Chou Scores 20 as Bruins Down Virginia, 69-57
LOS ANGELES – Natalie Chou led all scores with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting to lead the Bruins (3-0, 0-0) past Virginia (0-4, 0-0), 69-57.
IImar'I Thomas continued her strong start to the season, contributing 19 points and three assists in the win. UCLA earned its 13th-straight win at home against a non-conference opponent.
The Bruins jumped out to an 8-2 lead after a three-point play from Thomas and a triple from Chou from the left elbow extended (8:24). The Bruins led 10-8 before both offenses stalled midway through the frame. Buckets from Jaelynn Penn and Chantel Horvat extended UCLA's lead to 15-9 with under three minutes left in the quarter. Dominque Onu – making her first-career start – knocked down a triple to push the lead to 18-11 after the first 10 minutes.
Amandine Toi opened the second quarter with a three-pointer for Virginia, cutting the Bruins' lead to 18-14 (8:56). Chou answered with a step-back jumper in the paint before a pair of layups from the Cavaliers made it 20-18 (6:53). The score was tied at 24 before Chou connected on a short jumper to give UCLA the lead, once again (4:48). It was 26-26 before Kayla Owens and Thomas connected on triples to make it a six-point advantage with 38 seconds to play. Toi ended the quarter with her own three-pointer, sending the Bruins into the break with a 32-29 advantage.
Six of seven Bruins scored in the first half, with Chou leading the way with nine points on 4-for-5 from the field. Taylor Valladay and Toi led the Cavaliers with 10 points apiece.
The teams exchanged baskets to start the quarter before Thomas knocked down back-to-back buckets to give the Bruins a 36-31 lead (8:09). Chou knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 41-37 before Carole Miller knocked down a triple at the other end. Penn answered with a jumper end and Chou converted in the paint, putting UCLA ahead, 45-40, at the end of the third quarter.
Chou and Thomas knocked down triples to start the fourth quarter, extending the Bruins' lead to 51-40. Eleah Parker answered with a layup for Virginia, but Onu and Penn hit right back with three-pointers to give UCLA its largest lead of the night (59-44). The Bruins continued to surge in the fourth, as Chou put in two more buckets to give her 20 points on the night and make it a 65-47 contest at the 4:33 media timeout. UCLA would hold on and win by a final score of 69-57.
The Bruins are headed to the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla., for their next three games. Up first is a matchup against Kent State at 10:30am PT on Friday, Nov. 26. All games in the Gulf Coast Showcase will be broadcast on FloHoops.