Tonight, the UCLA women’s basketball team heads to Haas Pavilion to face UC Berkeley in the Golden Bears’ first Pac-12 game of the season.
Last Time Out
After a dismal start to the season, the Bruins are suddenly riding a five-game winning streak. That’s because the Bruins extended their three-game streak by defeating both Cal Poly and Southern Cal last weekend.
Friday’s win was the Bruins’ best of the year as UCLA throttled the Mustangs, 81-35. It was a stellar defensive effort by the Bruins as they held Cal Poly to less than ten points in both the first and second quarters. While UCLA gave up 16 points in the third, they finished by holding the Mustangs to just two points in the fourth. That was a layup by Devin Stanback with 9:42 left. The Bruins held Cal Poly scoreless the rest of the way. Japreece Dean led all scorers with 18 points while Kennedy Burke added 15 points and Lajahna Drummer scored 12. Drummer also had 10 rebounds to give her a double-double for the game.
Against Southern Cal, the Bruins needed to come from behind to get the win. UCLA had the lead for the first six minutes of the game before Southern Cal took the lead on an Asiah Jones jumper with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter. For the rest of the half, Southern Cal was able to increase their lead to as many as 13 with 20 seconds left in the half. A fast break by Kennedy Burke let the Bruins cut the lead back to 11 with 12 seconds left and the Trojans led 39-28 at the half.
The Bruins dominated the third quarter. UCLA scored 31 points in the third while holding Southern Cal to just 10, giving the Bruins a 59-49 lead after three. With 4:06 to go in the quarter, Kennedy Burke went on another fast break, but this time she was fouled. She tied the game up 43-43 with her first free throw and then put the Bruins ahead for good with her second. The closest Southern Cal would get in the fourth quarter was five points down with 4:23 left but, less than a minute later, UCLA had the lead back up to double-digits.
Michaela Onyenwere led all scorers with 27 points. Burke added 11 points while Drummer had 10 points. Drummer also led the Bruins in rebounds with 14 while Onyenwere added 12, giving both of them double-doubles in this game.
UC Berkeley Golden Bears
The Golden Bears are ranked 18th in the AP Women’s Poll and 19th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. This is due primarily to the fact that they started the season off by winning their first nine games, but UC Berkeley doesn’t really have a signature win yet. They’ve only played one ranked team to date, #1 Connecticut, and they lost that game by ten point, 76-66. They followed that up with a loss to Harvard on Sunday.
So, they enter tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak.
Kristine Anigwe is the Bears’ top scorer and is averaging 21.3 points per game. If UCLA is going to win they will need to find a way to neutralize Anigwe. The Bears have two other shooters in Asha Thomas and Kianna Smith who are both averaging about 11 ppg. Thomas is the Bears’ outside threat and leads the team with 21 three-pointers.
Tonight is a good opportunity for the Bruins. UCLA struggled early when they lost four straight to some good teams, but they responded well by winning their last five.
The Bruins are going to have a tough time because winning on the road isn’t easy, but UCLA has been playing well while the Golden Bears haven’t. The Bruins can win tonight if they play tough defense and are able to stop Anigwe.
I think the Bruins could take this, but it’s going to be close. UCLA, 85-79.
This is your UCLA women’s basketball vs. UC Berkeley Golden Bears open thread.