UCLA Shoots Down No. 12 'Cats
The UCLA women's basketball team (12-11, 7-8) knocked off No. 12 Arizona (19-6, 9-6) 64-46 in a Pac-12 Conference game played in Tucson on Thursday night snapping the Wildcats 16-game home court winning streak. The Bruins' suffocating defense limited Arizona to 5-30 shooting in the second half while Ilmar'l Thomas poured in all 16 of her points to help break open a close game in which UCLA led 28-27 at the half.
Charisma Osborne added a team-high 18 points and with 10 rebounds joined Thomas, who finished at 11 boards, with double-doubles. UCLA enjoyed a dominant 48-26 rebounding edge on the 'Cats on the night with Thomas picking up her 1,000th career rebound during the contest.
The Bruins took to the court with great energy to begin the game and used a 13-2 scoring run to help open up a 15-6 advantage after a layup from Angela Dulgalic with 2:23 to play in the first quarter. The Wildcats scored the last five points of the quarter to close to 15-11. The Bruin defense forced numerous UA turnovers during the fast start which led to nine points.
A UCLA 6-0 second-quarter scoring run, including back-to-back baskets by Natalie Chou, grew the lead to 26-17 at the 4:52 mark. However, the Bruins would misfire on their last five field goal attempts of the half while Arizona connected on its last three shot attempts to narrow the gap to just one, 28-27, at the break. Osborne and Chou combined to score 10 points each in the initial half.
After Arizona evened the score at 28-all with a free throw at the beginning of the second half, UCLA tallied seven of the next nine points and pulled out to a 35-30 lead on a Dugalic baseline shot with 6:11 to play in the third quarter. Thomas' offensive rebound basket completed a 7-0 Bruin run and put UCLA up 38-30 with 4:07 to go. Osborne nailed two baskets and added a couple of free throws in the last two minutes of the frame to extend UCLA's edge to 46-35 at the end of the third quarter. The Bruin defense limited Arizona to 3 for 14 shooting from the field in the quarter.
Thomas was in charge during the fourth quarter. Her free throws handed UCLA a 50-37 lead with 8:42 to play. She then scored three straight baskets to widen the margin to 56-40 at the 6:30 mark. Arizona misfired on its final 10 shots of the contest and UCLA came away with the 64-46 win and the first victory in Tucson since 2019. The 46 points was the lowest total scored by a Bruin opponent since UCLA bested USC 66-43 earlier this season on Jan. 20.
UCLA will head north to play at Arizona State on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the final regular season game of the season. The Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament commences next week in Las Vegas with first round action starting on Mar. 2.