UCLA Falls Short, 68-65, in Top 10 Matchup at Arizona
Tucson, Ariz. – In an early-season conference matchup between No. 7 Arizona and No. 9 UCLA, the host Wildcats turned a 38-32 halftime deficit into a 48-44 lead going into the fourth quarter and held off a furious rally in the final minute to beat the Bruins, 68-65.
UCLA (1-1 overall, 0-1 in the Pac-12) led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter and led by six at the half but fell cold in the third quarter, making just one field goal in 18 attempts. Arizona fared slightly better, making six of 17 shots (35.3%) from the field and outscoring the Bruins, 16-6, in the quarter. UCLA cut an eight-point Arizona lead with under a minute to play to just two points and had a chance to tie with a three-pointer on the final possession but could not get the long ball to drop.
Sophomore guard Charisma Osborne led the Bruins in scoring for the second consecutive game, totaling 15 points. Senior forward Michaela Onyenwere totaled her 25th career double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds. Lauryn Miller joined the pair in double-figure scoring with 14 points. Trinity Baptiste led all players with 18 points for Arizona and also added 11 rebounds.
The Bruins took an early 4-2 lead after a basket in the paint from Onyenwere and a pair of free throws from Natalie Chou. Arizona scored four-straight points and took a 6-5 lead into the first media timeout. With the Wildcats up 10-7, Osborne drained a contested three-pointer to tie the score at 10 with 1:33 to play in the first quarter. Onyenwere followed with a strong finish under the basket to give UCLA the lead, but a pair of free throws from Baptiste evened the score at 12. Freshman Emily Bessoir registered a putback layup to end the quarter, giving the Bruins a 14-12 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Bessoir continued to produce in the second quarter, converting a lay-in under the basket to extend UCLA's lead to 19-14 (7:15). Bessoir's bucket helped UCLA surge to a 9-2 run, capped off by a nice pump-fake jumper from Chou, forcing a timeout from Arizona (25-14; 6:09). With the Bruins up 31-21, Arizona responded with back-to-back buckets from Baptiste and Shaina Pellington, pulling the Wildcats' deficit to six points (31-25). The teams exchanged baskets before Osborne drained a three from the top of the key, pushing UCLA's lead to 37-26 with 58 seconds left in the half. The Wildcats picked up a bit of momentum to end the half, as Baptiste knocked down a long ball to cut the deficit to 38-32 in the final seconds of the first half.
Miller scored the Bruins' first three points of the second half, helping UCLA establish a 40-32 advantage at the 8:42 mark in the third quarter. The Wildcats then rattled off six-straight points to cut UCLA's lead to 41-39 (6:56). UCLA led 43-41 after the media timeout before Helena Pueyo knocked down a long ball to give the Wildcats a 44-43 lead (3:09). Sam Thomas followed with a short jumper to give Arizona a three-point lead, forcing a timeout from The Michael Price Famliy UCLA Women's Head Basketball Coach Cori Close. The Bruins couldn't find much offense to end the quarter and trailed 48-44 heading into the fourth.
The Bruins found their footing to open the fourth quarter, with Bessoir and Onyenwere notching buckets to tie the game at 48 (7:38). Arizona fired right back with eight-straight points, including a triple from preseason AP All-American Aari McDonald. After Miller answered with a bucket in the paint, Lindsey Corsaro drew a charge in the paint to give the Bruins possession out of the media timeout. Onyenwere converted with a coast-to-coast finish, cutting the deficit to 56-52 with 4:11 to play. The teams exchanged baskets before Chantel Horvat converted a left-handed layup to make it 58-56, forcing an Arizona timeout. McDonald scored off an offensive rebound and picked off Corsaro's pass at the other end, leading to four-straight points from Baptiste (64-56).
With just 48 seconds remaining, the Wildcats held a 65-57 lead, but UCLA kept chipping away at the lead. A three-point play by Miller and a jumper by Osborne helped the Bruins trim the lead to four with 23 seconds on the clock. After McDonald made one of two free throws, Osborne hit a long three to make it a two-point game, 67-65, with 12 seconds remaining. The Bruins fouled to send Cate Reese to the line, and she made just the first of two, giving UCLA a chance to send the game to overtime. Osborne's three-point attempt missed, however, and Onyenwere was unable to put up the rebound before the clock expired.
UCLA finishes up its first Pac-12 road trip of the season with a matchup against Arizona State on Sunday, Dec. 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT with Pac-12 Networks broadcasting the live action. Dave Marcus' radio broadcast can be heard at ucla.leanplayer.com.