The Bruins led by 11 points with less than five minutes left in regulation, but wound up losing to the Wildcats in overtime.
It looked like the Bruins would finally get back in the win column with a decisive win over a ranked opponent.
Instead, they tripped up down the stretch and saw their losing streak reach three games.
No. 14 UCLA women’s basketball (17-6, 6-5 Pac-12) held an 11-point lead over No. 22 Arizona (17-5, 7-4) with 4:15 left on the clock, only to lose 71-66 in overtime at Pauley Pavilion on Friday night. The Bruins missed their last four shots of regulation while also turning the ball over four times in that span, and they never held a lead in the extra period.
Since Jan. 1, UCLA is 4-5 and has dropped to sixth in the Pac-12.
UCLA was in control for the majority of the first half, using defense to slow Arizona down in the first quarter before getting hot from deep in the second. The Bruins went up by as many as 12 points thanks to forward Emily Bessoir and guard Londynn Jones hitting their long balls, and they continued to convert from deep when the Wildcats stormed back in the third quarter.
It was a 3-pointer by Jones with 4:49 left that gave UCLA its 61-50 lead, giving the freshman another breakout performance to add to her resume.
Arizona took a timeout, and forward Cate Reese immediately rattled off a 6-0 run all on her own. UCLA called a timeout to try and stop the bleeding, but they committed a shock clock violation that led to even more Wildcats points on the other end.
Forward Lina Sontag turned the ball over and missed a 3-pointer to extend the cold streak, while guard Lauren Fields sank a quick triple to tie things up at 61 all.
The Bruins’ defense held its own from there – even surviving a layup attempt at the buzzer by guard Shaina Pellington – but the offense turned the ball over again and missed its own shot at a game-winner when guard Kiki Rice’s layup with three seconds left failed to fall.
Arizona got the first two field goals of overtime to make it a 15-0 run. A 3-pointer from Jones brought UCLA back within one point, and the score stayed put at 67-66 for three whole minutes.
Guard Charisma Osborne and Bessoir each had 3-point attempts to tie in the final 30 seconds, but both missed. Rice’s layup with nine seconds left kept the Bruins in it for another possession, only for her team to come up short in the end.
Jones led UCLA with 20 points on 5-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc, while Bessoir dropped 14 thanks to four 3-pointers. Rice also finished the night with 14 points, but on just 4-for-19 shooting from the field.
Osborne shot 1-for-7 with a team-worst minus-17 plus/minus.
The Bruins’ 11-for-31 clip from deep outdid the Wildcats’, although their 11-for-41 mark from 2 left much to be desired. UCLA got outscored by 22 points in the paint and seven points on the fast break. The Bruins’ 19 assists on 22 makes were ultimately all for naught, as they were unable to convert in the clutch when it mattered most.
UCLA has a chance to snap its skid Sunday against Arizona State. That game will tip off from Pauley Pavilion at 12 p.m. and will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.