UCLA women’s basketball suffers loss to Colorado in tightly-contested overtime
Freshman guard Londynn Jones drives the lane. Jones came off the bench and contributed a team-high 14 points in the Bruins’ battle against the Buffaloes on Friday evening. (Anya Yakimenko/Daily Bruin staff)
|No. 8 UCLA||70|
|No. 25 Colorado||73|
By Alexis Hinkle
Jan. 27, 2023 8:54 p.m.
Despite the perseverance of the Bruin freshmen and a back-and-forth game, the blue and gold was unable to pull-off a win in overtime.
No. 8 UCLA women’s basketball (17-4, 6-3 Pac-12) fell to No. 25 Colorado (16-4, 7-2) in Boulder on Friday evening. With the second place spot in the Pac-12 on the line, the Buffaloes snatched the opportunity from the Bruins with the 73-70 decision and maintained their perfect home record this season.
After an early 3-pointer from redshirt sophomore forward Emily Bessoir, both teams were shooting low from the field. The blue and gold shot 33.3%, making only six of its 18 attempted field goals. Both the Buffaloes and the Bruins weathered scoring droughts and were unable to be consistent to begin the contest.
Coach Cori Close said the Bruins were unable to maintain their level of play from the beginning.
“The 3s to start off were really key,” Close said. “Then we settled in, but I think it was really just a possession here, possession there. We lost focus on what we were trying to accomplish together.”
But while Colorado continued to miss its baskets, UCLA willed itself out of the rut with the help of its top-ranked freshmen.
With steals from freshman guards Kiki Rice and Londynn Jones, the Bruins assumed the lead. Freshman forward Lina Sontag contributed to a 9-0 run with a layup and a free throw of her own. Despite a slow start, the Bruins ended the first quarter leading 19-13.
After it looked like the Bruins would pick up the pace, the second frame started off stagnant once again. The Buffaloes managed to erase the Bruins’ six-point lead, tying the game at 19 apiece.
But the freshmen stepped up once again.
Freshman forward Gabriela Jaquez ended the Bruins’ early scoring drought with a make beyond the arc. Jaquez made nearly all of her shots in the second quarter, only missing one layup in eight minutes on the floor.
Jaquez said her mindset was to convert open looks and support the team in its mission.
“I just came out ready to play,” Jaquez said. “If the shots open for me to take it, I’m going to take it, especially in the post. I like my post-ups. They went in, and I was just doing everything I could for the team.”
The freshmen off of the bench, including Jaquez, contributed 35 points.
Despite the freshmen keeping the Bruins on top at the end of the first half 33-28, the Buffaloes avenged a 1-of-7 percentage beyond the arc and came into the second half shooting almost perfectly from deep. They opened with two 3-pointers in the first two minutes, and another to tie up the game 39-39.
With five made 3-pointers in the rest of the frame, the Buffaloes would maintain the lead.
But the Bruins would not relent as Bessior – who led the Bruins with 13 points in their last contest against Washington State – came back with a 3-pointer of her own. Bessoir scored nine of her 12 points in the third quarter.
Even though the Buffaloes led at the end of the third quarter, the Bruins brought the contest to a one point game in the last minute of the second half.
After two made free throws from senior guard Charisma Osborne, the game was tied 64-64 in the last seconds of regular play, taking the Bruins and Buffaloes into overtime.
Osborne opened the frame with a 3-pointer to put the Bruins on top. But as foul trouble led Bessoir, one of the team’s leading scorers, to foul out, and Rice and Jones had four of their own, the blue and gold’s depth was compromised.
The Buffaloes remained in striking distance down to the wire, when a 3-pointer from guard Kindyll Wetta found the bottom of the net with two seconds to play.
Jones, who led the Bruins with 14 points in tonight’s matchup, said the Buffaloes were impressive on the inside, but the Bruins fell flat on the defensive end.
“They had 42 points in the paint, so I think that had a big role in them winning,” Jones said. “Our job – on post defense, or even helping on the outside, things like that – we could’ve done a lot better.”
The Bruins may have entered overtime with a made 3-pointer from Osborne, but the Buffaloes ultimately closed with one from deep to win the game 73-70.
“It’s not the big plays, it’s the little ones in the middle that we lost focus for a second and gave up possession,” Close said. “In the next 36 hours, including me, how can everybody get one possession better? Everybody has to learn from that.”