Natalie Chou shows off her scoring prowess in No. 9 UCLA’s win over Utah
Natalie Chou scored a career-high 28 points and No. 9 UCLA rolled to a 92-67 victory over Utah on Sunday.
Chou was 11 for 14 from the field, including four three-pointers. Her previous high points mark was 22 in 2017 while playing for Baylor. The senior forward had 13 points during the first quarter as the Bruins led 36-15 on the strength of eight three-pointers.
“It is really cool to see her play freely,” said Charisma Osborne, who had 22 points and eight assists. “It felt like she would be hesitant during games but to see her be aggressive and come out of her shell was good to see.”
Michaela Onyenwere added 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for UCLA, which had assists on 24 of their 35 baskets.
The Bruins’ women’s basketball coach and her players found communication to be the key during a summer of social unrest.
Chou said the game plan was to get Utah out of its zone defense and attack from the perimeter.
“We came out firing. If we had a good look we wanted to be aggressive and keep shooting,” she said.
The Bruins (7-2, 5-2 Pac-12) were playing their first game in a week. They had Friday’s game against Colorado postponed because they did not meet the Pac-12 Conference’s minimum of seven healthy scholarship players. UCLA has dressed only eight players this season because of players opting out and three of its freshmen unable to play because of international travel restrictions.
Coach Cori Close said that she had only four players able to practice for most of the week.
“You could see we were beat up from the start. Last week was so difficult not only for our kids sitting out but also for those who were practicing,” she said. “I’m a meticulous practice planner and I have had three or four different plans for a day before talking to our training staff.”
Kemery Martin led Utah (3-7, 2-7) with 18 points.
After Utah’s Andrea Torres hit a three-pointer to tie it at 3, UCLA went on an 11-2 run to take control.
“We had a horrendous first half. We came out soft and UCLA took it to us. We did a much better job in the second quarter and a much better job in the second half, but it was just a little too late,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts said.
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