3/18/22 WESTWOOD, CA - The UCLA Bruins, in the first round of the WNIT Tournament, beat the UC Irvine Anteaters 61-48 to advance to the second round at Pauley Pavilion.
Natalie Chou led UCLA in scoring with 19-points, IImar'l Thomas 13-points, Angela Dugalic 8-points, and Charisma Osbourne 6-points. UC Irvine's top scorer was Kayla Williams with 13-points, Naomi Hunt with 11-points, and Nikki Tom with 9-points.
“For us to be able to play at home really means a lot to us,” UCLA head coach Cori Close said. “It’s going to pay dividends as we advance in the tournament. Air Force is such a good defensive team. We have to be ready to play and will need to play much better than we did today. We are excited to have the chance to compete again.
UC Irvine got on the scoreboard first and led 2-0 after a jump shot by Sophia Locandro. The Anteaters led 5-1 after a three-pointer by Olivia Williams.
UCLA trail 5-4 after a three-point shot by Dominique Unu. The Bruins tied the game 7-7 with a three-pointer by Natalie Chou. UCLA got their first lead of the game 9-7 with a jump shot by Angela Dugalic.
Jaelynn Penn's three-pointer gave the Bruins a 12-9 lead. The Anteaters regained the lead 13-12 with a made basket and free throw by Dja Lee.
Camryn Brown gave UCLA a 14-13 lead at the end of the quarter with her jump shot. UC Irvine led 18-14 in the second quarter with a three-point jump shot by Naiomi Hunt.
The Bruins led 20-18 with a three-pointer by Chou. UCLA led by six points, 24-16, with a layup by Dugalic forcing UC Irvine to call a timeout with 5:31 left before halftime.
UCLA led by ten points, 28-18, with a layup by IImar'l Thomas. UC Irvine trail 28-20 with a layup by Nikki Tom. The Anteaters trail 28-23 at halftime with a three-pointer by Hunt.
Chou led the Bruins in scoring in the first half with 11-points and for UC Irvine's Hunt with 8-points.
The Anteaters trail in the third quarter 28-25 with a jump shot in the paint by Olivia Williams. Chou would make another three-pointer to give the Bruins a 34-25 lead.
UC Irvine trailed by six points, 36-30, with a three-pointer by Locandro. Charisma Osborne made her first basket of the game, a layup to give UCLA a 38-33.
The Bruins led 42-35 with a by Thomas. The Anteaters continue to battle back, trail 46-43 with another three-pointer by Kayla Williams.
"The best thing we can take away from this is the battle that we had," said head coach Tamara Inoue. "We could have folded a couple of times when they went up by 10, but we did a good job of coming back. The last three minutes of that fourth quarter were back doors and them pounding inside, and it just didn't go our way, missing shots on the other end.
UCLA led 48-43 in the fourth quarter with a jump shot by Brown. The Bruins would push their lead to 50-43 with a layup by Osbourne.
Tom, with 6:19 left in the game, made two free throws that had UC Irvine down by five points, 50-45. Thomas would make two free throws that made the score 52-45.
Hunt's three-pointer had the Anteaters down 52-48 with 3:51 left in the game. Osbourne would make a reverse layup to give the Bruins an eight-point lead 56-48.
UCLA beat UC Irvine 61-48 to advance to the second round of the WNIT Tournament and will host the Air Force Falcons this Sunday at 2 PM. For more photos from this game, click on the link below. #uclabruinswbb #ucirvinewbb #ucla #ucirvine #pac12wbb #bigwestwbb #nataliechou #kaylawilliams #iimarlthomas #wnitwbb #tgsportstv1 #naomihunt