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UCLA makes late surge past UW
Special to The Seattle Times
UW Women's Basketball
LOS ANGELES — Kayla Burt made the second of two free throws with 3:24 remaining last night, giving Washington hopes of coming away with an upset at UCLA.
Burt, who scored a career-high 20 points, sparked a furious second half in which Washington and UCLA combined to tie the score on 14 different occasions.
But UCLA's Nikki Blue scored three of her game-high 23 points in the final 2:10 and UCLA's strong free-throw shooting led the Bruins to an 86-81 Pac-10 victory before 737 at Pauley Pavilion.
Burt, coming off the bench, also set career highs with eight rebounds and four three-pointers.
The Huskies (9-13, 5-7 Pac-10) connected on 7 of 11 three-pointers in the second half to erase UCLA's 31-29 halftime lead. UCLA freshman Lindsey Pluimer finished with 21 points and tied the score 74-74 with 6:17 to play.
Four Huskies scores in double digits, including Cheri Craddock, who finished with 11 points. Jill Bell and Breanne Watson each scored 10 points for the Huskies.
After Burt gave the Huskies a 78-76 lead with 3:24 to play, UCLA (14-7, 8-4) trimmed the deficit to 79-78 when Ortal Oren connected on two free throws.
Washington, however, committed a traveling violation on its next possession, leading to Blue's jump shot with 2:10 to play, giving UCLA an 80-79 lead. It was a lead UCLA would not relinquish.
The Bruins sealed the victory with a three-pointer from Lisa Willis with 1:12 to play. She hit three of her four three-pointers in the second half.
Turnovers in the final minutes left Washington with a bitter taste in their mouths.
"It hurts to play that well in the second half and end up losing the game on two possessions," said Burt. "Hopefully it's something we can build upon."
UCLA played without leading scorer Noelle Quinn, who has been sidelined since Jan. 16 with a knee injury. However, the Bruins got 17 points each from Willis and Amanda Livingston.
UCLA coach Kathy Oliver was impressed by Washington's second-half tenacity.
"Washington was on fire," she said. "I think both teams got in a good flow. We just were fortunate enough to come up with two key turnovers in the final minutes."
Pluimer, a true freshman, scored UCLA's first 10 points of the game and helped the Bruins build a six-point lead in the first five minutes. It started a pattern in which the Huskies had to play from behind.
The Huskies fell behind 24-16 with 6:45 to play in the first half, but went on a 13-7 run to cut the Bruins' lead to two points.
Washington found its touch to start the second half. Craddock hit two of her three three-pointers in the half, Kristen O'Neill hit one of her two three-pointers and Dominique Banks hit her only three-pointer.
The Huskies outrebounded UCLA 40-34, but in the end couldn't overcome the costly turnovers.
"We're not going to get caught up in wins and losses in conference at this point," Huskies coach June Daugherty said. "This is a young team that played hard tonight and didn't have the benefit of the last shot."
Burt, who plays with a defibrillator in the right side of her chest, bested her 19-point performance on Jan. 13 at Oregon. With the four three-pointers, she tied her career high set in December against Baylor.
The Huskies, who have lost two of their last three and six of their last nine, play at USC at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company