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UCLA women’s basketball quacks down on Oregon Ducks in 8-point victory

Senior guard Charisma Osborne handles the ball and escapes guard Te-Hina Paopao. Osborne contributed 17 points to UCLA’s eight-point victory Friday night over Oregon in Eugene. (Daily Bruin file photo)

women’s basketball

No. 10 UCLA82
No. 17 Oregon74

By Leila Bivins

Dec. 30, 2022 8:40 p.m.

Freshman guard Kiki Rice stole the show, leading the Bruins to victory and demonstrating the Bruins’ elite freshman talent in a battle between the top two recruiting classes in the nation.

No. 10 UCLA (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 17 Oregon (10-3,1-1) on the road behind a career-high 21 points from Rice. After forfeiting last year’s game against the Ducks on the road because of injuries and a short roster, the Bruins returned to face the Ducks and their own short-handed eight-man roster.

Rice commenced the campaign by rattling off eight early points, including a three-pointer after previously shooting just 1-16 from behind the arc. The Bruins were commanding from deep, going three-for-five in the first quarter against a Ducks team that paces the Pac-12 in made three-pointers. 

UCLA challenged Oregon’s offense with its man-to-man look while the Ducks experimented with a zone. Oregon managed a 0% shooting clip from beyond the arc while struggling to rely on two-time Pac-12 freshman of the week and headliner to the Ducks’ second-ranked recruiting class in forward Grace Vanslooten. The rookie was shut down by UCLA’s defense in the first half and remained scoreless despite being the Ducks’ leading scorer.

The Bruins pride themselves on their offensive rebounding – which ranks first in the conference at 16.92 per game – but Oregon chipped away at UCLA’s lead after putting up five second-chance points. The Ducks also began to pick up heat behind the arc, shooting three-of-four in the second quarter. 

With just over three minutes left in the second quarter, Oregon capitalized on a momentum shift and pulled within one. But UCLA’s freshman talent asserted itself after Rice regained control of the game with seven points in the final three minutes and one steal. UCLA closed the half with a six-point lead behind a three-point shot by Rice with the score 38-32.

Freshman guard Kiki Rice dribbles across the three-point line. Rice put up a career-high 21 points and logged four steals and four rebounds to help lift the Bruins above the Ducks. (Kaiya Pomeroy-Tso/Daily Bruin senior staff)

After graduate student guard Gina Conti opened the second half with a three-pointer to bring UCLA to 7-15 from behind the arc, Oregon answered with a 7-0 run to bring the score to 43-44. However, the Bruins weren’t fazed. The blue and gold answered immediately with an eight-point run behind a pair of inside shots from senior guard Charisma Osborne. 

Rice’s career night continued in the fourth quarter. An early three-point play brought the rookie’s total to 19 points as she led the Bruins on a 9-0 run. The Bruins continued to control the pace of the game, extending the lead to 15 points. 

After taking a hit to the shoulder going for a loose ball, Osborne went down and was pulled out of the game with 17 points.  

The tide appeared to be shifting as the Ducks put full-court pressure on the Bruins. Vanslooten ramped up the scoring, and coupled with guards Te-Hina Paopao and Endyia Rogers, the Ducks went on a 11-0 scoring run to cut the lead to seven points after it ballooned to 18 in the quarter. 

However, the Bruins were bailed out by a three-point attempt from the Ducks that found the end of the net and would have made it a one-possession game, but the shooter had stepped out of bounds.  

Ten second-chance points courtesy of the blue and gold’s dominance on the glass late in the game allowed UCLA to stay ahead. Despite the Ducks’ late comeback attempt, the Bruins finished with the eight-point victory in Oregon, a 82-74 decision.

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Leila Bivins | Sports contributor
Bivins is currently a Sports contributor on the men's volleyball beat.
Bivins is currently a Sports contributor on the men's volleyball beat.
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