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UCLA women’s basketball defeats Fresno State in final nonconference game of season

Freshman forward Gabriela Jaquez goes head-to-head with a defender. Jaquez was the Bruins’ second highest scorer in Tuesday’s contest with 15 points. (Kaiya Pomeroy-Tso/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Alexis Hinkle

Dec. 20, 2022 9:20 p.m.

This post was updated Dec. 20 at 10:07 p.m.

After seven matches at home, the Bruins ended nonconference play undefeated in Pauley Pavilion.

In its final nonconference matchup, No. 11 UCLA women’s basketball (12-1, 1-0 Pac-12) defeated Fresno State (7-6) by a score of 82-48 at Pauley Pavillion Tuesday night. This was the Bruins 11th all time victory against the Bulldogs.

Despite Fresno State stealing the first points of the first frame, senior guard Charisma Osborne, UCLA’s leading scorer, took control of the game after a block, causing another turnover by Fresno State. Two Bruin freshmen responded in their typical fashion: Freshman guard Kiki Rice threw a long ball down the court to freshman forward Gabriela Jaquez to tie up the game 6-6. The Bruins would not trail again.

The Bulldogs have led at the end of the first quarter in every contest this season. However, the Bruins broke that streak. UCLA finished the first frame ahead by a score of 17-9 after the blue and gold managed to force four Bulldog turnovers in the span of five minutes.

After making only eight of 19 field goals in the first frame, the blue and gold put up a better shooting percentage in the second quarter, scoring nine of their 16 attempts. Senior guard Camryn Brown opened up the second court with a layup, but Fresno State responded with a 3. 

Coach Cori Close emphasized that the improved shooting comes as a result of team effort.

“When we’re shooting higher percentages is when we’re playing with better teamwork,” Close said. “When you see more teamwork plays, that’s when you see our percentages go up. That’s what our consistency needs to grow into.”

Fresno State continued to force the defensive pressure on the Bruins, pushing the blue and gold to a shot clock violation early in the second quarter. Guard Amaya West – who currently boasts  five consecutive double figure scoring performances – hit a three to subside UCLA, making the score only a difference of two with eight minutes to go in the first half. The Bulldogs were shooting 80% from beyond the arc going into halftime. 

But the blue and gold kept the scoring heat going with an 11-0 run in just over two minutes, entering the locker room with a 40-25 lead. 

Freshman guard Kiki Rice attempts to pass the ball to a teammate while the Bulldog defense surrounds her. Rice collected 14 points and six rebounds to assist UCLA in defeating Fresno State on Tuesday.
(Kaiya Pomeroy-Tso/Daily Bruin senior staff)

After forfeiting nine turnovers in the first half, the Bruins responded by forcing the Bulldogs to drive the ball out of bounds and reach a shot clock violation in just one minute of the second half. The Bulldogs would have 23 turnovers throughout the contest.

Close said UCLA forced these turnovers to disrupt the Fresno State rhythm.

“We can’t let them play when they’re most comfortable,” Close said. “They have to feel like their first and second options are really hard to get and make a tougher pass than they’re used to.”

Fresno State responded to its back-to-back turnovers with a 9-0 run at the end of the third frame, causing UCLA to have a 2 ½ minute scoring drought. Jaquez ended the drought with a layup and a steal to finish the quarter and keep the blue and gold up 58-41. Jaquez would lead the contest with four of the Bruins’ 12 steals. 

“Part of our game was not letting the other team touch it and causing havoc,” Jaquez said. “I was trying to not let my player get the ball, and get my hands all over the ball.”

The Bulldogs scored only seven points in the last frame, while the blue and gold collected 24 of their own. All 10 of the Bruins who saw the court scored during the contest, resulting in the Bruins escaping with a 82-48 win.

Osborne said the blue and gold put in the work together to earn this victory.

“We want to play defense and we want to get easy shots on offense,” Osborne said. “Everyone was so selfless and wanting to do whatever it takes to win.”

UCLA will now head back into this season’s conference play. The Bruins will head to Oregon to face the University of Oregon and Oregon State on Dec. 30 and Jan. 1, respectively.

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Alexis Hinkle
Hinkle is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's tennis, men's golf and track and field beats. She was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats. She is also a second-year sociology student.
Hinkle is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's tennis, men's golf and track and field beats. She was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats. She is also a second-year sociology student.
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