Cori Close saw her players taking a picture with little girls as they made their way to the press room.
“The opportunity to give back and promote girls and women in sports and make an impact on young girls, to me that actually was the best part of my day,” the coach said.
UCLA women’s basketball (13-9, 6-4 Pac-12) defeated Washington (8-15, 1-10) 76-60 on Sunday afternoon as fans celebrated National Girls & Women in Sports Day.
The Bruins led in the first quarter, logging 30 points and hitting 76.5 percent from the field.
“We were really crisp in passing,” Close said. “We were hunting for the shots that we know we’re best at.”
In the second quarter, UCLA shot 50 percent from the field, but gave up eight turnovers.
UCLA finished the match with 23 turnovers, seven of which were from Japreece Dean. The senior guard gives up the third most turnovers in the conference.
Dean said although there were difficulties against the Huskies, she credits the help from her teammates and coaches in Sunday’s victory.
“They instill a lot of confidence in us and without them it would be hard,” Dean said. “They encourage us to help our mental and our body (strength).”
Close said although Dean turned the ball over, she still made the right plays.
“I told (Dean) a couple of her turnovers in the first half I thought were great turnovers,” Close said. “They were aggressive, she’s going hard, she’s working on attacking to get downhill going to her left.”
On the offensive end, Dean went 6-of-9 from the field against the Huskies and tallied seven assists.
“(Dean) did a great job of probing the paint,” said redshirt freshman guard Lindsey Corsaro. “She hit me on a lot of shots where she drew herself into defense and I was open.”
Corsaro led the Bruins in scoring, registering 14 points and going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Washington trailed UCLA by 24 at the end of the first half – shooting 21 percent from the field – but outscored the Bruins in the third and fourth quarters. The Huskies shot 47.1 percent in the final quarter.
“We lost our aggressiveness and we started playing conservative, as opposed to making (Washington guard Amber Melgoza) commit plays off the bounce into our lane,” Close said. “She was the center of our scouting report.”
Melgoza logged 23 points against the Bruins – leading both teams. The guard ranks ninth in the Pac-12 in points per game, averaging 17.3.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t sustain (our intensity) through the 41 points in the second half on the defensive end,” Close said. “I was playing a lot of unusual lineups, but in order to have opportunities, you have to learn how to come in and keep the level high.”
Sunday’s victory at Pauley Pavilion marks the Bruins’ second win of the weekend after beating out Washington State on Friday.