UCLA women’s basketball has found success this season by winning the rebound battle, playing tough defense and dominating inside the paint.
In Monday’s 73-65 win over Saint Joseph’s, it was much of the same for No. 16 UCLA, but in a slightly different manner.
The Bruins (9-2) played without senior forward Alyssia Brewer, who injured her ankle against Pepperdine. Without her interior presence,UCLA was instead led by its perimeter players.
Junior guard Thea Lemberger and freshman guard Nirra Fields led UCLA to a four-point halftime lead, as each player had a strong half. But despite the lead, the Bruins’ grasp on the game was loose as they struggled to separate themselves.
UCLA found that separation at the start of the second half, going on a quick 9-2 run to push its lead to double digits. From there, it was just a matter of holding off Saint Joseph’s (8-5), who surged several times.
UCLA outlasted its opponent, helped by a strong second half from redshirt junior forward Atonye Nyingifa, who finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
But it was Lemberger who stole the show, hitting all four of her three-point attempts and finishing with a season-high 20 points.
The game was UCLA’s last non-conference match before Pac-12 play begins. UCLA will open its conference schedule at Oregon on Friday.
Compiled by Kevin Bowman, Bruin Sports reporter.