UCLA Women’s Basketball Holds Off Washington in Regular Season Finale

Kiki Rice scored 15 points off the bench, while Charisma Osborne got 16 of her 19 points in the second half of the Bruins’ win.

The Bruins came out with a new look Saturday afternoon, and that helped them keep their foot on the gas against the Huskies.

No. 17 UCLA women’s basketball (22-8, 11-7 Pac-12) avoided its third-straight loss by defeating Washington (15-13, 7-11) at Pauley Pavilion, turning up the heat in the second half en route to a 70-62 win in the regular season finale. The Bruins were down at the half, but they rode a big night from guard Charisma Osborne to victory.

Osborne led UCLA with 19 points – 16 of which came in the second half – while guard Kiki Rice added 15 of her own. Rice came off the bench for the first time all season on Saturday, and she shot 4-for-7 from the field after nine straight games shooting below 40% from the field.

After Osborne, Rice and guard Londynn Jones shot 11-for-39 in Thursday night’s loss to Washington State, the backcourt trio went 16-for-27 on Saturday. Those three guards were the only three Bruins to reach double figures against Washington, but all 10 players who checked in scored at least two points.

Guard Gina Conti got a jumper to fall in the opening 20 seconds of the game, and UCLA led for the entirety of the first quarter. That lead lasted until midway through the second, when Washington capped off a 7-0 run with a go-ahead 3-pointer.

Neither side strung together back-to-back scoring possessions for the rest of the half, with 13 lead changes coming in the final six minutes of the second quarter. Rice scored nine of the Bruins’ 12 points during that stretch. 

UCLA trailed 34-33 at the break, despite shooting 50% from the field with three more field goals than Washington.

It took all of 29 seconds for the Bruins to pull ahead in the second half, as forward Lina Sontag hit a layup on a fast break that gave them the lead. That opened up a 7-0 run in favor of UCLA, and even when Washington ended it with a layup, Osborne kept the offense flowing with a triple.

The Huskies cut it down to a four-point game again midway through the fourth, only for Osborne to hit back-to-back jumpers – one of which came from beyond the arc. Osborne added four points for good measure after the three-minute mark, and the Bruins had their lead back up to double-digits.

UCLA got nine more points out of its bench, 10 more points in the paint and 12 more points off of turnovers compared to Washington. 

Despite the win, the Bruins ended the regular season in a four-way tie for fourth place in the Pac-12 standings. Since UCLA lost to Arizona earlier in the season, they did not receive a bye in the Pac-12 tournament, but a win over USC means the blue and gold will be the No. 5 seed and face last-place Arizona State in the opening round on March 1.

The Pac-12 tournament will take place in Las Vegas, setting the Bruins up for some more neutral site action. The last time UCLA played at a neutral site was at the Battle 4 Atlantis in November, when it went 3-0 and won the event in the Bahamas.

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