Bruins Post Wire-to-Wire Win Over Utah
LOS ANGELES – Natalie Chou poured in a career-high 28 points, Charisma Osborne added 22 and Michaela Onyenwere posted 17 points, as the ninth-ranked Bruins led from start to finish in a 92-67 victory over Utah on Sunday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.
Chou was 11-of-14 from the field, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc to tie a career high for triples, with her 28 points eclipsing her previous personal best of 22 in 2017 when she played for Baylor. Osborne added four baskets from distance, a career-high eight assists and five rebounds, while Onyenwere was a board and two dimes away from a triple-double, registering nine rebounds and a personal-best eight assists.
Emily Bessoir added nine points and three blocks and Dominique Darius and Lauryn Miller each had eight points. The Bruins shot a season-best 56.5 percent from the field, making 35 of their 62 shots. UCLA made a season-best 11-of-21 from beyond the arc (52.4 percent) and was also 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) from the free-throw line. The Bruins assisted on 24 of their made baskets and added seven steals.
The teams exchanged triples to start the game before Miller hit a jumper in the lane to put the Bruins ahead, 5-3. Osborne followed with her second triple of the quarter to give UCLA an 8-3 lead. Osborne and Chou caught fire with triples, as the lead swelled to 17-8 at the 5:42 mark. Osborne's fourth triple of the opening frame made it 22-9 ahead of the first media stoppage (4:50). The Bruins rattled off six-straight points out of the timeout, but Utah's Brynna Maxwell answered with a four-point play off a made three from the corner (28-15). UCLA continued to apply the pressure to end the quarter, as Chou and Darius knocked down long balls to give the Bruins a 36-15 lead after 10 minutes. The Bruins went 8-for-12 from long range in the opening frame.
The Utes opened the second quarter on a 6-2 run to trim the deficit to 38-21 (7:53). UCLA responded with four-straight points before Maxwell knocked down her second three-pointer of the game to make it 42-24 (6:21). With the Bruins up 44-25, Osborne and Chou scored layups on back-to-back possessions to widen the lead to 23, forcing a timeout from Utah Head Coach Lynne Roberts (4:41). Osborne would find Onyenwere in the paint for an easy two to end the half, giving the Bruins a 52-28 lead at the break.
Osborne and Chou combined for 35 points in the opening 20 minutes. UCLA shot 20-for-33 from the field (.606) and held the Utes to just 29.6% (8-for-27) from the field.
Utah opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 54-35, forcing a timeout from The Michael Price Family UCLA Women's Head Basketball Coach Cori Close (8:04). Free throws from Dru Gylten and Kemery Martín made it a 16-point game but Onyenwere scored a tough basket in the paint to put UCLA ahead, 56-38 (5:36). Chou drained her fourth three-pointer of the afternoon to extend the Bruins' lead to 59-38 midway through the third quarter. The Utes responded with four-straight free throws before Darius notched back-to-back buckets to put UCLA ahead 65-44 (1:16). Chou converted a three-point play to end the quarter, giving UCLA a 68-46 lead heading into the fourth.
With the Bruins up 70-50, Onyenwere converted a tough and-one to extend UCLA's lead to 23 (7:16). The teams exchanged triples before the Bruins called a timeout at the 6:42 mark. Chou scored her 11th field goal after the timeout, giving her a career-high 28 points on the day (5:56). Martín hit her second long ball of the game to make it 78-58 at the 4:13 mark, but the Bruins would go on to ice the game away. Six of Miller's points came in the final three minutes, as UCLA ended up winning by 25.
The Bruins are back in Pauley for a matchup against Washington State on Sunday, Jan. 17. Tip-off is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. PT with Pac-12 Networks handling the live broadcast. Dave Marcus' radio call can be heard at ucla.leanplayer.com. UCLA swept the season series with the Cougars last year.