UCLA Defeats Australian Junior National Team, 91-89, In Overtime

June 27, 2005

Sutherland, Australia - Faced with a 14-point fourth quarter deficit against the Australian Junior National Team, the Bruins roared back to send the game into overtime on a Nikki Blue put-back and then won the game, 91-89, on a Lisa Willis layup with 17 seconds to play.

Willis led UCLA with 34 points, including 16 in the pivotal fourth quarter. Noelle Quinn scored 17 points, and Nikki Blue had 15 points, including UCLA's first seven points in overtime.

The two teams played a close first quarter, with Australia assuming a 15-14 first quarter advantage. UCLA jumped out to a 6-2 lead and led until back-to-back three-pointers from Mel Smith and Christina Fox put Australia up ahead, 15-12 with 1:55 to play in the quarter.

Australia jumped out ahead 22-16 in the second quarter and then went on a 16-2 run to take a 38-21 lead with 1:34 to play in the half. UCLA then employed the press and outscored Australia 10-2 in the last 1:18 to creep back into the game down 40-31 at the half. Ortal Oren had five of her seven points during that time.

In the third quarter, UCLA pulled to within five, 51-46, but Australia extended its lead back up to 12 at the end of the quarter, 67-55.

Although the Gems went up ahead 71-57 in the fourth quarter, UCLA never gave up. After a Christina Fox three-pointer put Australia up 76-64 with 4:52 to play, UCLA held the Gems scoreless over the next 4:24. Willis scored on a four-point play after being fouled on a made three-pointer, bringing UCLA to within five, 76-71, with 2:19 to play in regulation. On the next possession, Lauren Pedersen took a charge on Renae Camino's drive to the basket, and Willis later hit two free throws to close to within three with 1:17 remaining. Pedersen stole the ball on Australia's next possession, and Willis hit a three to even up the score at 76 with 41 seconds to play.

The Bruins and Gems traded baskets in the final 30 seconds, with Australia taking an 80-78 lead on a Camino score with 18 ticks on the clock. Willis missed on a three-point attempt that would have ended the game, but Blue put back the rebound at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

Blue took over in the extra period, scoring UCLA's first seven points before fouling out with the Bruins up 87-85. Pedersen hit a big jump shot with 1:30 to play to give UCLA a four-point lead at 89-85, but Australia came back once again on four-of-six Camino free throws that tied the score at 89 with 32 seconds to play. Willis secured the win for UCLA with a basket with 17 seconds to play and a tipped pass that led to a steal with 10 seconds left.

Julia Pitts and Lindsey Pluimer each scored six points in starting roles. while Pedersen scored four off the bench.

UCLA next plays Bankstown BBC on June 28 before flying to Cairns on June 29.

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