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Colorado's Jen Reese, left, and Haley Smith, right, struggle for possession of the ball with a UCLA player at Friday night's game. (Elizabeth Rodriguez/ CU Independent)

Women’s basketball runs down UCLA Bruins, 62-42

Colorado's Jen Reese, left, and Haley Smith, right, struggle for possession of the ball with a UCLA player at Friday night's game. (Elizabeth Rodriguez/ CU Independent)
Colorado’s Jen Reese, left, and Haley Smith, right, struggle for possession of the ball with a UCLA player at Friday night’s game. (Elizabeth Rodriguez/ CU Independent)

If the University of Colorado women’s basketball team needed some final Pac-12 confidence, their game against the University of California Los Angeles at home provided it.

The Lady Buffs hosted a clinic on fundamental basketball in the second half at the Coors Events Center, defeating the Bruins by a lopsided score of 62-42. After a turbulent season of Pac-12 conference play, where Colorado holds a 6-11 record, the last two games have been something of a revelation for head coach Linda Lappe and her team. An overtime victory against the University of Arizona and tonight’s victory against UCLA give the Buffs two straight wins ahead of their final home game of the season against the University of Southern California Trojans.

Junior forward Jen Reese went down with an injury mid-way through the first half and did not return, but the rest of the Buffs stepped up, making up Reese’s 12.3 points per game in style. Sophomore forward Arielle Roberson applauded her team for coming through in the absence of one of their best players.

“Everybody steps up when somebody goes down,” Roberson said.

Reese came out of the tunnel for the second half with a sling around her left arm. The specifics of the injury are still unknown. Freshman guard Haley Smith was one of the biggest contributors in filling the void left by Reese, contributing 11 points and eight rebounds. Roberson posted a double-double, with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Buffs held the Bruins to 12 total points in the entire second half while they scored 35. At one point, the Buffs went on a 14-0 run that lasted almost seven minutes. One of the small bright spots for UCLA was senior forward Atonye Nyingifa, who had 12 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Thea Lemberger added 11 points and four assists.

Tonight’s victory marked a season sweep for the Buffs over the Bruins, and they will face each other one more time in the first round of the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament. But at eighth place in the conference, the NCAA tournament seems to be out of reach. Celebration will be sparked if they win the Pac-12 tournament on March 6-9. Roberson believes that her team can make some noise in Seattle, and their confidence in these past two victories is sending a message to the rest of the conference.

“We’re finding ourselves, and they should be scared,” Roberson said.

Contact CU Independent staff writer Andrew Haubner at andrew.haubner@colorado.edu.

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