Both UCLA and Oregon State had a lot to play for today. Both teams suffered surprising defeats to Oregon and USC, respectively. Neither teams wanted to end the week with a shutout. In the end, it was the Bruins who could not come away with a win this weekend as they lost 68-61 to the Beavers.
UCLA knew it was not going to be easy. Many teams that have gone to Gill Coliseum have found it difficult to defeat the Beavers. The Beavers have been known to play great defense and they continued the trend today. All day long their defense had kept the Bruins at bay, but they came up really big in the fourth quarter.
A collective breath was held near the end of the second quarter when Jordin Canada went down and stayed down. As she was going for a rebound, she ran her face into the hip of Oregon State player Marie Gulich. After a few minutes, she was able to get up and was walking to the locker room. The Bruins were going to have to adjust without, arguably, their best player. Just like coach Cori Close said herself during halftime, every single player was going to be needed. Not just one or two, but everyone.
The third quarter was one of the Bruins’ best. After trailing 31-27 at the half and without Canada, they put up 19 points to take a 46-42 lead. This would be the last time the Bruins had the lead. Most of those points were, for the most part, due to Kennedy Burke, who went above and beyond to help the team take the lead in Canada’s absence. This was just a burst, though, as the Bruins couldnt hold on for the remainder of the game.
Although Canada came out of the locker room and took a seat on the bench, she sat out the rest of the game. The Bruins really could have used her in the fourth quarter. The Beaver defense continued to play man-to-man defense and the Bruins could not find ways around the exceptional defense. Like in the Oregon game, UCLA was getting frustrated. It showed in the fouls they committed. While a comeback was looking to be less than likely, they still had a chance. Then, those chances were shot when they kept fouling and sending the Beavers to the line to extend their lead. The last minute of the game was, without a doubt, the longest of the game.
The last time UCLA suffered back-to-back losses was when they visited Washington. They lost to an unranked Washington State and then to ranked Washington. This road trip went the exact same way. They suffered a tough loss to an unranked team and just couldn’t bounce back against the ranked team.
Thankfully, they return home where they have played much better. At this point, they are probably playing for a first-round bye for the Pac-12 Tournament. With four games left, they have a one-and-a-half-game lead over 5th place Arizona State. If the Sun Devils are able to beat Washington in Seattle later on today, that lead will shrink to just one game. If the Huskies come out on top, UCLA will have a two-game lead which they could really use, considering that the last game of the regular season is against Arizona State in Tempe.