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Women’s basketball suffers loss to Washington in final road game of regular season

Junior forward Michaela Onyenwere scored 12 points and added a career-high 17 rebounds in No. 8 UCLA women’s basketball’s road loss to Washington on Sunday. (MacKenzie Coffman/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Women's basketball


No. 8 UCLA68
Washington74

By Michael Waldman

Feb. 23, 2020 7:11 p.m.

For the fourth straight game, the Bruins trailed by double digits. And this time, their late-game push fell short of a comeback.

No. 8 UCLA women’s basketball (23-4, 12-4 Pac-12) lost to Washington (13-14, 5-11) 74-68 in its final road game of the regular season.

The Bruins fell behind the Huskies 67-54 with 2:38 left in the contest, before a 9-0 UCLA run trimmed the deficit to just four points. Then redshirt sophomore guard Lindsey Corsaro misfired on a 3-pointer, junior forward Michaela Onyenwere committed a loose-ball foul and Washington closed out a home victory.

The Bruins – the worst 3-point shooting team by percentage in the conference – went 5-of-26 from beyond the arc, with freshman guard Charisma Osborne converting a team-high three 3-pointers.

For the first time this season, coach Cori Close inserted sophomore guard Kiara Jefferson and freshman guard Camryn Brown into the starting lineup. Jefferson finished with five points on 2-of-9 shooting and hit a 3-pointer in her third consecutive game.

Brown picked up two fouls in two minutes and did not score after not attempting a field goal. The freshman from Lewisville, Texas, is the only UCLA player to have more fouls committed than points scored this season, as she has 26 and 20, respectively.

Close said she wanted to alter the starting five to combat her team’s pattern of slow starts.

“I changed the starting lineup today because we haven’t been starting very well,” Close said. “I was hopeful we were going to get a spark (from Jefferson), and I just wanted to give (us) a more defensive lineup to start the game.”

Washington went 7-of-18 from distance in its final home game of the season, hitting five of those 3-pointers in the second half.

Three of the seven 3-pointers came from guard Rita Pleskevich, who – along with center Ali Bamberger – set a career high in points with 15 and 12 points scored, respectively. Guard Amber Melgoza led the Huskies with 22 points on 8-of-17 from the field in her final home game on Washington’s Senior Day.

Close said her squad is accountable for defensive miscues.

“There were so many errors that we had to take responsibility for, (as) we make mistakes and then we’re missing shots,” Close said. “We’re really struggling playing in rhythm, and we had too many mental errors and they just add up so fast.”

Despite redshirt junior guard Natalie Chou’s continued absence because of injury – which Close said is likely to end, as Chou is expected back in the lineup next weekend – junior forward Lauryn Miller also started the game on the bench for the first time this season. Miller scored just two points and grabbed one rebound – both of which tied her lowest marks of the campaign.

Miller attributed her rebounding performance to a shift in strategy on the boards.

“I think most of (the reason for fewer rebounds) was tipping,” Miller said. “I was super focused on just trying to get the ball out to who had a better chance to secure it, versus running the risk of the other team coming up with it.”

The Bruins, however, reeled in 20 offensive rebounds, their most since grabbing 28 in their overtime victory against the Huskies on Jan. 24.

Onyenwere led the way with a career-high 17 rebounds – seven of which were offensive rebounds – but went just 3-of-13 from the field after going 1-of-11 on Friday against Washington State.

“There were a lot of shots to be rebounded because we didn’t shoot great,” Onyenwere said. “Every day is just about getting better.”

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Michael Waldman | Sports senior staff
Waldman is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, track and field, beach volleyball and men's soccer beats. Waldman was also a reporter on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats. He is also a political science student at UCLA from Alameda, California.
Waldman is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, track and field, beach volleyball and men's soccer beats. Waldman was also a reporter on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats. He is also a political science student at UCLA from Alameda, California.
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