Los Angeles – A ferocious fourth-quarter push by No. 2 Stanford propelled them past No. 8 UCLA Friday, 72-59.
The game had been tight through the end of the third quarter, and the Cardinal lead 51-49 going into the final frame. But Cameron Brink took over, scoring 6 of her 12 points, grabbing 8 of her 11 rebounds and blocking 6 of 7 shots on the night to lead the charge. Agnes Emma-Nnpou also contributed, scoring all of her season-high 9 points in the fourth. Haley Jones put up 16 points and snagged 12 rebounds.
“At halftime I was disappointed with some of our shots,” Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I thought people were rushing shots, not running our offense and turning the ball over. And then I think we settled down in the second half.”
Bruin coach Cori Close blamed the loss on her team’s lapse in focus and lack of response to their opponent’s defense and tough play.
“(I’m) disappointed because I know how well we prepared leading up to this game, and then to get out-toughed and out-rebounded in that second half – that stings,” she said. “You’ve got to be the tougher team night in and night out…..we didn’t take care of the things we could control.”
Charisma Osborne and Gina Conti each had 13 points for the hosts.
Stanford, at 17-1, saw their last loss Nov. 20, to No. 1 South Carolina. Nevertheless, VanDerveer said her squad is still building momentum.
“I think we’re just scratching the surface of how good we can be. We’re just figuring out how to play people and who to play together,” she said.
UCLA climbed back into the AP top 25 just two weeks into the season, and had come off of a momentum-building series-sweep win over USC last weekend. Sophomore Emily Bessoir, who scored 10 points against the Cardinal, said her team has to get ready for Sunday’s showdown with visiting Cal.
“We need to stay more consistent, being locked in, executing and being tougher overall,” she said. “They went on a run, and we never stopped them. We have to grow every practice and reset our minds.”
The Bruins host the Bears at noon, while Stanford visits the Trojans at 2 p.m.