No. 10 UCLA women are able to pull rank in road win over No. 6 Stanford
The buzzer sounded and UCLA players casually low-fived on the way to the bench. They smiled slightly. For these Bruins, a top-10 road win is almost business as usual.
Behind junior Michaela Onyenwere’s 29 points and 10 rebounds, No. 10 UCLA outdueled No. 6 Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Friday, 79-69, to secure a third straight road victory over a top-10 opponent and end Stanford’s 16-game home winning streak.
UCLA had two top-10 road wins last season, over No. 9 Maryland in the NCAA tournament and No. 2 Oregon.
“We prepared with a mind-set all week long that we expected to come do this,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. “As thrilled as I am for our team, we really chose the mind-set that we expected to be able to come and take this.”
By ending the third-longest active home win streak in the country, UCLA (20-2, 9-2) moved into a tie with Stanford (20-3, 9-2) for second in the Pac-12, trailing conference leader Oregon (21-2, 10-1), and gave Close her 100th conference victory.
UCLA basketball coach Mick Cronin’s history with Arizona coach Sean Miller goes back to Cronin’s days at Cincinnati, but they were both younger then.
Onyenwere overcame a taller Stanford frontcourt with her athleticism and energy. The 6-foot junior shot baseline fadeaways over 6-5 Ashten Prechtel, aggressively jumped into traffic to fight for rebounds and scrambled on the floor for loose balls.
She added two blocks, including one with 1:40 left after which she snatched the loose ball while tiptoeing the baseline and passed the ball back into play.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer praised Onyenwere’s versatility, saying the forward is “tweener” who plays in the post and shoots from the outside. She made three of five three-pointers Friday, accounting for all of UCLA’s made three-pointers. The rest of the Bruins went 0 for 13.
“She’s an All-Pac-12 player,” Stanford’s longtime coach said after the Cardinal’s five-game winning streak was halted.
Junior Chantel Horvat had a career-high 14 points on seven-for-10 shooting with seven rebounds, and freshman Charisma Osborne scored all eight of her points in the final quarter. The L.A. Windward High product’s mid-range jumper with 1:25 to go was the final blow, putting UCLA up by 10.
With star freshman Haley Jones sidelined by a knee injury, the Cardinal shot only 36.6% for the game.
Alozo Verge Jr. scored 26 points, Remy Martin added 15 and Arizona State made 14 three-pointers in an 84-66 win over UCLA.
Down by five at halftime and by eight early in the third quarter, Stanford clawed back with a 15-6 run capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Kiana Williams. The junior guard, who finished with 25 points, put the Cardinal up by one with 3:57 to go in the third, their first advantage since the beginning of the second quarter.
Close calmly called a 30-second timeout as the Cardinal crowd erupted. During the timeout, the Bruins remained poised. Then after the timeout, Onyenwere got a steal, leading to five Stanford turnovers in the last 3:18 of the third quarter as UCLA went on a 6-0 run.
Onyenwere’s defensive presence was a “game-changer” for UCLA, Close said, as the Bruins scored 19 points off 14 Stanford turnovers and had 23 fast-break points.
“Coach Cori came in with fire before the game and I think that really spoke to me and the team,” Onyenwere said. “She challenged our toughness and aggressiveness and we knew in order to win this game, we had to be aggressive, we had to be tough.”
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