LOS ANGELES -- Even though UCLA (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) doesn't feature the biggest frontline, the Bruins showed they can be a force on the inside.
Jasmine Dixon had a season-best 22 points, hitting 11 of 12 shots, to help UCLA beat Arizona 70-60 on Saturday.
"We realize that we score more efficiently in the paint area, so our main focus was to get to the paint," said Dixon, who added nine rebounds. "They were going to either foul us, we were going to make the shot or we were going to get our own rebound.
We just kept doing that because it was working for us."
Atonye Nyingifa collected a career-high 12 rebounds to go with 11 points, while Darxia Morris scored 13 for the Bruins (18-2, 8-1 Pac-10). The triumph helps UCLA match its best start since the 1980-81 season.
UCLA finished with a convincing 48-24 rebounding edge, including 25 on the offensive end. The Bruins took advantage of the additional opportunities with 28 second-chance points.
Their offensive and total rebounding numbers were both season-highs.
"We try to go into every game focusing on rebounds because we are undersized," Dixon said. "We know that every team has post players that are taller than us and can out-jump us, so today we just really capitalized more than ever on rebounding."
Ify Ibekwe had 18 points and Davellyn Whyte had 14 for the Wildcats (13-7, 4-5), who overcame their rebounding deficiencies to stage a late surge that ultimately fell short.
"Offensively, I thought we played pretty well," Arizona coach Niya Butts said. "But I think it's really simple -- the game was lost on the boards."
The Bruins grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in the first half, leading to 17 second-chance points. Nyingifa had as many rebounds as all the Wildcats combined at halftime as the Bruins held a 26-8 rebounding edge.
"We were just getting dominated on the boards," Butts said. "They were more physical than us."
Arizona started the game by hitting six of eight shots to open a 15-9 lead. It would be short-lived as UCLA stormed back with a 25-4 run courtesy of a relentless effort on the boards.
Dixon scored eight points during the stretch, which got started with 12 straight points and closed with a string of 11 straight as the Wildcats mustered just a pair of layups.
Dixon had a putback before a steal led to a Doreena Campbell layup, and Morris made it 34-19 to close the spurt.
"I wish we would have made our first shot, but that didn't always happen," UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell said. "So I'm glad that we were able to come back and get second and third opportunities."
Things continued to go the Bruins' way coming out of the break. After Shanita Arnold opened with a layup for Arizona, UCLA rattled off nine straight points to go ahead 47-26 on a jumper from Morris.
The Wildcats came alive and found themselves within 64-57 with 2:37 remaining on Ibekwe's jumper. But a traveling violation and two missed free throws forced them to intentionally foul.
Four free throws helped the Bruins close out their seventh consecutive win over the Wildcats.
Ibekwe, who entered leading the Pac-10 in rebounding at 9.8 per game, had just one at the half and three for the game.
"We knew she was a key player who rebounds, so we had to double box her and find wherever she was," Morris said. "If we take her out, we just take the whole team out."
The Wildcats have dropped 10 of 11 in the series. They haven't beaten UCLA since a 66-63 win in February 2007.