The Bruins couldn’t keep pace with the Cardinal’s free throw barrage in the fourth quarter, losing to the nation’s No. 3 team on the road.
A big third quarter got the Bruins back in it, but the Cardinal kept getting to the line to hold them off down the stretch.
No. 17 UCLA women’s basketball (21-7, 10-6 Pac-12) watched it comeback effort come up short against No. 3 Stanford (26-3, 14-2), ultimately losing 71-66 at Maples Pavilion on Monday night. It took a ferocious effort in the second half to even make it that close – winning the third quarter 25-11 and stealing the lead on two separate occasions – it just wasn’t enough to pull out the win by the final buzzer.
Of the 21 points the Cardinal scored in the fourth quarter, 13 came from the charity stripe. Forward Cameron Brink led all scorers with 25 points, with 15 of those coming off free throws.
Even when Brink missed her first free throw of the night late in the fourth quarter, she got a mulligan thanks to a UCLA lane violation. Brink’s 14th freebie of the game tied things up, and her 15th gave Stanford the lead with 1:53 left on the clock.
The Cardinal extended that lead to three not long after, and guard Charisma Osborne was only able to but it down to one when she got to the line for a pair of her own free throws. Osborne had a chance to tie the game with 13 seconds remaining, but she was unable to finish through the contact and it was all intentional fouls from then on out.
Guard Londynn Jones led the Bruins with 14 points, but she had a team-worst minus-17 plus-minus. No other UCLA player was worse than a minus-five.
Jones was a minus-10 in the fourth quarter alone, airballing a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minutes to end her night on a sour note.
Conversely, Jones was arguably the sole reason UCLA wasn’t getting completely blown out by halftime. The freshman had 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field, all while her team trailed 39-26 at the break.
Osborne was shooting 0-for-5, forward Emily Bessoir was 1-for-6 and guard Kiki Rice was 1-for-5, and no Bruin besides Jones had more than four points through two quarters.
That core came to life in the third quarter, though, with the non-Jones Bruins shooting 9-for-17 from the field, 4-for-9 from deep and 3-for-4 from the line in that frame. Osborne went on an 8-0 run all by herself coming out of the locker room, converting on a couple of 3s and a pair of free throws.
Bessoir and forward Lina Sontag each got a 3-ball to fall, and UCLA wound up outscoring Stanford 17-9 in the eight minutes following Osborne’s resurgence. A layup by guard Camryn Brown gave the Bruins a 51-48 lead late in the third to officially put the Cardinal on upset alert, but it didn’t take long for their opponent to get their feet back under them.
Between the end of the third and the start of the fourth, Stanford went on a 9-2 run to reestablish control. Rice, Osborne and Sontag ended UCLA’s relative cold streak with three made field goals in a row to snatch back the lead, only for Stanford’s success at the free throws line to erase their progress.
UCLA did its best to create extra opportunities – converting 17 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points and turning a five-turnover advantage into a five-point advantage off those turnovers – but it couldn’t overcome Stanford hitting 10 more free throws on seven more attempts in their eventual five-point loss.
Eight of the nine Bruins who checked into the game recorded at least four points, while four cracked double figures. The Cardinal also had four double-digit scorers, although five of their 11 rotation players put up goose eggs and two more failed to reach four points.
UCLA, which saw its four-game winning streak come to a close Monday night, found itself on the wrong end of a sweep in its season series with Stanford.
With two games left in the regular season, the Bruins trail Arizona by one game for fourth place in the Pac-12. If they can’t crack the top four, the blue and gold will not get a bye at the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas come March.
UCLA’s next game is scheduled for Thursday night against Washington State back at Pauley Pavilion. That contest will top off at 6 p.m. and will be televised on Pac-12 Los Angeles.
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