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UCLA women’s basketball wraps up regular season with victory over Arizona State

Junior guard Charisma Osborne handles the ball around the perimeter. The junior guard put up a team-high 17 points in UCLA women’s basketball’s win over Arizona State on Saturday. (Lauren Kim/Daily Bruin)

Women’s basketball

Arizona State52

By Lauryn Wang

Feb. 26, 2022 1:24 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 27 at 10:44 p.m.

For the first time this season, the Bruins secured a second consecutive victory on the road.  

In its final game of the regular season, UCLA women’s basketball (13-11, 8-8 Pac-12) defeated Arizona State (12-14, 4-9) by a score of 59-52 in Tempe. Coming off an 18-point victory over No. 12 Arizona on Thursday, the team was able to complete an undefeated week in the Grand Canyon State behind 17 points and seven rebounds from junior guard Charisma Osborne. 

“The past two games were really good games for us to continue building (chemistry),” Osborne said. “As we go into the (Pac-12) tournament, it’s only going to get better. I’m happy with how we’re looking right now, and I’m excited to see what we continue to grow into.”

The Bruins posted the first points of the game with a 3-pointer from graduate student guard Natalie Chou, but after a bucket in the paint from redshirt senior guard Chantel Horvat put the team up 5-4, the Sun Devils ripped off a 10-0 run to take control of the game early.

Osborne and graduate student guard IImar’I Thomas were both held scoreless on three combined shot attempts, while the Wildcats shot 5-of-8 from the field to close out the quarter with an 18-11 lead. 

The blue and gold again opened up the following quarter with a 3-pointer, this time from Osborne off a screen from Horvat. The two teams started to trade baskets as the Bruins began to catch up to the Sun Devils.

Graduate student guard Jaelynn Penn kept the offense flowing, grabbing her own rebound for a put-back and finding redshirt freshman forward Angela Dugalić inside for a layup. As the Sun Devils pushed the tempo in transition, the Bruins responded with a jumper from Osborne off an inbound play and a 3-pointer by Thomas to tie the game up at 25 apiece with 5:36 remaining in the second quarter.

Coach Cori Close said she challenged her team to follow Penn’s example and box out the opponent with more intensity. 

“Jaelynn Penn was the only one playing with aggression in the first quarter, so I got on them about being the aggressor and dominating the boards,” Close said. “We sort of took a step back … and needed to regroup and be the aggressors the rest of the way.”

The Sun Devils focused their defensive efforts on Thomas, double-teaming her in the paint whenever she touched the ball. When they couldn’t convert off a turnover from Thomas, the Bruins secured their first lead of the game since the 6:40 mark in the first quarter with a make from behind the arc by Obsorne. The Sun Devils then went cold, shooting 1-of-7 to close out the half.

UCLA stayed in contention by out-rebounding Arizona State 21-13 in the first two quarters. Two free throws from Osborne capped a perfect 6-of-6 showing from the charity stripe for the Bruins in the first half as they entered the halftime locker room with a 34-31 lead.

To open the second half, UCLA immediately forced an Arizona State turnover. After notching two total turnovers through two quarters, the Sun Devils matched that tally over a minute into the third quarter.

Horvat said the improvement on the defensive end coming out of the halftime break made the difference in the second half.

“We just stepped up our D,” Horvat said. “A lot of those turnovers came in the first five or seven minutes of the third quarter, and we just did a great job of picking up the intensity on D.”

Close added that Horvat’s energy was part of what allowed the Bruins to sustain their high level of intensity in the second half. “(Horvat) had (two) rebounds at halftime and 10 at the end of the game,” Close said. “Someone like that sets the tone for how we are going to respond.”

For the first three minutes of the third frame, neither team was able to sink a shot. The Sun Devils put up the first points with two free throws, but the Bruins stretched the lead to 39-33 – their largest lead of the game to that point – after junior guard Camryn Brown split a pair of free throws and Thomas cleaned up a miss from Dugalić for two second-chance points.

Shortly after, UCLA went on a 3 ½-minute scoring drought while coughing up five turnovers in that stretch as Arizona State pulled within two points before regaining the lead for the first time in the second half with a made triple from guard/forward Jade Loville.

Osborne quickly answered from deep, and a steal from the junior guard led to a put-back layup from Penn to give the Bruins a 46-42 lead at the end of the third quarter. 

The two teams traded inside baskets on four straight possessions to start the fourth quarter, keeping UCLA’s lead at four points. The Bruins then responded to a layup from Arizona State guard Jaddan Simmons with a 3-pointer by Thomas – her second of the day and sixth for the team. 

Two offensive boards led to two put-back layups from Dugalić and Thomas as the Bruins stretched the lead to nine, but the Sun Devils immediately answered with two straight buckets of their own to put the score at 57-52.

UCLA held Arizona State to 0-of-8 shooting from the field for the rest of the game, and Osborne cemented a seven-point win for the Bruins with two made free throws.

Close said her team will look to capitalize on the success from this weekend ahead of the first round of the Pac-12 tournament Wednesday.

“I think we’re in a good position to focus all of the momentum that we’ve generated and the confidence that we’ve earned,” Close said. “Now let’s have some fun in an amazing Pac-12 tournament.”

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Lauryn Wang | Assistant Sports editor
Wang is a 2022-2023 assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, men's soccer, men's golf and track and field beats. She was previously a reporter on the women's basketball beat and contributor on the men's and women's golf beats. Wang is a third-year history major and community engagement and social change minor.
Wang is a 2022-2023 assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, men's soccer, men's golf and track and field beats. She was previously a reporter on the women's basketball beat and contributor on the men's and women's golf beats. Wang is a third-year history major and community engagement and social change minor.
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