This post was updated Feb. 11 at 11:01 p.m.
The last time the Bruins won two consecutive games was over a month ago.
But the drought ended after 18 points from sophomore center Lauren Betts and an unwavering lead over the Sun Devils.
No. 9 UCLA women’s basketball (19-4, 8-4 Pac-12) took down Arizona State (10–14, 2-10) on Sunday in Pauley Pavilion to close out its second-to-last home weekend of the season. The Bruins shot 54.5% from the field en route to a 78-45 victory over the Sun Devils.
“The reality for us is that we needed to get back together and just find a way to be champions of the weekend,” said coach Cori Close.
Betts returned for the Bruins’ matchup against the Wildcats after missing four consecutive games. The Bruins’ second-leading scorer found her rhythm early against the Sun Devils, sinking six points in the first period. She went on to become the game’s leading scorer with 18 points and seven rebounds.
“I felt a lot better today than I did Friday,” Betts said. “The week of practice was really helpful … just being with the team and kind of integrating back.”
A 3-point jumper by sophomore forward Gabriela Jaquez put the team up 17-10 before concluding the first quarter. Jaquez, who had a double-double and a career-high 15 rebounds against the Wildcats this past Friday, went 50% from beyond the arc against the Sun Devils.
The Bruins started off the second period with an almost seven-minute scoring drought from the field. Their only two points were free throws from Jaquez and graduate student guard Charisma Osborne, who ended the drought with a jumper – her second make from the field.
But the Bruins ultimately put up nine points in the final three minutes of the first half, keeping their lead and entering the locker room 28-19.
The third quarter kicked off faster than the second, with quick points from Osborne and Betts to extend the Bruins’ lead.
Osborne jumped between two Wildcats, intercepting an attempted pass over the half-court line. Transitioning quickly from an offensive play to a defensive one, Osborne found Jaquez deep in the corner. Jaquez sank her first 3-pointer of the game to put the Bruins up 35-21, their largest lead thus far.
Sophomore guard Kiki Rice matched Jaquez’s energy, completing a 3-point play to put the Bruins up by 18 points. Rice – who scored her career-high 25 points just a week ago – put up 12 points against the Sun Devils.
“They (Arizona State) were really challenging in terms of picking up our intensity both offensively and defensively,” Rice said. “We responded well to that challenge.”
The third quarter concluded with a 20-point Bruin lead.
Entering the final 10 minutes, sophomore guard Londynn Jones took the reins, pushing off a Sun Devil to sink her first 3-pointer of the game. Rice followed her lead, quickly sinking one of her own from deep.
An and-one from sophomore forward Christeen Iwuala extended the Bruins’ lead to 30 points with four minutes left in the game.
While scoring just under its average 81.5 points per game, UCLA still clinched a win over Arizona State.
“Right now, Oregon State is the hottest team in the conference,” Close said. “You’re going to have to be your best. You’re going to have to play your toughest, and I think that’s a really great opportunity to show how much you want to earn that mojo back.”
UCLA will travel up the coast next weekend to take on No. 17 Oregon State and Oregon on Friday night and Sunday afternoon, respectively.