The Colorado Buffaloes women’s basketball team extended its 11-game losing streak against the UCLA Bruins Friday night at the CU Events Center, falling to the UCLA Bruins 64-60.
The game proved to be the Buffs’ closest shot at an ever-elusive first Pac-12 conference win thus far this season, but the shots just didn’t fall in. It was a game of missed opportunities that ultimately cost the Buffs the victory.
Head coach J.R. Payne was still impressed with the effort against a tough UCLA team.
“I’m just really proud of our team for the way we competed and battled,” she said. “…Our competitiveness on the glass tonight was phenomenal.”
While CU took an abundance of three-point shots, UCLA found success in the paint. The Bruins scored 32 points down low, compared to Colorado’s 24. The Buffs shot 7-of-25 from behind the arc, and UCLA out-rebounded CU 53-41.
Colorado got off to a fast start early, propelled by an 18-2 run to begin the contest. Senior guard Alexis Robinson had nine points herself in the first quarter, while CU held a 20-11 lead. For a team winless in their last 10 games, the fast start was much needed. The finish, however, just wasn’t there.
The second quarter was not as friendly for the Buffs. Their early momentum came to a halt and Colorado opened the quarter shooting a lowly 1-of-8 from the floor. Mirroring the score of the first quarter, it was 20-11, only this time it was UCLA with the edge. In the last minute of the half, the Bruins managed to tie the game at 31.
After halftime, the game continued to stay close, and UCLA entered the fourth quarter with a slim 49-47 lead. Anticipation loomed for the Buffs with their first conference win in grasp.
Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, poor shooting in fourth quarter sealed their fate. Robinson began the fourth with a clutch 3-pointer to give the Buffaloes the lead, but they couldn’t continue the momentum to finish the contest.
UCLA shot 5-of-10 from the field in the fourth quarter, and came away with the win.
“It felt like down the stretch of the game [UCLA was] either scoring on free throws or on and-ones,” said Payne. “…They are fantastic on the offensive glass. They know that when the game is on the line, that is where they can make their money, and they did so.”
The one bright spot for the Buffaloes was certainly Robinson. She amassed a career-high 33 points, breaking her previous record of 31, which was coincidentally also against UCLA.
“I don’t expect Lex [Robinson] to go for 33 [points] every night, she is probably capable of it, but our competitive nature in tonight’s game is the expectation,” said Payne. “That truthfully was the biggest difference from last weekend and today.”
Robinson was aggressive on both ends of the court and was the catalyst for the Buffs offense.
“They’re a tough team,” said Robinson. “I’m a competitor so I just went out there and played as hard as I could.”
Junior guard Quinessa Caylao-Do was also able to set a career-high in rebounds with eight. Even in the midst of the Buffaloes 11-game losing skid, Caylao-Do seems optimistic the Buffs can find their way out of this rough spell.
“I think we can just keep growing each game and work on the errors that we may struggle on and then grow each game,” she said.
A close game against a tough opponent hopes to be an indication of good things to come for the Buffs.
Colorado will look to snap their 11-game losing streak this Sunday, taking on the USC Trojans at home. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Jack Carlough at firstname.lastname@example.org.