The UCLA women’s basketball team lost to Stanford in the Pac-12 final Saturday evening. If you consider that the Cardinal secured their seventh straight tournament title, the outcome doesn’t seem that surprising.
But what will sting the Bruins is how close they came to pulling off their biggest upset of the year, a 51-49 decision that was a missed Markel Walker layup away from overtime. The team retained possession with 0.2 seconds left on the clock, but couldn’t get a shot off.
UCLA had lost twice to Stanford earlier this season by an average of scoring margin of 18.5, but overcame an 0-11 start to lead 27-26 at halftime. Its defense limited Pac-12 Player of the Year Chiney Ogwumike to a career-low three points — almost 20 below her season average. The Cardinal have now won 16 straight against the Bruins.
The Bruins had already pulled off an upset of regular season co-champion Cal on Saturday, a convincing 70-58 win that moved them up to a No. 3 seed in ESPN’s NCAA tournament bracket. The projection should still stand for the tournament runner-up. Had UCLA won, it would have been responsible for two of the Cardinal and Bears’ six combined losses on the season.