Tonight, the UCLA women’s basketball team hosts the Fresno State Bulldogs at Pauley Pavilion at 7 pm PT.
Last Time Out
On Sunday, the Bruins lost a close game to the Indiana Hoosiers, 67-65. It was the third game in a row the Bruins have lost where they outscored their opponent in the first, third and fourth quarters but came up short in the second quarter. It’s a disturbing trend.
The game started out fine for the Bruins. Over the first six minutes, UCLA opened up an eight-point lead, but the Hoosiers went on an 8-0 run in the next two minutes to tie the game up, 17-17. The only bucket in the final 2:21 of the quarter was a three-pointer by Japreece Dean to give UCLA a 20-17 lead after one.
As it turned out, Dean’s three to end the first quarter was the start of a 10-0 run by the Bruins that continued into the second quarter with UCLA starting the quarter with seven consecutive points and the Bruins had a 27-17 lead with 8:26 to go in the half. Indiana responded, though, in a big way as the Hoosiers went on a 14-3 run themselves to take a 31-30 lead with 3:01 left. UCLA’s only basket during that run was another three-pointer from Dean with 5:56 left. In fact, that turned out to be the Bruins’ only bucket in the final eight minutes of the first half. Those eight minutes would ultimately cause UCLA to lose this game. The final three minutes of the half saw that 14-3 Indiana run to take the lead become a 20-3 run which gave the Hoosiers a 37-31 halftime lead.
The third quarter saw the Bruins nibbling away at Indiana’s lead. While UCLA was still trailing the entire quarter, they managed to cut the Hoosier lead to as little as a point, 49-48, with 27 seconds to go. But, Indiana’s Brenna Wise took a jumper from inside the paint that went in as time expired to end the quarter with the Hoosiers ahead by three, 51-48. Still, the Bruins had cut Indiana’s lead in half.
After Bendy Yeaney’s jumper stretched the Hoosier lead to five, UCLA went on a 6-0 run to retake the lead, 54-53, with 7:25 to play. The teams spent almost seven minutes battling back and forth, but neither team ever lead by more than two points for the rest of the game. With the score tied 62-62, Michaela Onyenwere gave UCLA a two-point edge with 34 seconds to go, but Jaelynn Penn’s three-pointer, just five seconds later, put Indiana up for good. Kennedy Burke had a chance to tie the game but missed the free throw which would have done so.
Penn and Indiana’s Ali Patberg led all scorers with 17 points each while Dean led the Bruins with 16. Kennedy Burke had 15 points while Michaela Onyenwere added 13 points plus 10 rebounds. Lajahnna Drummer led the Bruins with 11 rebounds.
Fresno State Bulldogs
After losing their season opener on the road to Northern Arizona, the Bulldogs have won four of their last five games. The only loss in that stretch came nine days ago when Southern Cal edged the Bulldogs, 62-61, at the Galen Center.
The fact that the Southern Cal game was the most challenging game Fresno State has played so far means that UCLA has an opportunity to get their season back on track with a win tonight.
For the Bruins, the obvious key to tonight’s game is to play a full four quarters of basketball. If they can’t do that, they need to, at least, minimize the damage the suffer in the second quarter because that seems to be where UCLA is having their problems. If Coach Close can avoid another second quarter meltdown, the Bruins should get the win tonight.