Los Angeles – Behind a career-high 28 points from Natalie Chou, No. 9 UCLA posted a decisive 92-67 win over Utah Sunday.
Chou was 11-14, including 5 of 7 from behind the arc, to tie a personal-best for threes. Charisma Osborne added 22 points and eight assists and Michaela Onyenwere put up 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished eight assists for the Bruins, who were too short-handed to play Friday.
Playing with eight all season, UCLA had to opt out of their game against Colorado when injuries put them below the minimum number required to play. Against the Utes, they looked like they hadn’t missed a beat.
The Bruins got out to a quick start and withstood the visitor’s second quarter 6-2 run, and never looked back. They shot 56 percent on the day and had 24 team assists – something coach Cori Close appreciated.
“If you’re going to be a championship-level team you’ve got to demand more – even when you’re up by 20,” she said. “I was especially pleased with our 24 assists, and by 25 field goals of us creating easy shots.”
UCLA practiced with four last week, as Chantel Horvat and Lindsey Corsaro were out. Close said two of the managers for men’s basketball practiced with them, which allowed three-on-three work.
“This has been the hardest leadership year I’ve ever had, and for our kids, it’s been the hardest year in terms of preparation,” she said. “I give our players a lot of credit for their perseverance.”
Kemery Martin had 18 points for Utah, which dropped to 3-7 with the loss. Dru Gylten added 13 points and 6 assists, as most of their reserve players went cold on the floor.
Coach Lynne Roberts said the Utes got off to a slow start and never recovered.
“We had a horrendous first half. We came out soft and UCLA took it to us,” she said. “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.”
The Bruins next face Washington State, which upset No. 7 Arizona Sunday.