On Friday night, the Bruins went into Colorado and won their fifth game in a row. 64-60. Now, this morning, they are in Salt Lake City to face the #17 Utah Utes at 11 am PT.
Last Time Out
Friday night, the Bruins needed to come back from an 11-point first quarter deficit to beat the Buffs on the road. Early in the first quarter, the Bruins took the lead and led by as many as five points, but, Colorado took an 8-7 lead on a three-pointer by Quinese Caylao-Do with 5:17 to go in the quarter. In all, that was part of an 18-4 run by the Buffs during the last 7:36 of the quarter and Colorado had a 20-11 lead after one. In the second, the Bruins flipped the script and scored 20 while giving up 11 to send the teams into the locker room tied 31-31.
The Bruins led for all but 68 seconds of the third quarter. Michaela Onyenwere got things started by breaking the tie with a layup about a minute into the quarter. Colorado would tie it back up at 33-33, but they couldn’t take the lead. UCLA went on a 6-0 run to go up 39-33. The Buffaloes went on to close UCLA’s lead to just a point twice, but they couldn’t retake the lead and UCLA was up by two heading into the fourth quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Colorado hit a three-pointer to briefly re-take the lead by a point. but Onyenwere started a 5-0 run for UCLA to put the Bruins up for good. The Buffaloes kept it close, but close doesn’t count in college basketball and the Bruins won this one, 64-60.
Onyenwere led the Bruins with 22 points and 11 boards for her ninth double-double this season. Speaking of double-doubles, Kennedy Burke just missed one with 10 points and nine rebounds. Meanwhile, Japreece Dean added 17 and stretched her free throw streak to 40 before she snapped it by missing one. Can Cori Close please lend her to Murry Bartow to teach the men how to shoot from the line?
#17 Utah Utes
If there are a group of teams that the Bruins have struggled against this season, it’s ranked teams. At the same time, UCLA has won three of four games against teams ranked 14th or lower. The Utes enter today’s game ranked 17th in the country. That would seem to be right at the sweet spot for the Bruins. And, UCLA might just be catching the Utes at the right time.
After starting 17-1, Utah has lost their last three games to fall to a 17-4 record so far this season. Given the fact that the Bruins are also riding a five-game winning streak coming into today, it’s easy to see UCLA winning today’s game.
But, make no mistake. Beating the Utes will not be easy. They have four starters who are averaging in double figures in Pac-12 play. They’re led by Megan Huff who’s averaging 19.8 ppg against conference opponents. Kiana Moore, Dre’Una Edwards and Dru Gylten are all averaging more than 10 ppg. Huff also leads the team in rebounding with an average of 10.5 per game.
So, it would seem like if UCLA can stop Huff they should be able to win. I wouldn’t count on that because the other Ute starters have stepped up against other opponents. For instance, Gylten scored 24 to lead the team against Southern Cal, even though the Utes lost the game, 84-80.
While Utah will not be easy to beat, I think the Bruins are playing very well now. As a result, I think UCLA wins this morning’s game. It won’t be by much and it may even require overtime, but I do think the Bruins win today’s game.
This is your UCLA vs Utah women’s basketball open thread.