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UCLA women’s basketball leashes Washington Huskies with Charisma Osborne’s shot

Senior guard Charisma Osborne dribbles down the court. Osborne posted 12 points – including the half-court heave at the halftime buzzer – and drew a team-high seven fouls Friday night. (Brandon Morquecho/Daily Bruin)

Women’s Basketball

No. 9 UCLA51

By Gavin Carlson

Jan. 20, 2023 9:38 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 21 at 3:06 p.m. 

Sometimes it just takes one shot to change everything.

On Friday night in Seattle, that shot was a Charisma Osborne prayer from beyond half-court.

The Bruins were trailing one of the Pac-12’s weaker sides by 12 points and nearing the end of their worst opening 20 minutes of the season when the senior guard took an in-bounds pass with seconds left in the first half. 

Then Osborne’s heave swished through the cylinder without even grazing the rim, and the blue and gold turned the Huskies’ upset bid into an epic comeback victory.

Osborne’s triple from more than 50 feet away ignited a 17-0 run to help No. 9 UCLA women’s basketball (16-3, 5-2 Pac-12) earn a tight win at Washington (10-7, 2-5) by a score of 51-47. The Bruins went 20.6% from the field before the shot but outscored the Huskies 33-20 after the make to avoid a second loss in three games.

UCLA made seven of its first 12 shots and forced Washington to miss its first 11 shots over the first seven minutes of the third quarter.

Freshman forward Lina Sontag opened the second half with a 3-point bucket before following a layup from freshman guard Kiki Rice with a mid-range jumper. But despite the 7-0 start to the half in less than two minutes, the Bruins still trailed by two.

But Osborne swiftly grabbed UCLA its first lead of the game just a minute later with her second 3-point make of the contest. Then another pair of back-to-back baskets from Rice and Sontag stretched the Bruins’ newfound lead to seven with three and a half minutes remaining in the third.

In less than seven minutes of gametime, the blue and gold went from being down by 12 to leading 34-27.

After trading scores, a jump shot from graduate student guard Gina Conti gave UCLA a 40-35 lead heading into the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to a 56.3% shooting in the third quarter, which included 12 points off of turnovers. 

Conti opened the final period with a 3-pointer and Rice followed with a fastbreak bucket to push the Bruins lead to 10 with 8:21 remaining in the contest. But the blue and gold’s offensive troubles from earlier in the game returned as UCLA went scoreless over the next six and a half minutes.

During the Bruins’ drought, the Huskies went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to two with just over two minutes left. 

Suddenly, UCLA’s epic comeback was on the verge of being overcome.

Then the freshman duo of Rice and Sontag came through one more time – this time in the clutch. 

Rice ended Washinton’s run with a floating jumper on the right wing before Sontag drew a pair of fouls and made a pair of free throws. The first-year players finished with 12 and 11 points respectively as the Bruins closed out the win despite shooting just 3-of-11 from the field in the final period.

The win would have been difficult to imagine early on as UCLA looked like a completely different team prior to Osborne’s half-court make.

The Bruins were held to their lowest-scoring first quarter in a conference game thus far this season and second-lowest opening period overall as they sputtered to a five-point quarter on 2-of-16 shooting from the field.

Outside of two second-chance baskets granted by Osborne and redshirt sophomore forward Emily Bessoir, the blue and gold generated nothing from the floor and finished the quarter with four turnovers, two more than the Bruins’ total of made shots.

Fortunately for UCLA, Washington’s offense was only slightly better through the opening period. The Huskies shot just 4-of-15 from the field and had a pair of turnovers, but their 10 points were enough to double the Bruins’ output heading into the second quarter.

UCLA improved slightly from its 12.5% shooting and five points in the first quarter by shooting 31.6% and scoring 13 points in the second. But once again the blue and gold was outscored as Washington collected 17 points in the quarter and jumped out to a 12-point lead with seconds left in the first half. 

But then the Osborne heave happened, and the rest is history.

With the win, the Bruins remain within one game of first place in the loss column behind Colorado and Stanford. They’ll take on Washington State next on Sunday in Pullman, Washington.

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Gavin Carlson | Sports staff
Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.
Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.
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