Women’s basketball takes down Sun Devils despite dropping double-digit lead
Sophomore guard Charisma Osborne scored a game-high 27 points in No. 5 UCLA women’s basketball’s win over Arizona State. The Bruins blew a double-digit lead but rode Osborne’s 13 fourth-quarter points to their eighth Pac-12 victory. (Alex Driscoll/Daily Bruin staff)
|No. 5 UCLA||60|
Jan. 29, 2021 8:47 p.m.
This post was updated Jan. 29 at 10:26 p.m.
With 8:26 left in the game, the Bruins trailed 42-40. Then, Charisma Osborne responded.
The sophomore guard hit three consecutive 3-pointers to give her team a lead it would never lose.
No. 5 UCLA women’s basketball (10-2, 8-2 Pac-12) defeated Arizona State (8-5, 4-5) 60-57 behind a game-high 27 points and six rebounds from Osborne, including 13 points in the final period. The Bruins extended their winning streak to five games.
Freshman forward Emily Bessoir said Osborne’s tendency to excel highlights the value she brings to her team.
“She knows when we need her to step up. … That gives our team the confidence that we have somebody that can score in big moments,” Bessoir said. “When she got hot in the fourth quarter, we knew we had to get the ball to her. It’s a blessing to be her teammate.”
Besides Osborne, the Bruins shot 10-of-40 from the field the entire game. Other than Osborne’s 13 points and Bessoir’s six points in the fourth, UCLA scored just one point on a free throw from redshirt junior guard Chantel Horvat.
The Bruins’ 20 fourth-quarter points were the most points UCLA scored in a quarter. However, after a neck injury forced Osborne out of the game with 2:27 left, the Bruins went scoreless and allowed the Sun Devils to cut the lead to 56-54 with under a minute to play.
But after Osborne returned, Bessoir scored four straight points, including a 3-pointer, in the final 27 seconds to put the game out of reach. Bessoir scored 12 points and tied for the team lead in rebounds with seven. She also finished with the highest plus-minus on the team with a plus-14.
Coach Cori Close said Bessoir’s last-minute 3-point shot shows how good she already is as a freshman.
“How many freshman bigs are playing better than her, especially in big moments and big games?” Close said. “Her decision making, her ice in her veins, (Bessoir’s) confidence to step up and make that shot – she’s just mature beyond her years.”
UCLA started the game up 19-6 in the first quarter. Osborne scored eight points and Bessoir added five points as UCLA attempted eight more shots than Arizona State because of a 10-to-5 rebounding advantage. The Bruins went on a 17-1 run over the last 7:34 of the quarter to finish with the 13-point advantage.
The Bruins forced 11 first-quarter turnovers, including six steals, and scored 11 points off those Sun Devil turnovers.
The second quarter was a battle of free throws, as both teams made more free throws than field goals made. Arizona State guard Gabriela Bosquez was the only Sun Devil to make a field goal in the period, going 3-of-3 from the field including 2-of-2 on 3s. The rest of the team went 0-of-9 from the field but made 7-of-10 free throws to outscore the Bruins 15-14.
UCLA relied on the charity stripe for points more than Arizona State in the second. The Bruins shot 8-of-12 from the free-throw line and just 3-of-15 from the field. Osborne added six more points in the second to finish the half with 14 points and was the only Bruin in double figures in the first 20 minutes.
Osborne said both defenses struggled to maintain high defensive intensity without fouling.
“We (were) just all being aggressive to drive and kick,” Osborne said. “Arizona State was fouling us, and we’re just getting to the free-throw line. But then just on the other end, we (needed) to be more disciplined with our fouling as well.”
The score flipped in the third, as Arizona State went on a 13-0 run and took its first lead of the second half with 1:59 left in the third quarter. The Sun Devils made as many field goals in the third quarter as the rest of the game and ended the quarter tied at 40-40.
Osborne said the team knew they had to improve all phases of the game in order to finish the win.
“We know that Arizona State is such a tough team literally every time we play them,” Osborne said. “Going into the fourth quarter, we all just made a decision that we need to decide to play defense, to score, to work together as a team. I felt like we started to do that in the fourth quarter.”
With her 13-point fourth quarter and 27 points total, Osborne has averaged 24.6 points in her last five games following back-to-back games with fewer than eight points.
Close said Osborne’s strong stretch is more than a year in the making.
“I don’t think it’s happened in the last five weeks; I think it’s happened in the last year and a half.” Close said. “If you see her work out, that’s when you know this kid’s growing. There’s even still so much she can grow in, and that’s scary.”