PULLMAN, Wash. (AP)Emily Bessoir and Gabriela Jaquez each scored 13 points to help No. 9 UCLA beat Washington State 73-66 on Sunday.
A 3-pointer by Bessoir with 8:21 remaining in the game gave UCLA an 11-point lead – its largest of the contest. Bessoir hit three of the Bruins’ nine 3-pointers.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Ula Motuga and Grace Sarver cut the lead three with 2:51 to go, but the Cougars couldn’t get any closer as three turnovers and no field goals in the final two minutes prevented the Washington State upset.
”We were really locked into sharing the ball and running what the scout said,” Bossier said. ”Especially for me, Charisma (Osborne) set great screens and they have to stay on her because she’s one of our main scorers, but that opens up the lane for other people.”
The Bruins (17-3, 6-2 Pac-12) forced five Cougar turnovers and held Washington State scoreless from the field over the last four minutes of the first quarter to open up an eight-point lead.
”Against a really elite Washington State team, (runs) are really big, because they’re not easy to come by,” said UCLA coach Cori Close. ”We have so much respect for their execution on both ends of the floor and we’ve had struggles with that.”
Jessica Clarke and Astera Tuhina helped reel in the Bruins in the second quarter, combining for 10 points to spark a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the game.
Tuhina finished with 15 points and was one of five players in double figures for Washington State (13-7, 3-5).
”They’re gritty, they’re tough,” said Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge. ”They guarded us really hard in the second half and picked up the pressure and I thought that affected us a little bit. they’re positionless and they put people in spots that they’re not used to guarding.”
Consecutive 3s from Tuhina in the middle of the third quarter gave Washington State its third lead of the game, but Osborne countered with two 3-pointers of her own to extend the lead back to seven. Four Bruins scored five or more points in the third quarter and the two teams combined for eight 3-pointers in the highest scoring quarter of the game.
Tuhina left the game after a collision near the Washington State bench, but returned with 3:22 remaining.
Washington State: The Cougars played their third consecutive game against an opponent ranked or receiving votes in the AP Top 25 Poll. Washington State is tied with OSU in the bottom third of the Pac-12 after the loss and is in danger of not making the tournament after back-to-back trips in 2021 and 2022.
UCLA: The Bruins are one of six ranked teams in the Pac-12 and can take over second place with a win over Colorado next Friday. UCLA’s 5-2 start in conference play is the second-best start under head coach Cori Close.
UCLA: Travel to Colorado.
Washington State: On the road at Arizona State