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No. 14 UCLA women can’t close out No. 22 Arizona, lose in OT

LOS ANGELES — The UCLA women’s basketball team stumbled on its way to the finish line and could not recover.

Shaina Pellington led No. 22 Arizona on an 11-0 run to tie the score, then scored six of her team’s 10 points in overtime as the Wildcats rallied for a 71-66 victory over the 14th-ranked Bruins in the lone meeting of the regular season between the Pac-12 Conference rivals on Friday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Arizona came into the game after losing at home to Washington State, 70-59 and trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half against the Bruins.

UCLA (17-6 overall, 6-5 Pac-12) struggled from the field, making just 22 of 72 shots from the floor, but the Bruins went 11 for 31 from 3-point range and that was the difference through the first three quarters. Freshman Londynn Jones came off the bench and went 5 for 7 from behind the arc and Emily Bessoir went 4 for 10.

A Jones 3-pointer with 4:49 left in regulation gave UCLA a 61-50 lead, but the Bruins did not score again until Jones hit another 3-pointer with 3:33 left in overtime.

Arizona’s Lauren Fields, who had not made a field goal all night, took a kick-out pass from Pellington and drilled a 3-pointer with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter to make it 61-61, but the Wildcats (17-5, 7-4) could not find a go-ahead point and the game went to overtime.

Pellington hit a jumper in the lane to open overtime and Esmery Martinez knocked down a mid-range jumper before Jones scored to get UCLA within one. Pellington hit two free throws to give Arizona a 67-64 lead, then UCLA opted to have Kiki Rice drive for a layup coming out of a timeout. Down by one, the Bruins sent Madison Conner and Pellington to the free-throw line and they each hit both of their free throws to close out the win.

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