A late fourth-quarter run was not enough for the Bruins to notch a win.
UCLA women’s basketball (0-1) dropped the first game of its 2018-2019 season to Loyola Marymount (1-0) 69-63 on Tuesday night, although it wasn’t without a late-game comeback from senior guards Japreece Dean and Kennedy Burke.
An 8-0 run was sparked by a Dean 3-pointer with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter, which cut the LMU lead down to seven points. Burke followed with a 3 of her own, and on the following possession grabbed an offensive rebound for a put-back layup, trimming the deficit to two points.
Dean said the pressure put on by the defense created momentum, which allowed the Bruins’ offense to string together a run in the last few minutes of play.
“We knew it was the fourth quarter and had to pick up our pressure,” Dean said. “And we thrive off that pressure.”
LMU, however, hit a series of free throws to make it a two-possession game, icing UCLA’s comeback.
The Bruins drew 15 fouls from the Lions’ defense, but UCLA only got to the charity stripe five times. LMU, however, drew 16 fouls and was able to make 12-of-15 from the free throw line.
“They were the aggressors,” said coach Cori Close. “We were not aggressive in a team-like fashion.”
Twenty-five of UCLA’s 79 shot attempts were from downtown. The Bruins went just 5-of-25 from behind the arc and missed 16 of their 27 layups.
“We played one-on-one and didn’t do things together and didn’t execute our game plan,” Close said.
That lack of cohesion translated into the defensive side of the ball, as the Bruins committed 18 turnovers in comparison to Saturday’s exhibition game with only eight.
“The physicality and the pressure,” Dean said. “I don’t think we handled it well.”
One of the bright spots for the Bruin offense was freshman guard Ahlana Smith’s contributions from off the bench. Smith shot 60 percent from the field, scoring 13 points in her first official UCLA game.
“It gives me a lot of confidence going into the season,” Smith said.
Close said she will use the results of Tuesday night’s defeat as a formulaic learning experience.
“I don’t think the outcome does (affect their mentality),” Close said. “We have a saying that ‘E plus R equals O.’ Meaning, events plus response equals outcomes. So we’ll have to see our response.”