The UCLA women's basketball team simply ran out of steam.
It had been exactly a month since the Bruins' 26-point loss at Stanford. After the first half Sunday afternoon, redemption seemed like a realistic possibility. Instead, No. 9 UCLA (22-3, 12-2 Pac-10) had to settle for a moral boost, cutting Stanford's margin of victory by 12 points in a 67-53 loss at Pauley Pavilion.
Two of the Bruins' three losses this season have come to No. 3 Stanford (24-2, 15-0). Perhaps the third time will be the charm -- UCLA and Stanford are expected to meet again in the final round of next month's Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center.
Stanford proved to be too big inside, even without top forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who sat out with an ankle injury. The Bruins couldn't contain younger sister Chiney Ogwumike, who had 18 points and 15 rebounds to help the Cardinal pull away from a 28-28 tie at the break.
Despite the loss, UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell will surely look at the positives. The Bruins might have narrowed the gap a bit. The battle of the boards went 44-27 in favor of Stanford last month, but UCLA cut that to 35-32 on Sunday. The Bruins also took care of the ball, improving on turnovers from 27 last time to 13 Sunday.
Senior guard Darxia Morris led UCLA with 14 points, but only three of those came in the second half.
"They're real tough," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said on a postgame television interview. "They're going to do real well in the NCAA tournament."