The UCLA Women’s Basketball team got the weekend in Tucson started in the right direction by beating the Arizona Wildcats, 79-56. The Bruins have now defeated the Wildcats 10 consecutive times.
Coach Cori Close took a gamble with her players. With the Pac-12 Tournament starting next week, rest is vital for every player, especially for her starters like Jordin Canada, Monique Billings, and Kari Korver. Close had those three players on the bench for significant minutes and left the game to her bench players. Those players proved to Close she can rely on them when needed. They came to play offensively and defensively.
While Billings sat out most of the second quarter, sophomore Ashley Hearn stepped up causing turnovers and blocking the Wildcats’ shots. Redshirt Senior Nicole Kornet recorded the first double-double of her Bruin career as she scored a career-high 21 points and snagged 10 rebounds.
While the Bruin offense tallied up the points, there were times they struggled. The Wildcats played man-to-man defense. They held the Bruins to just 15.4% of their three-point attempts in the first half. In the second half, the Bruins improved their three-point shooting to 44.4%.
With about 8 minutes left in the third quarter and UCLA up by 16, Arizona swapped out for all five players for five from the bench. The Wildcats were able to cut the lead to 11 with five and a half minutes to go in the third, but, by the end of the quarter, the Bruins had increased their lead to 17 and it was 55-38 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, UCLA just pulled away and stretched their lead to as many as 29 before finishing with a 23-point margin of victory, 79-58.
It was definitely a good way for UCLA basketball to start a two-day women’s-men’s doubleheader. With this one down, now it’s time for the UCLA Men’s Basketball team to do the same thing today.