Jan. 26, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Junior Mariah Williams poured in a career-high 21 points and three three-pointers, junior Markel Walker notched her fourth double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds and senior Rebekah Gardner (15) and sophomore Thea Lemberger (13) also scored in double figures, as the Bruins came back to beat Utah 65-60 on Thursday at the Huntsman Center.
The Bruins improve to 9-10 overall and 4-4 in Pac-12 play, while the Utes fall to 9-10 and 2-6 in league action.
Williams made eight of her 14 shots from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Gardner tied a career high with five steals, while Lemberger equaled a personal best with six assists. UCLA shot 41.5% (27-65) from the field for the game. The Bruins dressed just seven players, as freshman Kacy Swain did not play due to a violation of team rules.
A Lemberger three accounted for the first Bruin points of the game 30 seconds in, but UCLA proceeded to miss 11 of its next 12 shots, as a 10-2 Utah run put the home team up 10-5 seven minutes into the contest. The Bruins bounced back with the next seven points to go up 12-10, and they maintained at least a share of the lead for the rest of the half. Layups by Walker and Lemberger and a trey from Williams put the Bruins up by two with nine minutes left in the half.
With the score tied at 16 with 5:30 to go, an 11-6 run put the Bruins up 27-22. Gardner had five points during the run, while Lemberger, Walker and Williams recorded two apiece. A Ute trey narrowed their deficit to a pair, but Gardner hit a running jumper as time expired to give the Bruins a 29-25 advantage heading into the locker room. Gardner had nine points on 4-of-9 shooting with six rebounds in the initial stanza. Williams added nine points, Lemberger posted seven and Walker notched four points, eight rebounds and three steals. The Bruins shot 30.8% (12-39) from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
A layup from Walker 30 seconds into the second half gave the Bruins their biggest lead of the game of six at 31-25. But a 9-0 Utah run over the next 3:30 gave the home team a 34-31 edge. The Bruins cut their deficit to one twice at 34-33 and 37-36, but a 7-0 Ute run immediately brought their advantage back up to eight at 44-36 midway through the second half.
Trailing 52-43 (Utah's biggest lead) with seven minutes to go, the Bruins went on a 13-5 run over the next 3:30 to again get to within one at 57-56. Gardner and Walker each had four points, Lemberger added three and Williams posted two during the run, as UCLA also pressed Utah to force four turnovers. Utah came back with the next three to go ahead 60-56, but the Bruins scored the last nine points of the game. Back-to-back hoops by Williams tied the score at 60 with 90 seconds left.
After another Utah turnover, a layup from Lemberger gave the Bruins their first lead since the opening minutes of the second half at 62-60. UCLA forced Utah into another miscue and had to foul Walker, who made both her free throws to make it 64-60 with 35 seconds left. A Williams free throw tacked on the final point to conclude her career high night in scoring. Williams had 12 points in the second half, while Gardner added six points and five steals. Walker (10 points) and Lemberger (six) both played all 20 minutes in the second half, as the Bruins shot 58.3% (14-24) from the floor after halftime.
The Bruins head one state over for their next game against a new Pac-12 foe, as they take on Colorado on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT. Gametracker and free audio will be available at UCLABruins.com. The contest will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net with Jim Watson and Mary Murphy at the call.