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UCLA women’s basketball takes down Oregon after pulling away in the third quarter

Redshirt sophomore forward Emily Bessoir sends off a contested 3-pointer. Bessoir totaled 20 points across the contest including two back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter to help the Bruins garner the lead over the Ducks. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)

Women’s Basketball


Oregon57
No. 18 UCLA67

By Francis Moon

Feb. 12, 2023 2:21 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 12 at 11:47 p.m.

Coming out of halftime knotted at 28, neither side had led by more than four all game.

Looking to break the trend with her team down 33-32 halfway through the third period, redshirt sophomore Emily Bessoir squared up from behind the arc for a fast-break 3.

After swishing it in, the forward grabbed a steal and sank another long-range bomb seconds later.

A corner 3 from freshman forward Gabriela Jaquez on the following possession brought the crowd and her brother, UCLA men’s basketball guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., to their feet, alongside several of his teammates and former Bruin guard Russell Westbrook courtside.

“It was really cool seeing Russell Westbrook on the sidelines. Every time I hit a shot or miss a shot, I hear him encouraging me,” said senior guard Charisma Osborne. “Even the men’s team, they were hyping us up, so it is really fun when we got the crowd behind us.”

No. 18 UCLA women’s basketball (20-6, 9-5 Pac-12) used the quick spurt to regain the lead for good en route to a 67-57 victory over Oregon (14-11, 5-9) at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday afternoon. Bessoir led the way with a season-high 20 points – including four 3-pointers – along with six rebounds and four steals, while freshman guard Londynn Jones chipped in 17 points off the bench.

Bessoir said the third-quarter spark was a result of the team’s defensive efforts and playing within the flow of the game as a team.

“We talked about defense, and that led to us getting good looks,” Bessoir said. “I know my teammates have my back, and when I’m open I can shoot.”

The Bruins took their first lead of the day just over a minute in courtesy of a layup from Osborne, but fell behind 10-6 thanks to a nearly four-minute scoreless stretch.

Jones provided a spark off the bench with five straight points before a 3 from Bessoir buoyed a six-point spurt from the Ducks to tie it back up at 14 with a minute left in the opening period.

“I try to take advantage of every opportunity and do whatever it is that my team needs,” Jones said. “Coming off the bench doesn’t really matter to me as long as I’m contributing in any aspect or any way.”

The blue and gold entered the second quarter down 16-14, but Osborne was able to knot it at 18 with two straight makes just minutes into the period. Neither team was able to break the tie for three minutes, combining to shoot 0-of-9 before Oregon forward Grace VanSlooten ended the drought with a short jumper.

“We can still win when we miss shots, but you got to still defend and rebound,” said coach Cori Close. “Oregon’s a really good rebounding team. They’ve got some excellent people and some great size. Credit them on that, they didn’t make it easy for us.”

Both teams managed to pick it up and revive a low-scoring second quarter, trading baskets for the rest of the half to enter the break tied at 28. Jones scored six of the Bruins’ final 10 points in the period, finishing the half leading the team with 11 points off the bench on 3-of-6 shooting.

Bessoir and Osborne combined for 13 points and three steals in the first half, though Bessoir shot 1-of-4 from 3-point territory while Osborne misfired on both her attempts. As a team, however, UCLA recorded a 34.4% clip from the floor including a 2-of-13 showing from deep through 20 minutes of play.

Former UCLA men’s basketball guard Russell Westbrook and current members of the Bruin squad cheer on the women’s basketball team during its 10-point victory over Oregon. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)

The Ducks once again put up the first points of the half, but the tight nature of the contest persisted as neither team could create separation by more than two points. But two unanswered 3-pointers from Bessoir just over five minutes into the third period gave the Bruins the largest lead of the game for either side at 38-33.

Trading points for the rest of the quarter, the Bruins headed into the closing frame ahead 47-40.

Oregon managed to trim the lead to three in 4 1/2 minutes, but Jones again weathered the storm with two jumpers. A 3-pointer from Duck guard Endyia Rogers tied it back up for the first time in the quarter, but a contested layup from freshman guard Kiki Rice, followed by another finish from Jones, helped their team pull away for good.

Rogers led Oregon with 19 points, while VanSlooten and guard Chance Gray added 13. For the home team, Osborne finished as the third-leading scorer with 13 while adding six assists. Despite a 6-of-16 shooting night, Osborne led the team’s perimeter defense with three steals and five rebounds, drawing praise from Close for her intangibles on the court.

“It’s so much more than what shows up on the stat sheet,” Close said. “It’s how she locks up the other team’s best player, it’s how she steadies us in the huddle. She’s a winner.”

Bessoir’s fourth 3 of the contest with 24 seconds remaining extended UCLA’s lead to double digits to help wrap up its third straight victory and improve to 12-2 at home.

“We just thrive off the energy in this building,” Close said. “A few years back before the pandemic, we had one of the longest home winning streaks in the country. We want to get back to that, and having more consistent big crowds is a huge piece of that.”

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Francis Moon | Sports senior staff
Moon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, men's soccer, track and field and cross country beats and a contributor on the women's basketball and women's tennis beats, while also contributing for Arts. He is a fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student.
Moon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, men's soccer, track and field and cross country beats and a contributor on the women's basketball and women's tennis beats, while also contributing for Arts. He is a fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student.
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