- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) - UCLA coach Cori Close knew her young team was going to take some lumps early in the season. It would be hard not to with the schedule that the Bruins have played so far, facing Top 25 teams nearly every game.

She hopes that difficult scheduling will pay off when the team starts Pac-12 play.

“That’s what I’m counting on,” Close said. “I’m counting on that every experience has been a growth opportunity that maybe one of our freshman wouldn’t have seen against a lesser opponent.”

Close has 10 new players, including seven freshmen who made up the consensus No. 1 recruited class. So far the Bruins have lost to North Carolina, Nebraska, Texas and now UConn.

The Bruins (4-6) fell 86-50 on Sunday to the second-ranked Huskies at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

“I didn’t think we’d be right where we are,” Close said. “I thought we might get a couple more. A few slipped through the cracks for us.”

Things don’t get any easier after Christmas for the Bruins as they host No. 5 Notre Dame on Sunday.

UCLA hung in with UConn (8-1) for about 13 minutes and only trailed 24-18 before the Huskies used a 16-2 run to build a 20-point lead.

The Bruins then scored the final five points of the half to only trail 40-25 at the break.

Jordin Canada tried to keep the Bruins in the game, scoring seven straight points during one stretch. Her layup made it 50-37, but it wasn’t enough. UConn scored 13 of the next 15, including an acrobatic putback by Gabby Williams, to put the game away.

“We had some positive moments and showed some glimpses of what we can grow into,” Close said. “We have a long way to go.”

Kari Korver had 14 points to lead the Bruins.

___

TIP-INS:

UCLA: This was just the third meeting between the schools, with UConn winning both the previous ones. The last was in 1999. The two teams will meet for three straight years starting in 2016-17. … Bruins junior Nirra Fields and UConn freshman Kia Nurse were teammates for Canada in the world championship this past fall.

UConn: The Huskies continued their tour of the state with a second straight game outside of their home arena in Storrs. UConn beat DePaul on Friday in Bridgeport. UConn’s last game on campus was Nov. 23 and don’t play there again until Jan. 14 against Temple. The Huskies have three games in Hartford at the XL Center before then. … UConn will be back at Mohegan Sun for the American Athletic Conference tournament in March.

OWNING THE GLASS:

UCLA hung right in there with UConn on the boards, only getting outrebounded 36-35. The Bruins got 19 offensive rebounds, but had trouble converting them.

CONVERTING MISCUES:

UConn scored 32 points off UCLA’s 21 turnovers. The Bruins had just four points on the Huskies’ 11 mistakes.

UP NEXT:

UCLA: hosts Notre Dame next Sunday.

UConn: hosts SMU to open up American Athletic Conference play on Saturday.

___

Follow Doug on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg


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