LOS ANGELES — The tenth-ranked UCLA women started slow but picked up the pace in the second half to remain unbeaten.
Japreece Dean and Michaela Onyenwere each scored 19 points and Charisma Osborne added 17 to lead the Bruins over Pacific 68-57 on Sunday.
Onyenwere also had nine rebounds for UCLA (9-0). The trio of Dean, Onyenwere and Osborne also combined to pull down 20 rebounds and convert 16 of 18 free throws.
Sofie Tryggedsson and Valerie Higgins each had 15 points for the Tigers (6-3).
UCLA led 31-29 at halftime. Dean and Onyenwere totaled 18 points in the third quarter to increase the Bruins’ lead to 54-45.
“Our defense and our rebounding I think was the difference in the second half,” Dean said. “We were getting tips and putting pressure on the ball.”
“I think we were a little slow in the first half but we improved our focus and locked down on defense in the second half,” Onyenwere said.
Down by 15 midway through the fourth period, the Tigers closed to 63-57 on a basket by Higgins with 2 minutes left. Osborne made two free throws and a basket to seal it for UCLA.
Both teams played for the first time in eight days and showed the effects of the layoff, combining to shoot around 30% in the first half.
Brooklyn McDavid, who was averaging nearly 20 points per game for Pacific, was held to seven. It was the first time she failed to score in double digits this season.
“We definitely keyed on McDavid coming in,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. “We tried to deny her the ball and not give her good looks.
“We were missing three of our best defenders today, but we had and other players really stepped up.”
The Bruins forced 19 turnovers and Pacific missed all nine of its 3-point attempts in the second half. The Tigers shot 31.7% from the field for the game. UCLA held a 42-40 edge on the glass and shot 36.2% from the floor.
The Bruins’ improved their all-time record against Pacific to 5-0.
Pacific: McDavid shot 3 of 10. She had been 15th in the nation with a field-goal percentage of 64.1.
UCLA: The Bruins had one starter, sophomore guard Lindsey Corsaro, and two other key players, junior guard Chantel Horvat and sophomore guard Kiara Jefferson, out of the lineup because of injuries.
HE SAID IT
“UCLA was dialed in better on defense in the second half and we weren’t able to get many good shots from in close and we didn’t hit our 3s in the second half. But we played them tough on the boards and we’re right there as a team.” — Pacific Coach Bradley Davis.
UCLA begins a two-game trip on Thursday at Georgia.