LaBrittney Jones reached double figures for the fifth straight game and Malena Washington notched her 14th double digit scoring game of the season, but No. 14 UCLA took down Arizona 71-39 Sunday afternoon at McKale Center.
The Bruins used a strong first quarter and half to establish a lead and never trailed against the Wildcats.
UCLA shot 43 percent from the field in the first half and outrebounded Arizona 23-13 to take a commanding 34-11 lead into the locker room. The Bruins had three players score five or more points. Lajahna Drummer had five, Monique Billings had six and Kennedy Burke had eight points in nine minutes.
The Wildcats (11-13, 2-10 Pac-12) went just 5 of 24 from the field in the first half with five different players each connecting on one field goal. UCLA (17-6, 9-3) opened the game on an 11-0 run to take the lead right from the start. Arizona got on the scoreboard at the 2:31 mark of the first quarter when Michal Miller hit a jump shot. But the Bruins went on a 5-0 run to end the quarter and lead 16-2 after the first quarter.
Arizona had a stronger showing in the third quarter and opened the period on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 36-22. The 11 points in the first three minutes and 12 seconds of the half matched the team’s total from the first half. The deficit didn’t change much until the very end of the period. Leading 41-27 with 1:13 left in the period, UCLA scored the final six points of the quarter, including four in the final seven seconds to take a 20-point lead.
“I’m not really sure why we had so much trouble early, but most of the shots we were taking were good shots, they just didn’t fall through,” senior guard Keyahndra Cannon said. “I thought the effort in the third quarter was great. We actually got after it defensively, and I felt like that helped us and forced them into a lot of turnovers.”
Washington finished with a team-high 14 points in 31 minutes. Jones, fresh off a double-double against USC, had 12 points and four rebounds in 34 minutes. Cannon had six points in the setback.
“I think that second half of this game, even though obviously the score doesn’t really show that, I think the fact that we came out and continued to fight and work shows that we are still in it and still have a lot to play for,” coach Niya Butts said. “We have at least seven games left to go in the season, and if you are looking at the numbers, there is still a possibility we can finish .500 or better. That is our mindset, and we aren’t looking at this thing as a loss right now.”
Arizona returns to action Friday at Stanford. The game against the Cardinal will open a two-game road trip at Stanford and Cal. The Wildcats will then return for their final two home games of the season, starting with Washington on Feb. 19 and Washington State on Feb. 21.
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