The No. 15 UCLA women’s basketball team (18-7, 9-5 Pac-12) went winless on its Oregon road trip, but perhaps the biggest loss sustained was guard Jordin Canada.
The junior was injured late in the second quarter of the team’s matchup against No. 9 Oregon State (23-3, 12-2) on Sunday following a hard collision with Oregon State’s Marie Gulich immediately after an offensive rebound in her team’s eventual 68-61 loss.
“She’s doing well,” said coach Cori Close of Canada’s condition after the game. “She’s with us, and we’re all hoping for the best moving forward.”
With its floor general sidelined, UCLA was then left in dire need of a spark to carry its offense – a spark provided by sophomore guard Kennedy Burke, who helped ignite the team’s offense to a 6-of-9 start out of the halftime break for its first lead of the game.
“Even before Canada went out, I thought (Burke) was having one of her best games. She was so assertive. She was absolutely locked in, and she knew the game plan,” Close said.
Burke made her mark all over the court on both sides of the ball en route to her game-high 18-point, six-assist and five-steal performance.
“As a rule for myself, I’m supposed to be a versatile defender, so I have to obviously play good defense for my team,” said Burke. “The most important thing is that I have to have really good communication so that we’re all in sync together.”
UCLA went up 46-42 before a 9-0 run from Oregon State put the Bruins back into a deficit. The Bruins would come as close as 51-48 early in the fourth off a midrange jumper from senior guard Kari Korver, but a sputtering offense down the stretch kept them from cutting into the Beavers’ lead any further.
Four Beavers finished in double-figure scoring. Oregon State guard Sydney Wiese was one assist shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Junior forward Monique Billings, who scored a career-high 30 points during the two teams’ last contest, was held to 17 points on 6-of-20 shooting by the Beavers’ aggressive double-teams.
The Bruins faced a 45-33 deficit in the boards with the Beavers asserting their presence against their opponents and completing stops on defense by securing as many defensive rebounds than the Bruins had total rebounds. Against Oregon State’s 2-3 zone, UCLA struggled to find open scoring opportunities, converting on just 36.2 percent of its field-goal attempts.
“Not counting points off rebounds, we would’ve won the game,” Close said. “We were forcing them into the right first shots. And that’s what you want to do, you want to force one hard shot. The problem that we had was we didn’t allow just one. We gave them second and third opportunities.”
In Friday’s contest against the Oregon Ducks (17-9, 7-7), UCLA found itself on the wrong end of several scoring runs in the eventual 84-75 loss.
The Bruins never led after a 10-1 Duck run forced UCLA into a 22-11 first-quarter deficit. UCLA trailed as much as 16 in the second quarter before going into the halftime break down 41-27.
UCLA redshirt senior guard Nicole Kornet netted two consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth frame to come as close as 66-60, but a five-minute scoring drought rendered UCLA helpless in its eventual loss.
“We started off pretty slow. It started with warm-ups. We really don’t have good warm-ups so it was just a domino effect from there,” Burke said.
Behind a balanced overall performance, Oregon shot 28-of-56 from the field, including nine deep-range connections, five of which contributed to guard Lexi Bando’s season-high 25 points.
The freshman duo consisting of guard Sabrina Ionescu and forward Ruthy Hebard also finished with several impressive stat lines. Ionescu had a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists to go along with Hebard’s ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 boards.
Canada had her third straight game of 20 or more points, finishing with 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists, but it was not enough to lift her team, who shot at just a 36.1 percent clip. Billings recorded her 15th double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds to go along with two blocks.
The Bruins have now lost three of their last four matches after winning six in a row.
“I love our effort,” said Close following the two games. “We just got to clean up some of our technique before our games against the Washington schools on the weekend.”