In the only matchup between the No. 22 Arizona Wildcats and the No. 14 UCLA Bruins this season, Arizona ended the game on a 21-5 run to beat UCLA 71-66 at home in overtime. Arizona now has the tiebreaker over UCLA and improves to 17-5, while UCLA falls to 17-6 on the season.
Shania Pellington was the engine of the Arizona offense, ending the night with 21 points. Esmery Martinez stepped up with a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds.
For the Bruins, Londynn Jones was sensational with 20 points off the bench and Emily Bessoir and Kiki Rice both had 14 points.
COMEBACK CATS— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) February 4, 2023
No. 22 @ArizonaWBB makes a late comeback to force OT and get the win over No. 14 UCLA! pic.twitter.com/coHo3aaNCb
The Wildcats came out on top, but it was all UCLA in the beginning. The Bruins had control for most of the first half and did an excellent job containing Cate Reese, rendering her ineffective and leading by as many as 12 in the half.
In the third quarter, the Wildcats came roaring back and even took the lead, but then their offense stalled and the Bruins went on an 8-0 run to take a seven-point lead into the fourth.
Midway through the final frame, UCLA was up by 11 and looked like it was going to cruise to victory but Arizona had different ideas. The Wildcats came storming back again as Cate Reese finally got going offensively and Lauren Fields hit a clutch three to tie the game up at 61. Both teams had opportunities to take the lead for good but missed layups down the stretch so the contest headed to overtime.
In OT, it was the Shay Pellington show as she scored six of the team’s ten points to secure the upset win on the road. UCLA struggled to score in the period, as they only mustered five points (an early three and a layup in the closing seconds of the game).
This win is huge for the Wildcats. It gives them the tiebreaker versus UCLA and a win against a Top 15 team. For UCLA, this will undoubtedly make it fall in the rankings; the only question is how low they will go.
Arizona will stay in L.A. and play USC on Sunday, while UCLA, funnily enough, heads to Arizona to play Arizona State the same day.
The Pac-12 is heating up as we head toward the final weeks of conference play.