Los Angeles – No. 14 UCLA used a strong second-half push Sunday to run past Arizona State, 82-63, and snap a three-game losing streak.
Charisma Osborne scored a team-high 23 points for the Bruins, while Londynn Jones added 20 – her second straight game with 20 or more – and Gabriela Jaquez added 14. It was an important recovery step for a team that had been ranked in the top 10 before losing to Colorado, Utah and Arizona by five points or less in a week’s time.
“We had our confidence shaken,” coach Cori Close said. “Basically, we let three possessions take us away from being 21-3, because we let leads deep in the fourth quarter go. This was about earning a mindset.”
Close said the string of losses caused players to do some soul-searching, which resulted in re-commitment to principles and goals.
“It has to hurt to really learn and grow from it, and these last few losses have really stung,” Jones said. “It was about coming together, making a choice and fixing it.”
This equated to shoring up their defense and stepping up their energy level on the other side of the floor. Against the Sun Devils, they out-shot, out-rebounded and out-assisted them; scored more off of turnovers and fast breaks, and in the paint.
The game was fairly even in the first half, as it was for the first portion of the third quarter, before UCLA pulled together a run to put them up by 9 at the end of the period. They shot 11-15 the rest of the way, putting themselves out of the reach of the visitors.
Tyi Skinner had 28 points for Arizona State and Treasure Hunt, 18.
Close said the game was about earning back a “confidence and ferociousness” that the Bruins didn’t know why they had let go.
“It goes back to your attitude and your response (from loss),” she said. “When you hit big adversity, it can go either way. You have to choose (to step up) and make it happen. You have to choose to earn it.”
Jones said that for herself and her teammates, resolving the issue was a logical decision.
“We chose to come together and put the team first,” she said.
For Close and her young roster, the work continues this weekend, as they host Oregon State Friday and Oregon Sunday.