It’s been said that, sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. The Bruins should be glad that they were a little bit lucky against UC Berkeley this afternoon.
That’s because their game against the Golden Bears was closer than anyone thought it would be. The first half was close but the UCLA led for most of it. In the first quarter, UCLA’s biggest lead was just 5 points and the teams finished the quarter with the Bruins leading by just one.
The game stayed close for most of the second quarter as well. In fact, for most of it, UCLA’s biggest lead of the quarter was just 3 points. Finally, with 2:50 in the half, Kelli Hayes hit a three-pointer that put the Bruins up by six. The Golden Bears would cut it back to a five-point lead when Kristine Anigwe hit the back-end of a pair of free throws, but Jordin Canada’s jumper gave UCLA a 7-point lead with 37 seconds to go in the half. Anigwe hit a jumper for the Bears with 9 seconds left and the Bruins lead by 5 at the break, 34-29.
The Bruins came out of the locker room and looked like they were ready to put the Bears away as UCLA went on an 8-2 run over the first two and a half minutes of the third quarter. That run gave the Bruins an 11-point lead, their biggest of the game.
UCLA cooled down over the next five and a half minutes and the Bears mounted a comeback. With just under two minutes left in the third, the game was tied, 49-49. In fact, Berkeley would even take their first lead since the 6:27 mark in the first quarter and they led by a bucket, 55-53, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Bears didn’t stop coming in the fourth, either. They opened up their lead to seven points with just under seven minutes to go. That’s when the Bruins came up big with a 10-0 run to retake the lead, 65-62, with less than five minutes left, but the game still stayed tight down the stretch.
In fact, the Bears would go up by one to lead, 69-68, with 2:40 to go. Burke split a pair of free throws to tie it back up and Lajahna Drummer would make the front end to put the Bruins up by one. But, Drummer missed the back-end and Billings grabbed the rebound. Canada missed a jumper which was rebounded by Berkeley’s Jaelyn Brown as she saved it on the floor under the basket. Hayes stole it from Brown and put the ball up and in to give UCLA a three-point lead and that was pretty much the game.
Canada led all scorers with 27 points while Billings and Hayes each had 18. Drummer led UCLA with 11 rebounds.
The Bruins now advance to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament tomorrow night at 6pm PT when they will take on the top-seeded Oregon Ducks, who beat the Bruins twice during the regular season.