Bruins Take 76-66 Defeat to South Dakota State
Estero, Fla. – IImar'I Thomas eclipsed the impressive 2,000-career-point milestone with an 18-point performance, but it wasn't enough as the Bruins took a 76-66 loss to South Dakota State on Saturday morning at the Gulf Coast Showcase. It was the Bruins' second-straight loss in the tournament.
Thomas led all scores and tied a season-high with seven rebounds. Charisma Osborne and Jaelynn Penn each added 15 points in the effort. 10 players scored for SDSU, led by 11 points from Tori Nelson and Lindsey Thueninck.
Triples from Osborne, Penn, and Natalie Chou gave the Bruins a quick 9-3 lead to open the first quarter (7:46). UCLA led, 11-7, before Nelson drilled a triple from the right side, cutting the Bruins' lead to one at the 4:41 mark. Penn and Thomas answered with baskets to make it 15-10 with under three minutes to play in the first. UCLA led by eight before Nelson scored on a cutting layup to end the quarter, putting the Bruins up, 18-12, heading into the second quarter.
Thomas opened the scoring in the second quarter with a bucket inside, but Haley Greer answered with a triple for SDSU to make it a five-point game (9:00). Later, Lindsey Theuninck knocked down a pair of three-pointers to tie the game at 23 heading into the second quarter media timeout (4:44). The Jackrabbits took a quick lead but Kayla Owens responded with a put-back lay-in to tie the game back at 25 (4:16). The teams exchanged baskets before Haley Greer scored in transition to put the Bruins down two (2:36). SDSU would add on and take a 37-31 lead into the break.
Penn led all scores with 10 points after the first two quarters. The Bruins hit their first three triples of the contest, but finished the half going 3-for-7 from long range. Eight different Jackrabbits checked in on the scoresheet in the first half, led by nine points from Myah Selland.
Nelson scored in transition for the Jackrabbits but Penn answered at the other end with a three-point play (39-34). After scoring droughts from both teams, Theuninck connected on a three-pointer from the left side to extend SDSU's lead to 42-34 (6:03). Osborne connected on a corner three to make it 44-39, but Paige Meyer scored four-straight points to push the SDSU lead back to 48-40 (2:13). Later, Onu and Chou scored on consecutive possessions to cut the lead to four, and Osborne put in a pair of free throws to make it 48-46 (0:44). Free throws from Meyer pushed the score to 50-46 after the third.
SDSU opened the fourth with a quick 5-0 run, pushing the Jackrabbits' lead to 55-46 with 8:17 to play. Thomas scored in the paint to stop the run, a bucket that took her over 2,000 points across her collegiate career. The Jackrabbits led, 59-54, before Mesa Byom converted in the paint to make it a seven-point game at the 4:49 media timeout. UCLA could not overcome the deficit as SDSU iced the game away at the line.