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In convincing performance, UCLA women’s basketball scores runaway win over Cal

Freshman guard Londynn Jones drives toward the basket, looking for an open shot. Jones led the Bruins to victory Friday against California with 19 points of her own. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)

Women’s Basketball

No. 16 UCLA67

By Alexis Hinkle

Feb. 17, 2023 8:24 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 17 at 8:45 p.m.

The last time the Bruins encountered the Bears, they struggled to put away early baskets and trailed at the end of the first quarter.

But this time around, the Bruins maintained their lead throughout all four quarters. No. 16 UCLA Women’s Basketball (21-6, 10-5 Pac-12) outrebounded Cal (12-14, 3-12) by 20 and pulled away with a 67-54 win in Haas Pavilion. 

The Bruins took the lead early to begin the day’s contest after winning the tipoff. Senior guard Camryn Brown grabbed the first points for the blue and gold after an aggressive offensive rebound in the first play of the game. Her rebound was the first of 13 from the blue and gold within the first frame. The blue and gold rank first in offensive rebounds in the Pac-12.

Coach Cori Close said the rebounds were extremely important for the Bruins’ success, and were executed across thanks to pieces of the roster.

“That was the number one key of the game,” Close said. “It was our bigs and it was our guards. (Senior guard) Charisma (Osborne) was our leading rebounder. That’s just a huge piece for us to be able to gain those extra possessions.”

Freshman guard Londynn Jones entered the game with her typical spark off of the bench to extend the Bruins’ lead to four points. Cal entered a two minute lapse in scoring that ended after a pass behind the back to guard Leilani McIntosh, who sank a 3 to put them back on the board.

Despite a couple of scoring droughts and turnovers that allowed the Bears to break a drought of their own, the Bruins came out of the first quarter leading by seven.

Coming out of the break, the blue and gold had a spurt of 11 points in just over three minutes while the Bears collected none of their own. Jones – who accumulated eight points in the second quarter alone – contributed with a pair of made shots from beyond the arc to bring the Bruins’ lead to 15. 

Jones – who had 19 points off the bench and led the team in scoring in today’s contest – said her scoring success comes as a result of making the most of practices off the court.

“It just means being prepared for every opportunity that you get and taking advantage of it,” Jones said. “That played a really good part. You just do what you do, and everyone knows what everyone is capable of. Just coming together and getting everybody involved.”

Cal continued to trail throughout the quarter, but the Bears managed to temporarily revive a 15-point deficiency behind 11 points from McIntosh in the first half. Despite the Bears’ efforts to decrease the blue and gold’s lead, freshman forward Gabriela Jaquez was also a threat from off of the bench. After another offensive rebound and layup to maintain the large lead, Jaquez and the Bruins entered the locker room with a 35-20 advantage. 

The Bears opened up the second half with new energy. Guard Jayda Curry, Jones’ former teammate at Centennial High School, managed to put Cal on the board first with a layup and a 3-pointer that forced the Bruins to call a timeout. Curry now holds the longest streak of made 3-pointers within 48 consecutive regular season games among all Pac-12 players.

“It’s always great seeing somebody successful,” Jones said. “We’re (Jones and Curry) extremely close, so seeing both of us being successful at a high level is great.”

But the blue and gold didn’t panic, as Osborne responded with a wide open drive to the basket and a three of her own. Redshirt sophomore forward Emily Bessoir made jumpers from each elbow to keep the Bruins’ lead at 11. 

Osborne said the timeout helped the Bruins to reset as the Bears came out strong in the second half.

“We just had to refocus,” Osborne said. “They came out and hit two shots right away. We talked about defense being our anchor, and that was the number-one thing on the scouting report.”

Despite their lead, the blue and gold suffered five turnovers caused by full court pressure from the Bears. They were unable to win the third-quarter battle as the Bears outscored them 24-23 across the frame after the defensive pressure changed the pace of the game. But thanks to their early lead in the first half, the Bruins still had a 58-44 advantage to end the third frame.

The Bruins continued to grapple in the fourth quarter during a five-minute scoring drought resulting from three turnovers. Freshman guard Kiki Rice made her first points of the game with a layup and a couple of free throws, after sitting on the bench for most of the contest after early foul trouble.

A 7-0 run in just under a minute and 12 rebounds kept the Bruins on top. They had 48 rebounds in this contest overall, which allowed a runaway victory of 67-54 over the Bears.

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Alexis Hinkle
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