NEW YORK — Cori Close didn’t know what to expect from her team. The 11th-ranked UCLA Bruins skipped morning shoot around and traffic caused them to show up about an hour before tip.

It didn’t matter.

UCLA responded with its best defensive effort in 37 years, beating Fordham 67-30 on Wednesday night.

“We chose to commit to defense, energy and rebounding,” Close said.

It was the fewest points the Bruins had allowed since a 96-30 win over UC Irvine in 1980.

“You could feel that on the court,” UCLA forward Monique Billings said of the energy. “It made it fun to get stops and bring high energy on defense.”

UCLA led 15-8 after one quarter and almost were only up five. A shot by G’mrice Davis at the buzzer was originally counted as a basket, but on review was ruled to have come too late.

The Bruins (9-2) then outscored the Rams 22-4 in the second quarter, including the first 10 points. Jordin Canada had five of her 16 points during the spurt.

UCLA led 40-12 at the half and Fordham never could recover.

Bre Cavanaugh led Fordham (7-4) with nine points. She was 2 for 12 from the field. As a team, Fordham shot 20 percent (10 for 51), 2 for 21 from behind the 3-point line.

“Another valuable lesson, they are really good,” Fordham coach Stephanie Gaitley. “One thing to watch them on tape, another thing to see them live. They keep coming at you with interchangeable parts.”

BIG PICTURE

UCLA: The Bruins finished off a Tri-State area trip with two wins. They beat Seton Hall on Sunday.

Fordham: This was the first meeting with UCLA. … The Rams came into the game ninth in the country in allowing the fewest points a game (53.5). … Davis, who is second in the nation in rebounding with 14.0 a game, had just eight.

UP NEXT

UCLA plays at Stanford to open up Pac-12 on Dec. 29.

Fordham hosts Hartford in the Rams Holiday Classic on Dec. 28.