The Bruins hardly ever had control Thursday night, leading to a surprising home loss at the hands of the unranked Cougars.
After trailing for virtually the entire night, the Bruins were unable to stage a late comeback on their home floor Thursday night.
No. 17 UCLA women’s basketball (21-8, 10-7 Pac-12) hung with Washington State (19-9, 9-8) for most of the game, only to lose 62-55. The Bruins led for a mere 1:18 of game action, and even when they cut the Cougars’ lead down to three in the final minutes, they couldn’t get over the hump.
UCLA was outscored 36-16 in the paint by Washington State, all while shooting 29.0% on the offensive end.
Guards Charisma Osborne and Kiki Rice led the Bruins in scoring with 14 and 10 points apiece, but they both shot just 33.3% from the field and went a combined 1-for-6 from deep. Forward Emily Bessoir added just three points on 1-for-6 shooting before fouling out, ultimately contributing to UCLA’s 8-for-21 clip on layups.
The Bruins’ shooting woes plagued them from the start, as the blue and gold missed their first 13 attempts from the field and couldn’t get a shot to fall until the 1:40 mark of the first quarter. While UCLA started the night 2-for-21, Washington State was shooting 8-for-17.
Despite that discrepancy, the Bruins only trailed 21-11, and it took them less than two minutes to tie things up with a 10-0 run. Bessoir and forward Gabriela Jaquez each hit 3-pointers, forward Brynn Masikewich got a pair of free throws to fall and Osborne sank a jumper.
UCLA and Washington State were tied 25-25 at the break, and the Bruins looked like they finally had some juice when Rice hit two layups to open the second half.
That lead lasted just 31 seconds, though, and the Cougars were back on the attack. A 6-for-11 shooting stretch for Washington State lined up with six straight misses by UCLA, and although Osborne, Rice, forward Lina Sontag and guard Camryn Brown kept the bottom from falling out by reawakening the offense, the Bruins were still down five headed into the fourth quarter.
Guard Londynn Jones got her only five points of the night early in the fourth, putting her 2-for-12 performance behind her while trying to will her team back into it. A layup, 3-pointer and free throw by Osborne had UCLA down by just three points at the final media timeout, and a layup by Sontag with 1:33 left made it a three-point game once again.
The two sides were locked in a stalemate for the next minute, until Washington State forced an Osborne turnover and got a dagger 3-pointer out of guard Tara Wallack with 24 seconds remaining. The Bruins, meanwhile, missed their next three shots and allowed the Cougars to take care of business at the free throw line.
The Bruins started the year 8-0 at Pauley Pavilion, but are just 4-3 in their last seven home games. The impact of UCLA’s four-game winning streak earlier in February has been undercut by its back-to-back losses, and the Bruins’ 4-5 record since Jan. 26 has officially cost them a bye in the Pac-12 tournament.
UCLA has one regular season contest remaining to avoid ending the year on a three-game skid. The Bruins’ Senior Day showdown with Washington will tip off at 12 p.m. on Saturday, and the game will be televised on Pac-12 Los Angeles.
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