Feb. 16, 2003
LOS ANGELES ? - Freshman guard Nikki Blue scored a game-high 20 points to lead UCLA over Arizona State, 71-62, this afternoon in Pauley Pavilion before a crowd of 2,290. Blue's two-point basket with 3:12 remaining in the game gave the Bruins a 56-53 lead. It proved to be the last UCLA field goal of the game, but the Bruins, now 14-9 overall and 9-5 in Pac-10 play, converted 15 of 18 free throws down the stretch to hold off the Sun Devils, who fell to 14-10 and 6-9 in the conference.
Arizona State jumped to an 8-0 lead and led by as many as 11 points in the first half, at 15-4 with 12:33 remaining, before Michelle Greco ignited a Bruin rally. The senior guard scored eight points and assisted on a Blue three-pointer as UCLA went on a 13-2 run to even the score at 17 with 8:39 to play. The Sun Devils regrouped and led at the intermission 30-25 thanks to guard Carrie Buckner, who scored eight of her team-high 16 points in the first half.
The start of the second half was a different story, as UCLA outscored the Sun Devils 15-2 after the intermission and took a 42-32 lead at the 13:43 mark. ASU never regained the lead but narrowed the gap to just one point at 54-53 with 3:43 remaining in the contest. Blue then connected on what turned out to be the final Bruin basket of the game. ASU never pulled closer than four points in the final two minutes as the Bruins parade to foul line started with 2:48 remaining in the game.
Greco, who hit three out of four free throws down the stretch, finished with 18 points. She was joined in double figures by junior forward Whitney Jones, who scored 10 points, including six-straight free throws in the final 2:48. Freshman Lisa Willis added 12 points and converted five of six opportunities from the charity stripe in the final 42 seconds to help seal the Bruin win.
Arizona State forward Amy Denson added 12 points and was joined in double figures by guard Kylan Loney, who finished with 10.
UCLA returns to action on Thursday night at California.
Note: At halftime of the game, third-year civil engineering student Greg Bowers won free books and tuition for a year by winning the Cingular Wireless Supershot Contest. Bowers hit a layup, free throw, three-pointer and halfcourt shot within 30 seconds to claim the prize.