Tonight, UCLA lost to Oregon, 70-61, to fall to 2-2 in Pac-12 play.
The Bruins started off and ended the game in the same way: horrible. For the first six and a half minutes, UCLA did not score and allowed Oregon to go on an 9-0 run to start the game. The offense closed out the quarter by scoring eight points and the Bruins trailed 11-8 after the first quarter.
One of the problems UCLA has had, and will continue to have, is not having a designated three-point shooter. Last season, they had Kari Korver and Nicole Kornet on top of Jordin Canada. This season, they have not found a player other than Canada to rely on.
In the second quarter, the Ducks increased the lead to as many as 12 points before the Bruins were able to cut it back to four at the half.
UCLA continued to comeback and took their first lead of the night with 6:40 to go in the third, but that lead lasted for less than a minute and half and Oregon led by a point after three quarters.
While Monique Billings ended the night with 22 points, she had difficulty finding the basket all night long. Buckets she has easily made in the past, just would not go in for her. Points from those missed field goals would have helped in the final stretches of the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, it started to come down to the wire. UCLA took the lead in the fourth when Kennedy Burke hit a three with about eight minutes to play. UCLA continued to lead most of the way down the stretch except for a brief lead change with 6:35 to go. With a little more than three minutes left, UCLA led by three, 59-56. But a 12-0 Oregon run gave the Ducks a 68-59 lead with 25 seconds to go. With 13 seconds left in the game, Canada hit two free throws to end the Bruins’ drought and make it 68-61, but immediately after making the free throws, she fouled out to squash any hope the Bruins had of making a comeback. Well, that and the fact they were down by seven points.
I have said it before and I will say it again, no matter how tired I am of saying it. Consistency is key for UCLA. Unfortunately, they don’t have it. The Bruins dominate in one game and fall in the next. That’s not an elite team. While it’s still the start of conference play, UCLA is not looking like the winner of the conference they were pegged to be.