After scoring five of the Bruins first six points, UCLA star point guard Jordin Canada went down. Pauley Pavilion fell silent as all eyes turned to Canada who remained sitting on the court until she was helped to the bench and eventually back to the locker room to be examined further.
“I was diving for the ball and I think one of the Stanford players stood on top of me and my head slammed into the floor, so that’s why I have this big knot,” Canada said pointing to a raised red knot on her head.
“I thought we were really calm and poised when Jordin went out of the game and that speaks to the confidence that we have in Monique to anchor us,” UCLA coach Cori Close said.
UCLA had scored 10 unanswered points to start the contest. With Canada down, senior forward Monique Billings took control. Billings led the Bruins to a 22-10 first quarter over the Cardinals.
“She stepped up in such a major way,” Close said of Billings. “This team never ceases to amaze me about how there’s always someone different stepping up all the time and in a very different way.”
Stanford shot 4 for 15 from the field and 1 for 9 from the three point line in the first quarter.
“The first quarter was our worst, but we didn’t give up,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
To start the second quarter Stanford’s Brittany McPhee knocked down a three-pointer. That sparked a 7-0 run for the Cardinals. The Bruins were without a basket for the first five minutes of the second quarter until Billings scored a driving layup. Canada returned to the game sporting a face mask. She would not score for the remainder of the first half, but contributed three assists. UCLA maintained a 10 point lead at halftime, 31-21.
“In the second through the fourth quarters, it’s about adjustments,” said Close.
In the third quarter, the Cardinals started to trap Billings who still found ways to score. Canada scored her first basket since returning to the game in the third quarter, her signature three-point shot. Kennedy Burke was able to beat the third quarter buzzer with a three-pointer to extend the Bruin lead 45-34.
The Bruins did not trail in the game. Despite several efforts to overtake the Bruins, the Cardinals fell short.
“We got ourselves in a whole and we couldn’t get out,” said Vanderveer. “A lot of our statistics were pretty even, but they did a good job the second time around.”
Kiana Williams who led the Cardinals in scoring contributed 14 points and three assists. While Canada lead all scorers with a 21 point game and added five assists.
“I think I need to be a little bit more patient,” Canada remarked humbly. “Six turnovers that’s not really like me, so I think I need to slow down.”
Billings’ 18 points and 8 rebounds contributed to a personal milestone for the senior forward. She became the 14th Pac-12 player to score 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds; the third in UCLA history.
“I’m thankful,” Billings said of her marquee accomplishment. “I just look back at all the games I’ve played since freshman year and it really feels good. I just want to keep going in a positive direction.”
Both Billings (14.6) and Canada (14.8) are averaging 14 points per game on the season. With the win against Stanford, UCLA has won its fourth consecutive game.