In a tight fourth quarter, the Bruins shot lights out down the stretch to put the game on ice.
After being tied at 62 with just over with nine minutes left in the game, No. 13 UCLA women’s basketball (16-4, 7-2 Pac-12) scored 18 unanswered points en route to a 86-69 victory over the Washington Huskies (7-13, 1-8).
It was a back-and-forth battle the whole game, with the Bruins trailing at the half and leading by just one heading into the fourth. However, the Huskies were held without a field goal in the final 11 minutes of the game, and the Bruins’ win became the 800th in the team’s storied history.
Senior point guard Jordin Canada poured in 22 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Her running mate off the bench, junior guard Japreece Dean, scored 12 of her 17 points in the final frame. Dean was five-of-nine from deep, as she helped seal the victory for the Bruins.
“It felt awesome, especially just to get the win,” Dean said. “Our rim runners, our post players were just running hard down the floor … so everyone’s going to think about them in the paint, and that left me open.”
Canada’s two steals got her over the 300 mark for her career as she continues to have an impressive season on both ends of the floor, leading the Pac-12 in steals and averaging 15.5 points per game. As a senior, Canada holds an important leadership role, and she is well aware of her impact on her team.
“I just told my team that we had to stay aggressive, we had to keep attacking,” Canada said. “We knew that they weren’t really good in transition, and we knew that we could get points off of that.”
Coach Cori Close raved about Canada’s presence on the court, saying that she helped the team take charge and complete the comeback.
“I think it wasn’t about the coaches, it was about steady leadership from (Canada),” Close said. “I just thought she was very poised, she was saying the right things, she was directing the right way.”
The Bruins’ defense was poor out of the gate, as the Huskies went 8-of-12 from three in the first half. However, the Bruins were able to step up their defense and hold Washington to just two made threes in the second half.
UCLA utilized the full court press from the start, which allowed Washington to take so many open threes in the first half. Close didn’t pull back and continued to press the short seven-player Husky rotation. Although she kept them running the whole game, Close isn’t worried about her team being worn out heading into their next matchup.
“Welcome to the Pac-12, this is the way it is.” Close said. “We’ll recover, we’ll be wise, we’ll get off our legs and we’ll get ourselves ready to play.”
The Bruins look to continue their five-game winning streak against Washington State Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.