STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — UCLA coach Cori Close issued a challenge to her team before a showdown at Stanford and Michaela Onyenwere delivered.
Onyenwere had 29 points and 10 rebounds and the 10th-ranked Bruins pulled away from the No. 6 Cardinal late for a 79-69 victory Friday night that moved UCLA into a tie for second place in the Pac-12 with Stanford.
“Coach Cori came in with fire before the game,” Onyenwere said. “That really spoke to me and the team. She challenged our toughness and aggressiveness and we knew that in order to this game we had to be aggressive and we had to be tough.”
Onyenwere got a steal and a layup late in the third quarter to give UCLA (20-2, 9-2) the lead for good and then added seven points early in the fourth to help the Bruins take control.
Chantel Horvat scored career-high 14 points off the bench for UCLA, Japreece Dean added 11 and the Bruins held Stanford to 36.6% shooting.
“We really wanted to take away their first and second option,” Close said. “We know where they want to enter the ball. We wanted them to think about our pressure the entire game so they didn’t get in a rhythm.”
Kiana Williams scored 25 points but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Cardinal (20-3, 9-2) from having their 16-game home winning streak snapped. Lacie Hull added 12 and Ashten Prechtel had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“We weren’t able to hit shots,” coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We weren’t moving the ball the way we needed to. It was disappointing.”
UCLA scored 10 straight points starting late in the first quarter and eventually built a nine-point lead as Stanford missed 15 of 17 shots. But Hull hit a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to cut the Bruins led to 35-30.
Williams sparked the Cardinal in an impressive stretch in the third quarter with an outlet pass to Prechtel for a layup, a pull-up jumper and then a 3-pointer to put Stanford up 45-44.
But the Bruins then capitalized on five turnovers in the final four minutes of the quarter to take a 50-45 lead heading into the fourth when Horvat hit a layup just before the buzzer.
UCLA: The big road win against a top 10 team keeps the Bruins within striking distance of No. 3 Oregon in the Pac-12 standings. UCLA hosts the Ducks next Friday night in what could be a showdown for first place in the conference.
Stanford: With star freshman Haley Jones sidelined by a knee injury, the Cardinal didn’t have enough scoring options to hang with the Bruins. Williams did her best with three 3-pointers in the first quarter and that spurt in the third. But she went 1 for 10 with two turnovers down the stretch.
“She got really tired,” VanDerveer said. “We need some more help for her so I can rest her more so she can be fresher at the end of the game.”
UCLA: Visit California on Sunday.
Stanford: Host Southern California on Sunday.
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