Women’s basketball snatches victory from Arizona State in 13th straight victory

The 2019-2020 Bruins have made history, but history came down to the final seconds against an unranked opponent.

No. 10 UCLA women’s basketball (13-0, 2-0 Pac-12) defeated Arizona State (10-4, 0-2 Pac-12) 68-66 in its first game of 2020, securing the Bruins their best start to a season since the program began in Westwood in 1974.

“I have never talked about (the record) with (the players) one time because I really think that when you think about (the record), you’re not thinking about the process you need to have to become great and to get what you want,” said coach Cori Close. “I think it’s really important to acknowledge things that we earned, but also with great humility, that a lot of people helped us get there.”

The Sun Devils missed their final seven field goal attempts of the game, and a 3-pointer by senior guard Japreece Dean with 1:59 remaining broke a 65-65 tie to give the Bruins a lead they didn’t relinquish again.

Dean hit five 3-pointers – the highest total for any Bruin in a game this season – and led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-19 from the field.

Dean said she has emphasized a positive mindset this season with her teammates.

“I feel like this year I’ve said a lot in huddles just to have fun and bring joy,” Dean said. “(The joy) puts people at ease so we’re not super nervous or super stressed about games.”

A pair of missed jumpers by guard Reili Richardson and a failed putback layup by forward Jayde Van Hyfte with two seconds remaining nearly sent the game to overtime. Almost 40 minutes earlier, however, the contest wasn’t nearly as close.

UCLA jumped out to a 13-2 lead, converting its first three 3-pointers. Eighteen of the Bruins’ first 24 points came from long range, as UCLA made a season-high 11 3-pointers while shooting 52.4% from distance.

The Sun Devils responded to the Bruins’ opening lead with an 11-2 run, and after shooting 9-of-14 from the field in the third quarter, Arizona State and UCLA were tied heading into the final period.

UCLA’s two-point victory against Arizona State – fresh off its first home loss to No. 18 Arizona since 2000 – marked freshman guard Charisma Osborne’s second Pac-12 game of her collegiate career.

“I’ve learned that (the Pac-12) is very competitive,” Osborne said. “Any night anyone can come out and win so you just have to be aggressive and stick to the game plan.”

Arizona State – which has yet to be out-rebounded by any opponent this season – grabbed eight more boards than UCLA, despite the Bruins owning a 10-rebound advantage at the half. The Sun Devils reeled in 20 offensive rebounds, including four on the final possession of the game, during which UCLA forced three missed shots and maintained its two-point lead.

Close said she did not mince any words as she addressed her team in the locker room after the game, as the Bruins were out-rebounded by 18 in the second half.

“They person-handled us in those last four minutes,” Close said. “(Coach Tasha Brown) said it best in the locker room: that we lost track of who we were, and we lost track of how we’re built.”

The Bruins had 16 offensive rebounds of their own, five of which belonged to junior forward Lauryn Miller. Miller attempted layups after all five of her offensive rebounds, – making three of them – and scored eight points with 10 rebounds on the contest.

Junior forward Michaela Onyenwere – UCLA’s leading scorer – was limited to just two first-half points and finished the game with nine points on 4-of-13 shooting and four fouls.

Guard Robbi Ryan led Arizona State in scoring after leaving the game with an ankle injury, chipping in 17 points on 7-of-12 from the field and hitting three 3-pointers in the second half.

All three of the Bruins with double-digit scoring came from the backcourt – Dean, Osborne and redshirt sophomore guard Lindsey Corsaro.

Corsaro’s 12 points gave her double-digits on the stat-sheet for the first time in her previous seven games, and Osborne scored all 10 of her points in the first half while playing a team-high 36 minutes.

UCLA will continue conference play on Sunday, hosting undefeated Arizona at noon.

Read more here: https://dailybruin.com/2020/01/04/womens-basketball-snatches-victory-from-arizona-state-in-13th-straight-victory/
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