UCLA's 98-93 win over Arizona in a triple-overtime conference battle can be summed up by one theme: clutch shots.
The two Pac-12 teams battled an evenly-matched first 40 minutes, and with under 10 seconds left in regulation, the Wildcats clung to a 61-59 lead.
UCLA's Michaela Onyenwere, however, made sure the game didn't end there. After a teammate's driving layup attempt was no good, she fought under the basket for the offensive rebound and sunk the ball through the net with 3.3 seconds to spare to even the score.
WE ARE TIED WITH 3.3 REMAINING! pic.twitter.com/ZVqyQz8hR5— UCLA W. Basketball (@UCLAWBB) January 27, 2019
These kinds of last-second efforts continued through the next three overtime periods.
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Much like regulation, the first overtime was an even battle, with neither side ever gaining more than a three-point lead. UCLA led 67-64 halfway through the period, but Arizona fought back. The Wildcats inched closer and took the lead with 53 seconds left on an old-fashioned 3-point play after Aarion McDonald was fouled on a successful layup and made the subsequent free throw. Another free throw from Sam Thomas 30 seconds later put the Wildcats ahead by two with 21 seconds to go.
Then Onyenwere sprung into action — again. The UCLA sophomore banked in the tying basket off an entry pass with 16 seconds left in the period. A missed McDonald 3-pointer on the other end sent the game into a second overtime period with the score tied 71-71.
Enter overtime No. 2. UCLA soared out to an early three-point lead behind Japreece Dean's shot, and then extended the lead to five behind a jumper from the overtime queen, Onyenwere. UCLA controlled the majority of the second extra period, never giving up the lead, but Arizona, of course, fought back.
With five seconds remaining in double overtime and down by three, it was the Wildcats' turn for some dramatics. McDonald hit her most important shot, connecting on a deep ball just behind the arc with 2.8 seconds to go. Her basket kept her team, and the game, alive for a third overtime.
What. A. Shot. pic.twitter.com/VcNes5AmK6— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) January 27, 2019
McDonald's shot gave her team some momentum, and she started the third overtime with another 3 to give the Wildcats their third lead post-regulation. Another back-and-forth battle ensued, with UCLA again exerting control. This time, the Bruins built on their lead. After a tough 55-minute contest, free throws from Lajahna Drummer, Lucia Alonso and Onyenwere sealed the deal for the Bruins.
UCLA's win puts them 11-9 on the season, while Arizona moves to 14-5. It was quite a weekend for the Bruins, who needed a game-winning 3 in the closing seconds on Friday to move past Arizona State.
First triple OT game in UCLA women's basketball history ends with a Bruin win! 💯🙌@Lajahnaa: 18 pts & 17 rebs@_itsmichaela: 28 pts & 13 rebs@japreece24: 26 pts & 7 rebs#GoBruins pic.twitter.com/l8VpkEdbRE— UCLA W. Basketball (@UCLAWBB) January 27, 2019