Fourth-Quarter Surge Leads UCLA Past California, 59-54
LOS ANGELES – IImar'I Thomas scored a team-high 16 points and notched her first double-double of the season with 12 rebounds as the UCLA women's basketball team defeated California 59-54 on Sunday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.
Guard Natalie Chou reached double-figure scoring for the 10th time this season with 11 points on 4-for-seven shooting.
With UCLA (10-7, 5-5 Pac-12) trailing by two points at 43-41 and 4:23 left in regulation, Charisma Osborne stripped a California defender of an offensive rebound, and on the other end of the court, located IImar'I Thomas on the low post. Thomas scored the game-tying bucket with a lay-in and drew a foul, giving the Bruins a 44-43 lead at the free throw line that they would not surrender for the rest of the game.
California (10-6, 1-4 Pac-12) brought the game within two points at 48-46 at the 1:21 mark, but UCLA staved off any attempt of a comeback by hitting 12 of their 13 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Guard Jazlen Green led California with 14 points, hitting 4-for-11 from 3-point land.
After California closed the final minute of the third period on an 8-2 run, guard Natalie Chou put UCLA right back into the game in the opening minutes of the fourth, scoring the Bruins' first eight points featuring a pair of 3-pointers.
Osborne located a crashing Camryn Brown under the basket to end the third quarter on a buzzer-beater layup to trim Cal's lead to 36-31.
UCLA and California entered halftime tied at 22-22.
The Golden Bears knotted things up, 14-14, three minutes into the second period with back-to-back 3-pointers by Green. The two teams proceeded to go the next four minutes without scoring a field goal until California forward Evelien Lutje Schipholt hit a jumper at the 2:43 mark.
All 12 of UCLA's first quarter points were scored by a different player. The Bruins forced eight first-quarter turnovers.
The Bruins return to action at Washington State on Friday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. PT. That game will be televised live on Pac-12 Los Angeles, with an audio broadcast available on UCLABruins.com.