Trailing for the majority of the game, UCLA dropped its Pac-12 opener to conference rival Stanford, which had not beaten UCLA since March 2015.
No. 11 UCLA women’s basketball (9-3, 0-1 Pac-12) was upset by Stanford (7-6, 1-0) 76-65, a team that sits outside the AP top-25 poll for the first time since 2001. The road loss was the Bruins’ second to an unranked opponent this season.
“We knew we had to fight back since we didn’t come off to great starts for all four quarters, to be quite honest,” said senior guard Jordin Canada. “I thought we kept chipping away, but we just couldn’t chip away enough for us to take the lead.”
The two teams exchanged runs throughout the game. The Cardinal went ahead by double digits multiple times, but an 11-2 UCLA run at the end of the second quarter, followed by a 10-2 run to close out the third, would keep the Bruins within striking distance.
However, UCLA only shot 31 percent in the game. The team struggled to knock down shots, despite getting open looks down the stretch.
“I was just playing my game. … I don’t really care about the 28 shots that I took,” Canada said. “I thought they were good shots, (although) some of them were a little bit forced, but I was just doing what I could for my team.”
Canada went an unusual 7-of-28 for 20 points in the game, considering she is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field this season. But the guard was much more concerned about the loss.
“I think she is a much better jump shooter than she showed (to be) tonight, but she’s all about winning,” said coach Cori Close. “She would much rather have a win than have it be about her.”
The Bruins forced 20 turnovers – while only committing nine – but Close said that forcing turnovers should be a standard, and that she actually thought the team’s defensive effort was a disappointment.
“I’m glad we turned them over a few times, but that’s what we should be doing,” Close said. “But this wasn’t even close to our best defensive game.”
Stanford shot 62 percent from the field in the second half, and outrebounded UCLA 48 to 33 in the game, squandering the Bruins’ comeback opportunity.
Even on defensive possessions that were played to near perfection by the Bruins, the Cardinal still managed to find the bottom of the net.
Stanford guard Brittany McPhee banked in a scoop shot that she just tossed up, falling to the ground while escaping a shot clock violation in the third quarter. She finished the night with 26 points, including 5-of-9 from behind the arc.
“I think it was a great opportunity to play with and against great players, but it wasn’t the outcome that we wanted,” said junior guard Japreece Dean.
Dean had 14 points including four 3-pointers in her first Pac-12 contest, and gave the Bruins a spark off the bench. Senior forward Monique Billings also added 13 points and 10 rebounds with her sixth double-double of the season.
UCLA will finish its five-game road trip with a visit to California (10-2, 1-0), which defeated USC 76-64 in its conference opener Friday night.