LOS ANGELES - Arizona State took four hurried shots and had three offensive rebounds in a wild final 21 seconds against No. 10 UCLA to try to tie game. However, none of those shots fell.
UCLA withstood a furious comeback try by Arizona State in the final seconds for a 68-66 win on Friday night.
Japreece Dean scored 23 points, Lindsey Corsaro added 12 and UCLA (13-0, 2-0 Pac-12) remained undefeated and off to the best start in school history.
These Bruins were previously tied with the 1980-81 team with a 12-0 start.
UCLA coach Cori Close described those final seconds as “panic.”
“That was really nerve-wracking,” Dean said. “I don’t know how we can prep for that. We’ve just got to prepare for those rebounds, and I think we’ll learn from that.”
Robbi Ryan scored 17 points for Arizona State (10-4, 0-2). Ja’Tavia Tapley added 10 points.
Dean, who had a look of relief as a teammate helped her up off the court as the buzzer sounded, tied a career-high with five 3-pointers at Pauley Pavilion.
It was a back-and-forth game in which the Sun Devils pushed UCLA to the brink.
Arizona State coach Charli Turner Throne had called a timeout to diagram a play before the crazy finish. The final sequence didn’t go as planned.
“We got our opportunities,” she said. “... I thought we rushed some of those shots. I’m curious to watch it again.”
Dean was pivotal once again for the Bruins and scored nine points in the third quarter. The teams were tied at 56 after three quarters. Dean gave UCLA a 68-65 lead on a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 1:59 left.
Kiara Russell made one of two free throws to pull the Sun Devils within two points at 68-66, and at the other end, Dean missed a hurried 3-pointer. Arizona State got the rebound, missed a couple of shots, and used a timeout to draw up a play with 21 seconds left. Then the flurry of missed shots and rebounds helped UCLA walk away with the win.
UCLA could exhale and bask in the program’s best start.
“They still did do something that no team has ever done and I hadn’t talked about it with them one time,” Close said. “I wanted both eyes and both feet in on the process. But it is an opportunity to say thank you to the people who came before us and an opportunity to have humility about people who paved the way to walk in and also an opportunity to affirm the find-a-way mentality this group does have. That’s not easy to do no matter how you slice it. We earned that.”
The third and fourth quarters were a physical affair.
In the second quarter, ASU took the lead at 27-26 when Tapley made a 3-pointer off the glass. UCLA responded with back-to-back scores and the Sun Devils didn’t have another lead in the quarter. Eboni Walker made a buzzer-beating shot to cut UCLA’s lead to four, 37-33.
Arizona State led by as many as four points at 50-46 when Ryan made a 3-pointer from the right wing and flexed her wingspan. The Sun Devils came into the game unranked, but with 10 victories and were challenging the Bruins, who had an eight-game win streak, dating to last season, at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA started the game with a bang, as its prone to fast starts. The Bruins started the game with a 13-2 run. It was UCLA at its best, scoring every which way — a putback, a floater in the lane, an open 3-pointer, a step-back 3-pointer and another open 3-pointer. The Sun Devils made little easy after that.
INJURED OR NOT
Arizona State guard Ryan left the game in the second quarter, hobbling to the bench with another left ankle injury. She returned and made plenty of big shots down the stretch, and had 8 of her 17 points in the third quarter.
UCLA outrebounded Arizona State 27-17 in the first half but it was a tale of two halves. The Sun Devils outrebounded UCLA 27-9 the rest of the way, including those three critical offensive rebounds in the final 21 seconds. The Sun Devils had 20 offensive rebounds in the game.
ASU: The Sun Devils know they’re much better than their 0-2 conference start, but they’ve already played two ranked teams.
UCLA: The Bruins played a lackadaisical second quarter with too many turnovers, something they need to address. But, UCLA still found a way to keep rolling.
ASU: Plays at USC on Sunday.
UCLA: Hosts No. 18 Arizona on Sunday in a matchup of unbeaten teams.