UCLA had one job today and that was to win. They did just that defeating Arizona 69-49 with the team doing exactly what they needed to do. A win was crucial because, next week, the Bruins hit the road for a four-game road trip.
The game started off well, especially for senior guard Kari Korver who made her 66th consecutive start dating back to her 2014-2015 season. That was not the only highlight for the senior. She posted a career-high 24 points. After being fouled near the end of the fourth quarter, Korver was awarded a pair of free throws. If she made them both she would tie and then break her career high points. And make them she did. On top of the 24 points, she also posted a career high of six free throws in one game. She came close to seven on multiple occasions.
Another highlight of the game was a play between Nicole Kornet and Jordin Canada. Korver saw an open Kornet who dribbled up the court and, without looking, gave a behind-the-back pass to her left to a waiting Canada who shot it into the net. With that play, Canada reached double figures for her 27th consecutive game. Another highlight during an already great game.
The first half was better offensively for the Bruins. In just the first quarter, they had seven steals and scored seven points off turnovers. The second quarter did not get easier for Arizona as they had their 11th turnover of the game and there was still a lot of time left to play in the half. Monique Billings and Jordin Canada saw much-deserved rest time in the first half, but that did not stop the Bruins' offense which went into the half leading by 13 points, 39-26.
The second half was quieter for the UCLA offense while the defense grew louder. Their defense was solid earlier in the game forcing many turnovers, but they made their mark in the second half. They continued to force turnovers and kept the Arizona Wildcats scoreless for three minutes in the third quarter. The Bruins even forced the Wildcats to make back-to-back shot clock violations. While Arizona was determined to catch up, they were no match, though they did play an aggressive game that knocked a few Bruins over multiple times.
Overall, it was an impressive game by UCLA. Both their offense and their defense did their jobs. The offense over and over again extended their lead over Arizona. Then the defense took over in the second half. It was a very solid performance by a team that should be playing like this every single game. If UCLA can take today’s game plan and apply it to every game, then they will hold up just fine.