Updated at: 02/17/2013 6:08 PM
(AP) LOS ANGELES - Cori Close knows that her 15th-ranked UCLA women’s basketball team is not in Stanford’s class yet. The Bruins are getting closer, and that is good enough for her for now.
UCLA stayed close with the No. 4 Cardinal for most of the game, but ultimately fell 68-57 on Sunday.
Stanford (24-2, 13-1 Pac-12), the 12-time defending conference champion, has won its last 15 matchups against the Bruins (19-6, 10-4).
"I respect Stanford, I love the bar that they set that we are trying to rise up to," Close said. "But I’m also really proud of our team and the way we competed. Our team left it out on the floor and for that I will always respect them for that.
"I told them after the game `How many possessions away are we? We’re only five possessions away right now and we can keep growing to close that gap."
Like just about everyone else this year, UCLA couldn’t stop Stanford junior forward Chiney Ogwumike. She scored 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and four blocks.
"Overall I think we did a pretty job on her," UCLA senior forward Alyssia Brewer said. "I know she had 26 points but all of her shots were tough shots. I gotta give her credit for being able to make those shots and she does come prepared."
Joslyn Tinkle added 10 points and nine rebounds and Mikaela Ruef had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinal, which is 15-0 on the road this season.
Atonye Nyingifa led UCLA (19-6, 10-4) with 12 points and five rebounds and Brewer and Markel Walker both scored 10 points.
UCLA led for only the first 1 minute, 24 seconds of the game, but trailed by just five at halftime and with 15 minutes remaining.
But the Cardinal then pulled away with a 16-5 run, highlighted by Bonnie Samuelson’s 3-pointer that gave the Cardinal their first double-digit lead of the game at 43-32. Stanford led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
"We just got out in transition," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I think our team is excited about running and they were able to get out and make some easier baskets where it wasn’t all just half court, wrestling baskets."
The Bruins held the Cardinal to just 39.7 percent shooting from the floor and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc.
However, UCLA was outrebounded 38-31 and turned the ball over 21 times. Even though they shot above their season average percentage wise, the Bruins still were held 13 points under their season average.
"I thought our team played very good defense," Close said. "I thought we forced the kind of first shots we wanted, but Stanford was relentless on the glass and I thought that really was the difference in the game. Other than a few turnovers that allowed them to get a few easy baskets in transition, I thought rebounding was the difference in the game."
UCLA freshman Kari Korver left the game and was taken to the hospital after suffering a bloody facial laceration after colliding with Ogwumike in the second half. Close said that Korver will have to get multiple stitches and did not know how long she would be out.
UCLA’s only Pac-12 losses this year have come against the Cardinal and No.6 California. The Bruins are in third place behind those two teams in the conference standings, and will face crosstown rival USC on Tuesday.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)