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No. 10 Texas outrebounds UCLA, finds offense rhythm behind freshman guard McCarty in 75-65 win

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LOS ANGELES — The No. 10 Texas women's basketball team was wary of a letdown Sunday after a big win at Stanford earlier in the week.

A career-best showing from a freshman and a dominant rebounding performance ensured that wouldn't happen.

Freshman guard Brooke McCarty scored 20 points off the bench and the Longhorns dominated the boards to roll to a 75-65 win over UCLA.

"I'm really proud of our team," Texas coach Karen Aston said. "We didn't know what to expect when we went on this road swing, but what we take out of it is we're a very balanced team, which I'm excited about."

McCarty made 5 of 9 3-pointers to pace Texas' offense, and set highs in points, 3-pointers and field goals (7) in her young career.

"Coach just told me when I'm open shoot the ball," McCarty said. "At first I wasn't but then she got on to me so I started shooting and got more comfortable as the game went on."

Ariel Atkins added 14 points for the Longhorns, Kelsey Lang had 12 points and six rebounds and Nneka Enemkpali had 10 points and 12 rebounds for her 22nd career double-double.

The Longhorns (3-0) outrebounded the Bruins 50-34, including 20 offensive boards that led to 20 second-chance points.

"We were forcing the kind of shots we wanted (on defense) but we just couldn't come up with the possession," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "It wasn't a height issue or an athleticism issue. It was mental toughness."

For UCLA (0-3), Nirra Fields had 19 points and eight rebounds and Kari Korver added 12 points. The Bruins had a higher shooting percentage and more blocks and assists than Texas, but couldn't overcome the rebounding deficit.

Texas clung to a slim 31-30 lead near the end of an up-tempo first half that featured three lead changes, but McCarty hit two 3-pointers in the final 56 seconds to give the Longhorns some breathing room and send them into halftime up 37-32.

Texas pulled away at the start of the second half when Atkins hit back-to-back field goals to spark a 9-2 run. UCLA crawled back within seven at 48-41, but McCarty responded with five points during a 7-0 run to stretch Texas' lead back out to double figures.

PHOTO: UCLA center Luiana Livulo (13) pulls down a loose ball in front of Texas guard Brianna Taylor, top right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Christine Cotter)
UCLA center Luiana Livulo (13) pulls down a loose ball in front of Texas guard Brianna Taylor, top right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Christine Cotter)

The Bruins had one more run in them, as Fields made consecutive 3-pointers to cut the Longhorns' lead to 68-63 with 3:25 remaining, but Texas didn't allow another field goal.

"We just couldn't get the rebounds," Korver said. "I don't know if we weren't focused on that today or what, but we need to fix it and get back to making that our primary focus."


PIVOTAL MOMENT

Up 68-63 late in the fourth, Texas pulled down three offensive rebounds on one possession to stifle UCLA's comeback hopes and take valuable time off the clock. Reserve Brady Sanders ended the possession with a 3-pointer from the wing and Texas held on from there.

QUOTABLE

"Nneka (Enemkpali) was a warrior down there in the post. A lot of her rebounds weren't positioning, they were just heart and desire and will." — Texas coach Karen Aston

TIP-INS

Texas: The Longhorns had seven steals and scored 22 points off turnovers. ... They are now 5-6 all-time against the Bruins. Their last win over UCLA was Nov. 25, 2003.

UCLA: The Bruins were just 12 of 20 from the free throw line and committed 13 turnovers. ... Sunday was the second of UCLA's five ranked opponents in its first 11 games.

UP NEXT

Texas: The Longhorns host Texas-Pan American on Wednesday.

UCLA: The Bruins host Nebraska on Friday.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: UCLA's Monique Billings (25) drives to the basket as Texas' Brooke McCarty, left, and Kelsey Lang defend in the second half of an NCAA college women's basketball game in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. Texas won 75-65. (AP Photo/Christine Cotter)
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