Saturday, April 13

With 3-pointer prowess, UCLA women’s basketball nets win over Arizona State

Freshman guard Londynn Jones eyes the basket as she drives the lane. Jones notched her second-straight 20-point performance on Sunday evening, accounting for nearly half of the Bruins’ 42 bench points. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)

women’s basketball

Arizona State63
No. 14 UCLA82

This post was updated Feb. 5 at 10:37 p.m.

Sunday was all about the number three for the Bruins.

Coming into the game on a three-game losing streak, UCLA relied on 3-point shooting and three primary scorers to get back in the win column.

And the Bruins’ leading scorer, Charisma Osborne, made more than three field goals for the first time in three weeks.

“It does feel really nice to finally feel like I’m being myself again,” Osborne said.

Behind 23 points from the senior guard, No. 14 UCLA women’s basketball (18-6, 7-5 Pac-12) ended its recent struggles with a 82-63 win at Pauley Pavilion against Arizona State (7-16, 0-12). Osborne moved into 15th on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list with her first game scoring at least 20 points since November, while freshman guard Londynn Jones and freshman forward Gabriela Jaquez added 20 and 14 points respectively in the victory.

After ending her shooting slump and moving up in the all-time scoring ranks, Osborne said she received help from another legendary member of the blue and gold – a former guard and teammate of Osborne’s, Japreece Dean.

“I was on the phone with her (Dean) for 45 minutes yesterday,” Osborne said. “She was just reminding me of who I was and when she played against me, and just saying how much she believes in me. That meant the world to me because I respect her so much.”

Following five empty possessions and a 6-0 deficit to start the game, Obsorne catalyzed UCLA’s offensive performance with a pair of 3-pointers in less than four minutes.

After opening her team’s scoring with the first triple, her second long-range make came with the Bruins trailing 11-5 and ignited an 8-0 run for the blue and gold over the next 2 1/2 minutes.

Jones picked up where she left off from her 20-point and five-3-pointer performance in Friday’s game with a 3-point make in her first shot Sunday to complete the run and earn UCLA its first lead of the contest.

Despite shooting 33% from the field in the opening quarter, the Bruins used the three first-quarter triples to overcome the overall struggles and head into the second quarter leading 15-13.

UCLA led the rest of the way.

By halftime, five of UCLA’s 11 made shots were from behind the arc. The trio of Osborne, Jones and Jaquez combined for 25 of the Bruins’ 35 first-half points, and the team’s 50% clip from deep was enough to overcome 30% shooting from the rest of the field and lead 35-29.

Jones – who was 2-for-2 from deep at the half – said the pain of their previous losses helped motivate the team Sunday.

“It has to hurt in order to really learn from it and grow from it,” Jones said. “These couple of losses really stung for the whole team, not just individually. (It was about) just making the choice and coming together, and really figuring out what it is that needs to be fixed, and then fixing it.”

The blue and gold came together to outscore the team from Tempe 47-34 in the second half.

For the second straight game, triples dominated the third quarter.

After UCLA and Arizona totaled seven 3-pointers Friday, the blue and gold and Arizona State combined for six 3-pointers in the final 7:25 of the third period. Guard Tyi Skinner made all three triples for the Sun Devils, while redshirt sophomore forward Emily Bessoir joined Jaquez and Osborne in drilling 3-point makes of their own.

Skinner finished the game with 28 points and six 3-pointers.

The trio of Obsorne, Jones and Jaquez continued to do the heavy lifting for the Bruins and combined for 15 of UCLA’s 22 points. The blue and gold shot more efficiently from behind the arc than from the field overall for the third straight quarter.

UCLA again found itself just 10 minutes away from earning a close victory. Unlike the previous three times, which ended in failure, coach Cori Close said her team demonstrated it can close things out.

“We’re three possessions away from being 21-3,” Close said. “That’s really what it comes down to, three possessions away and we let leads deep in the fourth quarter go. This was about earning the mindset.”

Leading 59-48 heading into the final period, Osborne and her protege Jones put the game away a few minutes into the fourth.

Jones opened things with a layup and 3-pointer, before Osborne matched the same scoring sequence with a driving finish and a triple of her own. Freshman guard Kiki Rice finished a layup shortly after to extend the lead to 19 with 6:47.

Fittingly, the Bruins made their last five field goals as Jones finished Sunday’s scoring with her fourth 3-pointer, securing her second straight 20-point performance.

UCLA has now won its last 13 matchups against Arizona State, and the team can finally move on from its three-game skid.

“We got our confidence shaken (in past games),” Close said. “We know we’re talented. In our heads we know we can do it, but then our hearts are wondering, ‘Why did we let that go?’ I’m focusing on that distance from our heads to our hearts.”

Sports staff

Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.

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