Thursday, December 21, 2017

UCLA passes last non-conference test with flying colors over Fordham

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

BRONX, NY -- UCLA is coming to Rose Hill to play Fordham.

Just the mention brought a response from those casual to devoted followers of the college game, UCLA conjuring up thoughts of John Wooden's championship years and a program rich in history and tradition. This time, a women's matchup was on tap, with the Bruins coming to town ranked 11th in the country to face a Fordham team ready for the challenge.

UCLA dominated, posting a 67-30 victory in a game that saw Fordham score just 12 first half points and finish the first 20 minutes with more turnovers (eight) than field goals (six) as UCLA pounded the boards to a 51-22 rebounding advantage. In the end, the grade may not have been acceptable, yet there was learning as part of the equation.

Fordham faced a difficult non-conference test. In the process, they found out a little more about themselves before conference play commences in less than two weeks. Coach Stephanie Gaitley called it a building block, something to learn from and then move on without commiserating over the severity of the defeat. On the opposite side, UCLA coach Cari Close also learned more about her Bruins as they get ready for Pac-12 action. On this day, she cancelled a team shootaround, having her group prepare in a different manner. It was their own test to see how well their preparation would unfold. The results gave a great indication.

Two teams with good records, UCLA at 9-2 and Fordham at 7-4, each heading to their respective conferences to compete before the new year is celebrated and testing their own limits. In all fairness, the grades should not be decided on this 40-minute outcome in December. Rather, by March, we will have a better indication of how well those lessons were learned.

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