Japreece Dean covered her face as she fell to the floor. The redshirt senior could finally breathe a sigh of relief as the horn sounded.
Dean’s game-high 23 points helped No. 10 UCLA survive a 68-66 nail-biter against Arizona State on Friday night at Pauley Pavilion as the Bruins (13-0, 2-0 Pac-12 Conference) set a school record for victories to start a season.
After passing the 1980-81 team for the best start in school history, UCLA will host No. 18 Arizona in a battle of unbeatens Sunday at noon. The Wildcats (13-0, 2-0 Pac-12) are also off to their best start in program history.
The Sun Devils were the third-best offensive rebounding team in the nation entering Friday’s game, and it showed in the final 21 seconds. That’s when Arizona State (10-4, 0-2 Pac-12) had four shots to either tie or win the game. UCLA coach Cori Close described watching the ball bounce between outstretched hands as “panic.”
“They person-handled us in the last four minutes,” Close said. “They absolutely wanted rebounds more than we did.”
UCLA had a 10-rebound edge in the first half, but Arizona State roared back with a 27-9 advantage in the second half. The Sun Devils grabbed 14 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.