The Washington women’s basketball team dropped its eighth straight game — an 84-50 defeat against No. 5 UCLA on Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena.
It was the third fewest points this season for the Huskies (4-10, 1-10 Pac-12), who had more turnovers (22) than field goals (21).
In their previous meeting, Washington toppled then-No. 8 UCLA 74-68 on Feb. 23, 2020, for one of its biggest wins last season and the only regular-season victory against a ranked team during coach Jody Wynn’s four-year tenure.
Wynn noted UW’s absence in experienced players when asked about the difference between the last year’s upset win over the Bruins and Sunday’s 34-point blowout defeat.
“Amber Melgoza, Mai-Loni Henson, Missy Petersen, T.T. Watkins (and) Ali Bamberger,” Wynn said. “We’re a totally different team. Rita Pleskevich played incredible last year against them.
“We’re a different team. We’re young and inexperienced in some key spots. … We just don’t have the toughness that Amber and Mai-Loni brought to the table every day.”
For the third straight game, the injury-riddled Huskies rolled out a makeshift starting lineup that included centers Quay Miller and Darcy Rees and forced senior shooting guard Alexis Griggsby to direct the offense.
Meanwhile, starters Tameiya Sadler and Khayla Rooks came off the bench once again and had their minutes limited while recovering from unspecified injuries.
“We just have kids playing roles they’re not used to and that’s not fair to them,” Wynn said.
Haley Van Dyke scored 13 points on 6-for-16 shooting from the field before leaving the game in the final minute with a knee injury, but the Bruins bottled up the rest of the UW players.
The first five minutes served as a barometer for Washington, which was 0-for-5 shooting from the field while UCLA went up 6-0. The Bruins extended their lead to 17-6 with 1:55 remaining in the first quarter and the rout was on.
The Huskies converted just 4 of 18 field goals in the first and 4 of 12 in the second while tallying just eight points in each quarter, which resulted in a 37-16 deficit at halftime.
“They were the aggressor,” Wynn said. “We actually tried really hard to score the ball in the paint. We couldn’t get ourselves to the free-throw line and didn’t make a three the whole first half. It was a challenge to score the ball.”
Washington, which was 0 for 11 on three-pointers in the first half, got going offensively after the break and tallied 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting in the third quarter.
“We played like we didn’t care what the scoreboard said right then and there,” Wynn said. “We were the aggressor. Went to the offensive board. We made some hustle plays. We moved the ball better. We found open shooters against their zone. And we were able to knock down some threes.”
However, the Huskies could never slow down UCLA’s leading scorer, Charisma Osborne, and preseason All-American forward Michaela Onyenwere while the Bruins (11-3, 9-3) put up 22 points in the third and maintained a lead of at least 21 points.
Osborne converted 6 of 11 shots, including five three-pointers for a game-high 21 points. Onyenwere finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists while Emily Bessoir had 14 points and Natalie Chou 11.
“Every single win in the Pac-12 is just a fight for it,” Bruins coach Cori Close said. “You know we lost up here quite frankly last year. I just don’t think you can take anything for granted at this level.
“I was pleased the way we took away what Washington’s first and second looks are, both individually and their tendencies, but also their team things that they want to do.”
The Huskies shot 37.5% from the field, 22.2% on three-pointers (4 of 18) and connected on just 4 of 11 free throws.
Washington needs a win Friday at Arizona State (8-6, 4-6) to avoid tying the program’s fourth-longest losing streak, which was set last season.
“We talked about our accountability to ourselves and to each other as team members,” Wynn said. “I’m not going to quit. I’m going to go to work and stay up all night. My staff, we’re not going to lay down and (we will) try to get our players in better situations and help them learn.”