Charisma Osborne doesn’t have to be UCLA’s leading scorer anymore, but the fifth-year guard proved Friday that she still is the Bruins’ go-to star.
Osborne scored 13 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter as the No. 3 Bruins survived an upset bid from Princeton in a 77-74 win at Pauley Pavilion. Center Lauren Betts, the transfer from Stanford who came in averaging a team-best 18.7 points per game, had a perfect shooting game with 22 points on nine-for-nine from the field and went four for four from the free throw line. She added 10 rebounds.
A pair of Southern California natives starred for the Tigers (2-1) in their homecomings as guard Kaitlyn Chen, a Flintridge Prep alumna and the reigning Ivy League player of the year, scored 24 points and Los Angeles Windward’s Skye Belker had 20.
Osborne sparked UCLA’s fourth quarter by scoring the team’s first four points and forcing a steal that Kiki Rice converted into a breakaway layup. Rice’s basket gave the Bruins (4-0) their first four-point lead since the middle of the second quarter.
After finishing the first quarter on a 6-0 run, the Bruins looked poised for another dominant win. The 6-foot-7 Betts overpowered the smaller Princeton players and outscored the Tigers 9-8 on her own during the first quarter.
But the five-time defending Ivy League regular-season champions answered.
The Tigers responded with an emphatic 27-point second quarter in which they made 10 of 11 shots from the field to take a 35-32 lead at halftime. Belker led the Tigers in the first half with 11 points on four-for-four shooting.