LOS ANGELES -- The UCLA Bruins had their backs against the wall versus the high-scoring Oregon Ducks, but responded furiously and pulled out an 88-83 win Friday night. With the victory, UCLA evened its record at 9-9 (3-3 in Pac-12 play), while Oregon dropped to 9-7 (0-5).
It was a career night for multiple Bruins, as senior Atonye Nyingifa poured in a career-high 34 points, senior Thea Lemberger drained a career-best six three-pointers and junior Corinne Costa grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds. Lemberger tied her season high with 25 points.
Three Ducks scored in double figures, led by junior Katelyn Loper with 19. Senior Ariel Thomas and sophomore Jillian Alleyne added 15 points apiece, while Alleyne pulled down a season-high 20 rebounds.
Oregon was aggressive on the offensive boards in the first half, as it grabbed 11 in the first 5:49. Offensive struggles by the Ducks--who lead the nation in scoring--kept the Bruins in the game. Eventually, Oregon turned defense into offense, as it forced four turnovers for seven points and an 8-0 run that put the Ducks up 20-13.
Three-pointers began falling for Oregon as the first half progressed and the offensive rebounds continued. The Ducks made five of six from distance on third possession opportunities in the half. UCLA began capitalizing on Oregon's miscues late in the half as it went on a 10-2 run of its own that began a late back-and-forth battle that saw the lead change hands seven times in the last 2:24. The Ducks led 44-43 at the break on a Loper three-pointer as time expired.
The Ducks looked ready to bury the shorthanded Bruins early in the second frame, as they went on a 10-0 run to extend its lead to 11, 62-51. Nyingifa scored 12 straight points for the Bruins to keep UCLA in it. Loper made three from long distance while battling Nyingifa’s scoring streak to help stretch the Duck lead to a game-high 13, 77-64 with 6:27 remaining.
Bruin sophomore Nirra Fields then caught fire, scoring nine of her 19 points during a 13-0 run that tied the score at 77 with 4:13 to go. Four more lead changes would occur, but the senior leadership of Nyingifa and Lemberger, as well as a clutch block by Costa (one of her six) on Loper helped the Bruins match their largest lead at five, where it would end. It was the third time this season UCLA was victorious after trailing by double digits.
Nyingifa also recorded her fifth straight double-double and eighth of the season. The Bruins dished out a season-high 24 assists, made a season-best 50.8% (32-63) from the field and a season-high nine from three-point range, while the Ducks made 13 of 42 from distance and won the rebounding battle 50-43 (including 24-8 offensively).
The Bruins return to action when they host Oregon State at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Oregon at UCLA