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UCLA women’s basketball misses chance at upset with loss to No. 2 Stanford

Senior guard Charisma Osborne takes the ball to the hoop. Osborne tied for a team-high 13 points in her second game back from a left shoulder injury.(Mattias de los Rios Rogers/Daily Bruin)

women’s basketball

No. 2 Stanford 72
No. 8 UCLA59

By Leila Bivins

Jan. 13, 2023 10:35 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 13 at 10:57 p.m. 

The Bruins’ chances at an upset were crushed after a turbulent fourth quarter opposite the Cardinal.

No. 8 UCLA (14-2,3-2 Pac-12) tied No. 2 Stanford (17-1, 5-0) at the half but was shut out as the underdog Friday evening in Pauley Pavilion. Looking to avenge last season’s blowout loss at home, the Bruins kept the Cardinal at bay for the better half of the contest. But a 15-0 Cardinal run to open the fourth quarter put the nail in the coffin. 

“I don’t want anybody telling us, ‘Oh, you’re so young and you know, you’re making such great strides,’” said coach Cori Close. “At this point in the year, age ain’t nothing but a number. We have to take responsibility.”

Redshirt sophomore Emily Bessoir gave the Bruins their largest lead of the first quarter with back-to-back threes in the first two minutes of the game. The remainder of the quarter was tit for tat, with the largest scoring run of either team reaching only two possession advantages. 

Senior guard Charisma Osborne began to catch fire in the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers. The veteran appeared to find her stride after missing the Oregon State game on Jan. 1 because of a left shoulder injury, pacing the Bruins with eight points and six rebounds in the first half.

But Stanford’s aggressive man-to-man defense limited the Bruins’ offense and forced a shot clock violation with the score tied at 27. The offensive vaulters allowed for a 9-0 run. 

“We knew everything that Stanford was going to do,” said graduate student guard Gina Conti. “Obviously, there were mental lapses. You have to take away their A and B (options) but do it for 40 minutes. We can’t let them go on a huge run and never put a stop to it.”

The Bruins’ drought was ended again from deep with a 3-pointer from freshman forward Gabriela Jaquez. A set of free throws from senior guard Camryn Brown put UCLA right back in the game. 

Bessoir then forced the second turnover in two possessions, but the Bruins were unable to score off the play, only converting on one of the four Stanford turnovers until that point. Neither team scored for the remainder of the frame, leaving the score tied at 32 to close the half. 

In addition to the identical scores at halftime, both teams notched similar stats in the assist, block and steal columns. UCLA also held the first-ranked rebounding team in the PAC-12 to a two-rebound advantage to finish the half. 

Stanford began the third quarter with a 13-3 offensive surge led by guard Haley Jones with six points. The Bruins were down by 10 points, the largest deficit of the game, and again, the 3-point shot closed the gap to seven points. 

A block from Bessoir on the 3-point line forcing an air ball mid-range jumper from Stanford gave UCLA possession of the ball with a five-point deficit, and Osborne created an answer for the Bruins with a three-point-play. 

The Bruins locked down again on the defensive end and forced a shot clock violation on the Cardinal but were unable to convert, leaving them with a two-point deficit to start the final frame. 

“We were tied at halftime, and they went on a run and we never stopped them,” Bessoir said. “I think we need to grow … to get out of that, to reset, set our minds right and attack the next thing.” 

But whatever momentum the blue and gold earned was swiftly extinguished by a barrage of Stanford scoring. The Cardinal ripped off a 15-0 scoring run alongside five blocks from forward Cameron Brink that shut down the Bruins’ inside scoring. The Bruins went 0-of-10 before a 3-pointer from Conti ended the seven-minute offensive slump. Conti finished with eight points in the fourth, but the Cardinal outscored the Bruins 21-10 in the final quarter. 

“I’ll tell you the stat it came down to is we were down two on the boards at halftime,” Close said. “We ended up down 18.”

Despite being in striking distance in the first half, UCLA fell short of the finish line and was defeated by a top-ranked Stanford team, with a final score of 59-72. 

“You always talk about how you have to deal with the pain of discipline or the pain of regret,” Close said. “Our team has to deal with the pain of regret because we did not take care of things under our control.”

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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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