UCLA Women’s Basketball’s Comeback Falls Short Against Oregon State

The Bruins picked up another road loss without Charisma Osborne on New Year’s Day, snapping their six-game winning streak.

It took until the final few seconds for the Beavers to lock up a victory Sunday, as the Bruins continued to scratch and claw until the final buzzer.

The comeback effort ultimately fell short for No. 10 UCLA women’s basketball (12-2, 2-1 Pac-12), however, losing 77-72 to Oregon State (9-5, 1-2) on New Year’s Day. The result fell in line with most of the Bruins’ recent trips to Coravllis, as the blue and gold have now dropped to 0-8 in the regular season at Gill Coliseum dating back to 2014.

UCLA’s six-game winning streak also met its end with the result.

It was all Oregon State from the start, as the Beavers opened the game on a 10-0 run featuring 3-pointers, jumpers, layups and free throws. UCLA, meanwhile, didn’t score for nearly five minutes as senior guard Charisma Osborne sat out with a shoulder injury she sustained Friday against Oregon.

Even when the Bruins’ offense got going with some 3-pointers by guards Gina Conti and Kiki Rice, the Beavers continued to answer. Things didn’t get much better in the second quarter, with UCLA never getting within five and even going down by as much as 13 in the final minute of the half.

Guard Shalexxus Aaron, who opened the day with a 3-pointer, hit three more in the second, and Rice’s 12 first half points on the other end were the only things keeping the Bruins in the game.

A layup right before the buzzer by forward Christeen Iwuala gave UCLA the momentum it needed, sparking what turned out to be an 11-2 run coming out of the locker room. Rice came through with back-to-back and-1s, and a 3-pointer by guard Londynn Jones made it 40-38.

The Bruins stayed within striking distance for the rest of the contest, never trailing by double digits again. Jones and Rice hit some more 3-pointers to answer forward Raegan Beers’ scoring push in the third quarter, and Conti got a layup to fall with one second left that kept things interesting heading into the fourth.

The final five minutes opened with an outside explosion for UCLA, with forward Lina Sontag draining a triple that cut the gap to two again. Jones hit 3-pointers on the ensuing two possessions, and suddenly the Bruins led by one with 3:37 left in regulation.

That was the last lead UCLA would hold, though, even if they would continue to come dangerously close to taking control again.

Oregon State went on an 8-0 run over the next three minutes, as coach Cori Close had to turn to intentional fouling once her offense cooled off.

Conti hit two 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds, making it a three-point game with six seconds left on the clock, but guard Talia von Oelhoffen hit both her free throws to ice the game.

Rice, who fouled out in those desperate final moments, led the Bruins with 20 points. Conti and Jones scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, and that backcourt trio wound up scoring 56 of UCLA’s 72 points. The other six players who checked in for Close shot a combined 6-for-27 from the field and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Oregon State utilized a similarly top-heavy scoring distribution, with Beers, von Oelhoffen, guard Bendu Yeaney and Aaron dropping 22, 15, 15 and 14 points, respectively. Center Jelena Mitrovic also scored nine points to help the Beavers run away with a 36-22 advantage in the paint.

UCLA’s only two losses this season have come on the road, and their next game will take place Jan. 8 against USC back at Pauley Pavilion. That game will tip off at 2 p.m. and be televised on Pac-12 Networks.

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