Women of Troy falter on the road at No. 12 UCLA

Junior guard Briana Gilbreath attempted a shot and came up empty.

“She had open looks,” USC coach Michael Cooper said. “She just wasn’t knocking them down. That’s going to happen in this game of basketball.”

And that pretty much summed up the rest of the game as the Women of Troy (10-4, 2-1) came up empty in their attempt to stretch their winning streak to seven games.

The No. 12 UCLA Bruins (13-1, 3-0) won in decisive fashion 61-42, using a stifling defense to limit a USC offense to just 28 percent shooting from the field.

“It’s very disappointing,” said junior guard Ashley Corral. “You always want to come to UCLA and play hard, play tough and try to get a win. They were another road block in our path to success, and today we got stopped.”

UCLA’s Jasmine Dixon finished with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds and ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.

The Women of Troy and the Bruins exchanged baskets in the early going with four lead changes, but the Bruins went on a 18-5 run during the last 15 minutes in the first half that gave them a 26-13 advantage going into halftime.

“I thought our defense kept us in there,” Cooper said. “We held the 12th best team in the country to 26 points in the first half — that’s pretty good. We just weren’t generating any offense.”

A full-court press and a zone defense stifled the Women of Troy on offense as they managed to shoot just 5-for-22 from the field in the first half.

More glaringly though, they committed 10 turnovers and gave up nine offensive rebounds.

The second half wouldn’t prove to be much different as the Bruins opened up with a 8-2 run in the first three minutes, pushing their lead to 36-15.

For much of the rest of the game, the Women of Troy struggled to establish any type of offensive consistency and the Bruins led by as many as 25 points.

“You’re not going to win many games when you shoot just 27 percent, and we’re a better shooting team than that,” Cooper said. “For us to score 13 points in a half … I haven’t seen that all season.”

Besides their shooting woes, USC had difficulty keeping the Bruins off the offensive glass as they gave up a total of 19 offensive rebounds that led to 19 second chance points.

Gilbreath struggled from the field the entire game, misfiring on all 12 attempts. She finished with nine points — all from the free-throw line — and eight rebounds.

Corral led USC with 14 points, with 11 coming in the second half.

The next game for the Women of Troy will be against Oregon at the Galen Center on Thursday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.