 1 USC in in overtime for the national championship.