Senior guard Japreece Dean smiled as she jogged back from the foul line after sinking her first free throw of the night in the third quarter. She had broken the record for most consecutive free throws by a Bruin.
Dean went 5-for-5 from the foul line in UCLA women’s basketball’s (12-9, 5-4 Pac 12) 83-56 victory over Washington State (7-14, 2-8) on Friday evening to continue its perfect all-time home record of 31-0 against the Cougars. Dean passed Michelle Greco’s long standing record of 32 free-throws set in the 2002-2003 season with 37 free throws and counting.
“It feels great to make free throws,” Dean said. “We do a lot of visualization before practice and shoot a lot in practice too. So I think that helps the coaches instilling confidence in every one of us to make free throws.”
The Bruins went 11-of-15 from the foul line in Friday night’s contest against Washington State. The game commenced in a back-and-forth scoring battle between the two teams, with the Cougars outshooting the Bruins 61.5 to 38 percent in the first quarter, but UCLA still held a 1-point lead heading into the second.
“They are a very good offensive team.” said coach Cori Close. “I thought we would be able to score points, but if you look at their games … we knew they could score the ball.”
The Bruins increased the separation in the second, getting nine straight defensive stops to start the quarter. Washington State was unable to score for the first 4:89 of the period, allowing UCLA seven points during that stretch. The Bruins would enter the second half with a 37-25 lead.
The Cougars attempted a comeback in the third period, draining five 3-pointers across seven possessions. But it was not enough.
UCLA boasted a 16-point lead going into the final quarter – a lead they eventually extended to 27 to win the game 83-56.
Sophomore forward Michaela Onyenwere lead the Bruins with 21 points and 10 rebounds, recording her eighth double-double of the season.
“(Onyenwere) is our go-to player, no matter what,” said senior guard Kennedy Burke. “She knows how to score the basketball, and she knows that we all depend on her to score the basketball really well. And I feel like in those tough situations when its close, we know to always go to her because she is really consistent with shooting the outside shot or getting the rebound.”
Burke logged 18 points on the night, going 8-of-11 from the field and securing six total rebounds. The Bruins collectively shot 45 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Cougars 51-27. More than half of these rebounds came on the offensive boards.
“(Burke) got some incredible rebounds,” Close said. “Either out-of-area rebounds or really difficult rebounds – and those are ones that you have to fight for.”
The Bruins will face Washington (8-14, 1-9) on Sunday afternoon for a chance at another weekend sweep.