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No. 10 UCLA beats Southern California 74-67

Jasmine Dixon and Darxia Morris had taken turns scoring 20-plus points in three previous games for No. 10 UCLA. Against Southern California, they teamed up to each surpass the mark.

Morris scored a career-high 24 points, Dixon added 23 and the Bruins pulled away in the closing minutes to win 74-67 Sunday and earn a fourth consecutive victory over their crosstown rivals.

"Dixon is basically being the player we knew she was going to be," UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell said. "She is able to play away from the basket and does a great job on the boards for us. She's also stepped up her leadership role."

Dixon's points and her 14 rebounds were season highs, Antonye Nyingifa added 13 and Doreen Campbell 11 for the Bruins (19-2, 9-1 Pac-10), who won their fourth straight. UCLA continued its best start since the 1976-77 squad opened 20-2.

It was the first time this season the Bruins had two players score 20 or more in the same game. Dixon did it for the second straight game.

"We did a good job sticking together even though we had mistakes," Morris said.

Jackie Gemelos scored 16 points, and Cassie Harberts and Ashley Corral had 13 each for the Trojans (13-8, 5-5), who have dropped four of five and lost for just the second time at home this season. Briana Gilbreath shot 3 of 12, making her 3 of 24 in both games against UCLA.

"We executed our game plan to perfection, but when you go up against a top-10 team, it's the little things that count," USC coach Michael Cooper said. "If nothing else, we made them shake a little bit."

The Bruins won 61-42 with a big defensive effort against the Trojans last month at Pauley Pavilion.

This one was much closer.

UCLA never owned a double-digit lead. The Bruins were up by nine midway through the second half only to see the Trojans twice cut it to two on 3-pointers by Stefanie Gilbreath and Corral. Gilbreath's first basket came while playing in her first game since Dec. 5 after being out because of a foot injury.

"We did very well breaking their traps," Corral said. "We did our defensive schemes very well, but they were hitting their shots."

After Corral's basket, the Bruins outscored the Trojans 10-7 over the final 3:18 to put the game away.

"We had to not let their run get to us," Dixon said. "Whatever they did, we had to respond."

Behind Dixon, UCLA dominated the boards, 37-25, and enjoyed a clear advantage in fan support among the 2,812 in attendance who got in free.

"It was great for our team to see that much blue, especially with it being Super Bowl Sunday and a nice day out here," Caldwell said.

Dixon is so focused on piling up wins before the NCAA tournament that she wasn't caught up in beating USC again.

"This is just another game," she said.

UCLA missed its first four shots to open the game, which was tied three times in the first half. Leading by one, the Bruins closed the half on a 10-7 run to lead 37-33 at the break. Dixon briefly left the game holding her right shoulder, but she quickly returned and scored the Bruins' final basket of the half.

"I'm good. It's a little sore," she said, her shoulder wrapped in ice. "I went up for a rebound and it got yanked back a little bit."