Clutch Plays Send Bruins Past Cal In Overtime, 90-87
Jan. 29, 2006
Los Angeles, CA - The Bruins' Triple Threat was at its best in a thrilling 90-87 UCLA overtime win over California Sunday afternoon in a Pac-10 game played in Pauley Pavilion before a crowd of 5,513.
Senior guard Lisa Willis, who finished with 20 points on the day, came up with a key steal which led to Nikki Blue's three-point shot with 1:44 left in overtime. Senior guard Blue, who put the Bruins back in the lead, 86-85, with her three-point shot, hit both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity with 26 seconds to play to put the Bruins up for good in the game at 88-87. Junior guard Noelle Quinn led all scorers in the contest with a season-high tying 25 points, her last two coming on a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining in the overtime period. Quinn also had 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.
UCLA, which led for most of the contest, enjoyed a 51-49 margin at the half. Both teams shot lights-out in the half, with Cal shooting at a 59.4% clip (19-32) and UCLA shooting 57.9% (22-38). The Bruins led by as many as 10, 37-27, with 5:36 to play in the half after an Ortal Oren finger roll layup. But Cal charged back with a 7-0 run to close to within three, 37-34 with 3:34 remaining in the half. The Golden Bears took the lead, 45-44, with 49 seconds remaining after Alexis Gray-Lawson stole an inbounds pass that led to a Renee Wright jump shot. But the Bruins reclaimed the lead quickly after Quinn was fouled while making a layup. Quinn missed the free throw, but Willis grabbed the rebound and fed Quinn for a three-pointer to make it a five-point play. A Willis layup with eight seconds on the clock would have given UCLA a five-point advantage heading into the locker room, but Devanei Hampton hit a long three-pointer at the buzzer to make the halftime score 51-49.
After UCLA jumped out to a 69-62 lead with 12:04 to play in the second half, Cal charged back with a 13-2 run. That streak staked Cal a 75-71 lead with 6:20 to play. Five consecutive points, culminating in a Willis three-pointer gave the Bruins the lead again at 76-75 with 5:16 on the clock. The Bears answered with five consecutive points after Willis' basket to take an 80-76 lead with 3:55 to play. Two free throws by Lindsey Pluimer, UCLA's first attempts from the line in the half, sliced the lead to two at 80-78. The Bears then missed five straight free throws that could have increased their advantage. Instead, with 12 seconds remaining, Pluimer put back a missed Tierra Henderson jumper to tie the game at 80. Gray-Lawson missed a shot in the lane with two seconds remaining, and the rebound went out of bounds to UCLA. Blue's desperation one-hander from three-quarters court missed, and the game went in to overtime.
Cal went ahead in the overtime period by a score of 85-83 on a Gray-Lawson jump shot from near the free throw line with 3:13 to play. A Blue three-pointer with 1:41 to play to give UCLA an 86-85 lead, but Gray-Lawson responded with a shot in the lane with 1:25 remaining to propel Cal back into the lead by one. With 46 seconds remaining, Pluimer blocked a Gray-Lawson shot attempt out of bounds. A second block of a Gray-Lawson shot, by Willis, gave the ball to the Bruins, and Blue was fouled by Jene Morris with 26 seconds left and made both free throw attempts of the one-and-one to put UCLA back in front, 88-87. Gary-Lawson drove the lane for Cal, but was called for a charging foul against Henderson with eight seconds on the game clock. Quinn was then fouled immediately and went to line with six seconds remaining. She made both attempts, and Gary-Lawson's attempt to send the game into a second overtime period went wide.
All five Bruin starters scored in double figures, led by Quinn's 25, and Willis' 20. Pluimer added 17 with nine rebounds, Blue scored 12 points, and Amanda Livingston had 10. Four Cal players were in double figures, led by Hampton's 24 points. Gray-Lawson had 22, Ashley Walker had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Morris scored 14.
The win pushed UCLA into a four-way tie for second place in the Pac-10 Conference with Arizona State, Washington and USC, all with 7-4 league records. UCLA improved its overall record to 12-8, while Cal fell to 6-5 in the Pac-10 and 14-7 overall.
UCLA travels to play at Arizona State in its next game on Thursday night in Tempe.