Locked in a tie game at halftime, UCLA retreated to the locker room frustrated by uncharacteristic turnovers and lost rebounds. The Bruins talked about toughness. Charisma Osborne then went out and showed it.
On UCLA’s first possession of the second half against No. 18 Arizona on Sunday, the freshman ran from the left corner on the court all the way to the right corner, diving to secure the ball off a missed shot before it went out of bounds. Just as Osborne bounced the ball off an Arizona defender to secure an extra Bruins possession, UCLA’s fortunes bounced back in a battle of unbeaten teams.
Osborne’s hustle play set the tone for a dominant third quarter that helped No. 10 UCLA snap No. 18 Arizona’s 19-game winning streak with a convincing 70-58 victory at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins (14-0, 3-0) opened the third quarter on a 16-5 run that included 10 unanswered points to blow open a tie game at halftime.
“I was really concerned about our toughness and our rebounding and our turnovers and that’s really all I talked about at halftime,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. “The bad news is you did it to yourself. The good news is it’s under your control to shift it and change it, and they did it.”
The Bruins extended their home winning streak to 12 games and are just one of two remaining undefeated teams in the Pac-12 along with No. 3 Oregon State (14-0, 2-0). Connecticut and North Carolina State are the only other undefeated teams in the country.
UCLA scored 31 points with 10 turnovers in the first half Sunday and followed it with 28 points in the third quarter alone. The Bruins are the first team to score more than 60 points against Arizona (13-1, 2-1) this year. The Wildcats, averaging 45.4 points allowed per game while getting off to their best start in school history, led the nation in scoring defense entering the game.
Junior Michaela Onyenwere led the Bruins with 18 points and 13 rebounds while Chantel Horvat played a season-high 24 minutes off the bench and tallied her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Bruins outscored the Arizona bench 22-3.
The Bruins’ Osborne, Japreece Dean and Kiara Jefferson held Arizona’s Aari McDonald, the leading scorer in the Pac-12, to 19 points on seven-of-20 shooting. McDonald, who added seven rebounds and six assists, averages 20.2 points per game on 49.5% shooting.
Osborne was scoreless at halftime, but scored 10 points on five shots in the second half and ignited the Bruins in the third quarter with her out-of-bounds save that led to a three-pointer from Lindsey Corsaro.
“She plays like she’s not a freshman,” Onyenwere said of Osborne. “She’s a really good spark for us and she’s been really good for our team. … We feed off of her and want to match her energy.”
Corsaro’s three-pointer was one of four straight long-range shots for the Bruins to start the second half. After just 26.9% shooting from beyond the arc in nonconference play, UCLA has made 46% of three-pointers during three conference games, including nine-of-20 on Sunday.
The Bruins are 3-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since the 2015-16 season. But even after ending the nation’s longest active winning streak and grabbing their second ranked win of the season, the Bruins won’t get the reward of an extra day off. Close told her team that the first-half mistakes Sunday and eight-rebound deficit on the boards in Friday’s 68-66 win over Arizona State didn’t warrant additional rest time for a team aspiring to challenge the nation’s elite.
Close said an emotional win won’t reduce their standards. “No way,” she said.