UCLA faced Arizona State for the second time in six days. Sunday's was a nail-biter which the Bruins eventually pulled out the win in the final quarter. This time around, the Bruins started off strong and held off a late comeback attempt by Arizona State to win 77-68.
This game was won in the first half. UCLA took an early lead over Arizona State and did not look back. By the first timeout, the Bruins were up 10-2. The Bruins' offense continued to play well as did their defense. After the first quarter, UCLA lead 26-7.
The Bruins kept it up in the second quarter by adding another 13 points and, while they gave up twice as many points on defense, they went into the locker room up by 18, 39-21.
One of the hottest players in the first half was Senior Nicole Kornet. She had four three-pointers, a career-high, and 12 points by the end of the first quarter. As it turns out, Kornet had a little of an inspiration before the game. She ran into Washington's Kelsey Plum, who wished her luck. In reply, Kornet tweeted out:
I ran into Kelsey Plum in the bathroom and she tapped me on the back and wished me luck so to reciprocate her kindness I'm going off for 57— Nicole Kornet (@NicKorn1) March 3, 2017
She also sent out another funny little tweet right after the game saying:
Only 41 points shy tonight, but I swear if there were 10 more quarters I would have had it.— Nicole Kornet (@NicKorn1) March 4, 2017
The second half was a different story for the Bruins. While UCLA continued to lead, they cooled down a lot. After the third quarter, the Bruins' lead had been cut down to 14. Arizona State's coach Charli Turner Thorne could be heard during the team huddle telling them to keep chipping away.
And, that they did.
In the fourth quarter, the Sun Devils were even able to get the Bruins' lead down to as few as six points with 33 seconds left. But, the Bruins made all of their final five free throws to hold on for a 9-point win.
It was a tale of the two halves and UCLA ended up coming out on top. These last few weeks have been hot for the Bruins and it's happening at the right time. They head into the semi-final tonight night against Oregon State. These teams split their series during the regular season, but tonight matters the most.