UCLA Women's Hoops to Play Stanford for Pac-12 Title
The Bruins defeated the Arizona Wildcats on Friday night, 58-49.
This evening, the UCLA women’s basketball team will play for the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament championship for the third time under head coach Cori Close. The Bruins advanced to tonight’s game by defeating the Arizona Wildcats, 58-49, on Friday. The tip-off time for tonight’s championship game is 5 pm PT and the game will air on ESPN2.
Last Time Out
Anyone who has followed the UCLA women’s basketball team this season knows that Friday night’s game against Arizona was very different from most of the Bruins’ wins. That’s because UCLA did not come out of the locker room and dominate the first quarter.
In fact, the Wildcats held the Bruins to just eight points in the quarter. Thankfully, UCLA’s defense was equally stingy and the game was tied 8-8 after the first quarter.
Arizona took the lead on a three-pointer by Aari McDonald to start the second quarter, but the Wildcats’ lead was short-lived. Soon, UCLA tied the game, 13-13. With 7:34 left in the half, the Bruins began a 12-4 run that continued for the remainder of the half. As a result, UCLA went into the break ahead, 25-17.
The second half began with a 7-0 run by the Wildcats, which brought them to within a point of UCLA, 25-24. With 7:01 to go in the third quarter, Michaela Onyenwere was fouled by Trinity Baptiste. Onyenwere made both free throws and that began a 13-4 run to end the third quarter and the Bruins were up 38-28 after three.
Normally, by now, this game would be over, but this wasn’t a typical game for the Bruins. They managed to increased their lead to double digits in the first 30 seconds of the fourth quarter, but you just got the feeling that Arizona had one more run coming. Sure enough, they did. With UCLA still up by ten, 47-37, with 5:36 to go, the Wildcats began a 10-2 run, which left them trailing by just a bucket, 49-47, with 1:16 to go. Down the stretch, four different Bruins scored to extend the lead back to nine points with 23 seconds to go. There was nothing left that Arizona could do and UCLA advanced to tonight’s game, winning 58-49.
The Stanford Cardinal are ranked #4 in the AP poll and #3 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. They’ve lost just twice all season and one of them came on January 22nd when they played UCLA. It was the only meeting between the squads this season.
In that game, Charisma Osborne scored 26 points and three other Bruins were in double figures.
That January 26th game proves that the Bruins can beat Stanford, but it won’t be a cake walk either. The Bruins are going to have to grind it out in order to win tonight, but Cori Close’s team proved that they can do that when they have to.
I think the third time in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship Game will be the charm for Close’s Bruins and UCLA will win their second Pac-12 Tournament title tonight.
Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship Game
Teams: #3-seed UCLA Women’s Basketball (16-4) vs. #1-seed Stanford Cardinal (24-2)
When: 5:00 pm PT, Sunday, March 7, 2021
Where: Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas, NV
TV: ESPN2 with Pam Ward and LaChina Robinson
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app
Audio: UCLA Live Audio with Dave Marcus
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
Official Game Preview