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UCLA women’s basketball falls to Washington State in first home loss of the season

Sophomore guard Kiki Rice reaches up with the ball in her right hand. Rice picked up a career-high 25 points. (Aidan Sun/Daily Bruin)

Women’s Basketball

Washington State85
No. 2 UCLA82

By Sabrina Messiha

Jan. 28, 2024 4:14 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 28 at 11:57 p.m.

The Bruins picked up their first home loss of the season after cutting the lead to just one with 20 seconds to go.

Despite a 29-point fourth quarter, No. 2 UCLA women’s basketball (16-3, 5-3 Pac-12) fell to Washington State (15-6, 4-4) 85-82 at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday. In their last two matchups against the Cougars, the Bruins fell short in the 2023 Pac-12 Championship and their previous home loss. 

The Bruins were missing sophomore center Lauren Betts was absent for the second straight game due to an undisclosed medical reason. UCLA Athletics provided no further comment on her absence.

UCLA trailed Washington State at the end of the first quarter 19-17. In the first five minutes of the game, the Bruins shot a 20% field goal percentage – low compared to their season average of 46.2%.

“We were just late to all those 50-50s,” said coach Cori Close. “All those deflections we got, they came up with another shot. … Maybe in hindsight, it would have been better to have starters pressing earlier.”

But they picked up their scoring, ending the first at 44.4% on 18 attempts.

Sophomore guard Londynn Jones sank a 3-pointer to start the second period and put the Bruins up 20-19. Jones’ basket was followed by an over four-minute drought that eventually ended on a jump shot made by the sophomore guard.

Sophomore guard Londynn Jones shoulders past an opposing player with the ball. Jones played the full game for UCLA women’s basketball, surpassing her season average of 26.5 minutes per game. (Ella Greenberg Winnick/Daily Bruin staff)

The Bruins entered the locker room down 46-30, after trailing the Cougars throughout the second. 

“Gabs (sophomore forward Gabriela Jaquez) at halftime was talking to us and we kind of motivated each other to start the second half … and find a way to get back in the game,” said sophomore guard Kiki Rice.

UCLA had an average of .882 points per possession and nine turnovers throughout the first half.

Graduate student guard Charisma Osborne hit a turnaround jumper in the paint off a Cougar. Osborne scored seven points for the Bruins before the mid-quarter media break. By the end of the third, Osborne was shooting a 50% field goal average, above the team’s average of 41.2%. 

Despite Osborne’s efforts, the Bruins were unable to turn things over during the third quarter, ending at 65-53 – a 12-point deficit compared to their 16 at the half. 

The Bruins closed the gap behind the Cougars to 7 points in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter after Jones sank her fifth 3-pointer of the game. Jones played all 40 minutes, higher than her average of 26.5 per game, and scored 19 points.

“She sparked us right away,” Close said. “Not only did she do a great job hitting some great threes, but I thought she did a great job coming off our zoom action and hitting a couple of really timely jump shots.”

Osborne sank her first 3-pointer of the game, adding to her total 19 points and closing the gap to 4 points. 

With two minutes left, the Bruins trailed the Cougars 77-70. Sophomore guard Kiki Rice stepped to the line to complete a three-point play, bringing the gap back down to 4 points. 

Ninety seconds later, more free throws from Rice closed it to 1.

Rice’s efforts earned her a career-high 25 points.

But despite their efforts in the fourth quarter, the Bruins were unable to make up for their performance in the first three quarters.

“Obviously not what we wanted, but I’m just so proud of all my teammates,” Rice said. “To go out there and give it our all.”

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Sabrina Messiha
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