March 3, 2012
Seattle, WA --- UCLA (14-15, 9-9) dropped a 67-59 decision to Washington (16-12, 8-10) in a Pac-12 Conference women's basketball game played in Alaska Airlines Arena on Saturday afternoon. With the loss and a win by Arizona State (10-8 Pac-12) earlier on Saturday, the Bruins will play as the #5 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament and will face #12-seed Arizona on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. at Galen Center. UCLA officially tied for fifth in the conference with Oregon State, but won the tiebreaker by virtue of its victory over the Beavers on Jan. 19.
The Bruins trailed for virtually the entire game and were down 31-25 at the half, but tough defense kept them within striking distance. Senior guard Rebekah Gardner scored the first five points of the second half, her first in the game, to pull UCLA to within one point at 31-30, but UCLA could not get closer the rest of the way. A Gardner basket at the 9:24 mark cut the Husky lead to 46-44, but the Bruins' next basket did not come until the 2:58 mark, as junior forward Markel Walker connected. The bucket cut the Washington lead to 53-47, but two quick scores by the Huskies sealed the win for the home team.
Washington used a 10-2 run midway through the first half after UCLA had taken its only lead on a shot by sophomore center Corinne Costa, at 10-9, to move out to a 19-12 advantage at the 8:08 mark. The Bruins closed to 19-17 on a basket by Walker. It was as close as UCLA could get the balance of the half and the Huskies went to locker room ahead 31-25. Costa topped UCLA with eight points and Walker added seven at the break.
Walker led the Bruins with 20 points and 17 rebounds. She has scored in double-digits in the last 11 games and 14 of the last 16 contests. Gardner moved third on the all-time school games played list today with 126. She finished with 10 points hitting double figures for the 17th time in the last 18 outings. Sophomore guard Thea Lemberger added 13 points, the 11th time in the last 12 games she has reached double digits. Costa did not tally in the second half.