SALT LAKE CITY -- The UCLA Bruins wrapped up the regular season with a 62-52 win at Utah on Sunday afternoon at the Huntsman Center. It was just UCLA's third win on the year in 18 tries when trailing at the break. The Bruins improved to 7-3 all-time against Utah and have won all six meetings against the Utes since they joined the Pac-12 Conference.
The Bruins finished in eighth place in the Pac-12 and improved to 13-17 overall and 7-11 in league play while Utah fell to 11-18 on the year and 4-14 in the Pac-12.
The Bruins trailed by as many as seven points in the second half (32-25 with 18:01 to go). But UCLA went on a 10-1 run to take a 35-33 lead with 15:01 to go that culminated with a three by Madeline Brooks. Utah tied the game at 43-43, but Nirra Fields scored seven quick points to give the Bruins their largest lead of seven points (50-43) with 7:07 remaining.
Utah opened the game with a 5-0 lead and held its largest lead of the first half at six points (10-4) with 16:35 to go in the period. Trailing 12-8, the Bruins engineered an 11-1 run to take their largest lead of the opening stanza at six points (19-13) when Atonye Nyingifa found a cutting Dominique Williams for an easy two with 8:41 to go in the half. The Bruins led 25-22 on a jumper by Luiana Livulo (1:54), but Michelle Plouffe scored the final five points of the first half to give her Utes a 27-25 lead at the break.
The Bruins outrebounded Utah 18-17 in the opening 20 minutes and both teams had eight turnovers. Thea Lemberger did not play in the game due to illnes and Fields did not start for the first time this year due to a violation of unspecified team rules.
Fields led the Bruins with a game-high 22 points and added five assists, four rebounds and three steals. She also had career-high in free throws made (13) and attempted (17). Nyingifa had 16 points, nine rebounds, five asissts and three steals in her last regular season game. Corinne Costa had a superb showing with 15 points (two shy of her career-high) and eight rebounds to go with three assists and two blocks.
Michelle Plouffe led Utah with 20 points on her senior day. Emily Potter was the only other Ute to reach double figures with 14 points, to go with eight rebounds.
UCLA will head to Seattle for a first-round matchup with the Colorado Buffaloes in the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament. The game is scheduled to tip at Noon on Thursday, March 6.
UCLA at Utah