Rice leads No. 10 UCLA to 82-74 win over No. 17 Oregon
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Freshman Kiki Rice had 21 points and seven assists to lead No. 10 UCLA to an 82-74 victory over 17th-ranked Oregon on Friday night.
UCLA (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) senior guard Charisma Osborne added 17 points before leaving the game in the fourth quarter due to an injury. UCLA coach Cori Close said she was unsure if Osborne would be able to play at Oregon State on Sunday, but hoped the all-conference selection could return soon.
UCLA shot 45.6% from the field, including 9 of 24 on 3-pointers. The Bruins scored 18 points off 20 Oregon turnovers.
“We didn’t play extremely smart, we have to work on decision-making, but we won on guts and toughness and determination,” Close said. “I told them ‘Thank goodness for that’. We play real hard and when we combine that with playing smarter, we can be real special. We are not there yet, but we have so much potential.”
Senior guard Endyia Rogers had 18 points and five assists to lead the Ducks (10-3, 1-1). Freshman Grace VanSlooten and junior guard Te-Hina Paopao each had 17 points.
“UCLA deserved that win, they played really, really hard and they were the aggressors for the most part the entire game until maybe the last five or six minutes,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “But I’m really proud of our team. What I’m going to take away is the fight that we had right to the finish. Unfortunately, we didn’t play with that same kind of fight early.”
UCLA led 54-48 after three quarters and pulled away with a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
Rice converted a three-point play to open the fourth quarter before Gabriela Jaquez added a basket. Gina Conti converted back-to-back buckets to put UCLA ahead 63-48. Emily Bessoir made a 3-pointer that pushed the Bruins to a 68-50 lead before Oregon scored 11 points in a row.
Oregon closed within 70-64 on a 3-pointer by Paopao before UCLA’s Camryn Brown made a three-point play with 3:27 left.
“We stretched the lead to 18 and that gave us some buffer room,” Rice said. “When they went on their run, we were able to withstand that and regroup and finish out the fourth.”
Oregon rallied from a 38-32 halftime deficit and took a 43-42 lead on a basket by Phillipina Kyei early in the third quarter. UCLA responded with eight straight points, including four straight by Osborne for a 50-43 advantage. Brown capped off the quarter with a bucket to put UCLA ahead 54-48.
“A road win over a ranked team when our best player goes out and we withstand a run, then regroup and find a way to get the job done, those are huge things,” Close said. “We play a lot of freshmen a lot of minutes and these situations teach them so much so that is huge.”
Rice scored 15 points in the opening half and Osborne added 11 as the pair combined to make 4 of 8 3-pointers.
UCLA: The Bruins are tied for first place in the conference and validated their top-10 ranking with a road win over the Ducks.
UCLA’s only loss was 73-64 at No. 1 South Carolina, and the Bruins also have a 80-63 win over Tennessee, which was ranked No. 11 at the time. The Bruins have a showdown at home looming against No. 2 Stanford in two weeks.
Oregon: All three of Oregon’s losses have come against ranked teams as UCLA joined No. 3 Ohio State and No. 13 North Carolina as teams that have beaten the Ducks. Oregon has a win over No. 24 Arkansas as it looks to build its postseason resume.
UCLA: The Bruins visit Oregon State on Sunday.
Oregon: The Ducks host USC on Sunday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25