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Michaela Onyenwere leads No. 8 UCLA women to win at Utah; USC falls at Colorado

UCLA forward Michaela Onyenwere in action against Washington during.
UCLA forward Michaela Onyenwere controls the ball during a win over Washington on Feb. 7.
(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Michaela Onyenwere gave UCLA’s offense a boost just when the Bruins needed it Friday against Utah.

Onyenwere finished with 25 points and seven rebounds to lead No. 8 UCLA to a 69-58 victory, passing Michelle Greco for 11th place on the school’s all-time scoring list.

Many of her baskets came during critical stretches in the first half to keep the Utes from building momentum.

“Every game I can say something about her effort,” UCLA Coach Cori Close said. “That’s what I love about Michaela the most is that you never ever have to coach her effort.”

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Chantel Horvat finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Bruins. Natalie Chou added 12 points and Charisma Osborne 10. The Bruins (12-3, 10-3 Pac-12) scored 25 points off 15 Utah turnovers.

With injuries and other misfortunes devastating UCLA’s Pac-12 ambitions, the team is trying to patch up things after a loss to Washington State.

“That was a big part of our game plan to try to create easy offense out of our defense,” Close said. “I thought they did a good job coming at us, but I do think those were critical buckets.”

Brynna Maxwell led the Utes with 14 points and six assists. Kemery Martin added 12 points. Utah (5-12, 4-12 Pac-12) made three of 18 three-point shots after entering the game ranked in the top third in the conference for made three-pointers.

UCLA scored 16 points off eight Utah turnovers by halftime to take control.

“We want to be able to take the other team out of what they do well and what they do best,” Onyenwere said. “There’s definitely room for improvement on the defensive end, but I’m proud that we were able to force them into turnovers and then capitalize on those.”

Postgame news conference following the No. 8 UCLA women’s victory at Utah.

The Bruins made six of 12 three-pointers in the first half. Osborne capped a 13-4 run with consecutive threes, giving the Bruins a 15-8 lead.

The Utes cut the deficit to 21-20 midway through the second quarter after Lola Pendande and Martin keyed an 8-0 run with two baskets apiece.

Onyenwere got the Bruins back on track, scoring three baskets to fuel a 12-0 run. Her final jumper in that stretch finished the run and extended UCLA’s lead to 35-22.

The victory was UCLA’s 18th in a row against Utah, dating to 2001.

USC women fall at Colorado

Alissa Pili finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, but USC was cold from the field in the fourth quarter and lost 66-56 to Colorado on Friday night in Boulder, Colo., as the Trojans’ three-game winning streak ended.

Mya Hollingshed scored 18 points and Frida Formann had 17 for the Buffaloes (8-9, 6-8 Pac-12), who entered the fourth quarter tied 47-47 with the Trojans (9-8, 7-7). Shalexxus Aaron hit three three-pointers and scored nine points for USC, which led by 13 in the second quarter.

The Trojans will visit Utah on Sunday afternoon. Colorado is set to host UCLA that day.

Highlights from the USC women’s 66-56 loss at Colorado on Friday night.


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