UCLA Falls to Stanford in Pac-12 Championship Game
LAS VEGAS – Michaela Onyenwere's game-high 30 points were not enough as the third-seeded UCLA women's basketball team fell to top seed Stanford, 75-55, in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship game Sunday evening at Michelob ULTRA Arena.
The Bruins (16-5, 12-4 Pac-12) cut a 26-point second-half deficit to 10 in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, but the Cardinal (25-2, 19-2) proved too much down the stretch. Charisma Osborne added 11 points and a game-high four assists for UCLA.
Onyenwere was named to the All-Tournament Team, joining Cameron Brink, Lexie Hull and Kiana Williams (Most Outstanding Player) of Stanford, Aleah Goodman of Oregon State and Aari McDonald of Arizona.
Williams (26) and Hull (24) combined for 50 points to lead Stanford. Williams made 6 of 7 shots from 3-point range. Haley Jones added a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebound for the Cardinal, which controlled the boards (38-27) and the points-in-the-paint category (26-12).
Hull and Williams each knocked down triples to put the Cardinal up 6-0 in the first (8:00). Onyenwere got the Bruins on the board with a jumper in the lane, but Lacie Hull answered with a three-pointer to make it 9-2, Stanford (6:53). Lauryn Miller connected on a scoop layup, but Williams followed with the Cardinal's fourth triple to make it 12-4 ahead of a timeout (5:39). Onyenwere scored out of the stoppage to cut the deficit to six before Haley Jones notched her first bucket for Stanford (14-6). The teams exchanged baskets and Stanford led 20-11 before Williams and Jones picked up baskets to put the Cardinal up 24-11 after one.
Anna Wilson and Williams each converted layups to open the second quarter, putting Stanford ahead 28-11 (8:13). Williams then followed with another triple before a transition lay-in from Cameron Brink (33-11). Osborne stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer to cut the lead back to 33-14, but Brink answered with a second-chance basket to force a UCLA timeout (4:40). Onyenwere scored out of the stoppage after a steal in the backcourt from Dominique Darius (4:21). The Bruins picked up four-straight points before Williams drained her fourth three-pointer of the night (38-20). Hull then scored five-straight points to close out the half, giving the Cardinal a 43-20 advantage after the first 20 minutes.
Williams was dominant in the first half, scoring 16 points on 6-10 shooting. Onyenwere was the Bruins' primary source of offensive production, scoring 13 points and adding a pair of rebounds.
Williams knocked down her fifth triple to open the half, but Onyenwere answered at the other end with a basket and a pair of free throws (46-24). Corsaro notched her first basket before Williams connected from distance once again (49-26). Onyenwere continued her strong night with a three-point play to bring the deficit back to 20. Free throws from Chou made it 50-35, but Fran Belibi answered at the other end to push Stanford's lead back to 17. Onyenwere then connected from short-range before Osborne drained her second three-pointer of the night. The Bruins would trail 54-40 after three.
Natalie Chou would open the fourth quarter with a triple to cut the score to 54-43. Lexie Hull answered with a triple of her own, but Onyenwere converted on a baseline jumper at the other end (57-46). Stanford then rattled off six-straight points to go up 17, but Osborne connected on a corner triple to cut the score back to 63-49 (6:54). The Cardinal led 69-53 before Belibi scored in the paint, pushing the deficit back to 19. The Bruins could not overcome the deficit and fell, 75-55.
The Bruins will now await their NCAA Tournament seeding. The tournament selection show is scheduled for Monday, Mar. 15. NCAA First Round action is scheduled to kick off across Mar. 21-22.