Nyingifa scores 20 to help No. 19 UCLA women defeat Arizona 73-57

After suffering two road losses last weekend to No. 6 Stanford and No. 7 California, UCLA returned to Pauley Pavilion Friday night.

And the return to familiar surrounding was the change of scenery the 19th-ranked Bruins needed.

Atonye Nyingifa scored a season-high 20 points and had 12 rebounds and Kari Korver scored 14 points to lead UCLA to a 73-57 victory over Arizona in a Pac 12 Conference game Friday.

Nyingifa made 10 of 15 shots and recorded her second double-double of the season as the Bruins (14-4, 5-2) snapped a two-game skid. Korver, a freshman starting in place of injured guard Markel Walker, made three 3-pointers on the way to her season high in points as UCLA remains in third place in the Pac-12, tied with Washington.

Walker, who leads UCLA this season in scoring, rebounding, steals, and assists, did not play due to a back injury. Walker, a 6-1 senior guard, sustained the injury in the Stanford game. Friday was the first game Walker has missed this season.

Nyingifa said the team responded in a positive way despite missing Walker.

"Everyone had to step up and execute the offense," said Nyingifa, who helped UCLA improve to 7-2 at home. "We played harder and smarter defense. They're a physical team and they compete."

UCLA coach Cori Close was concerned how her team would respond to the Bay Area losses.

"Last weekend was a measuring stick," said Close. "But we have six weeks left in the season. We got a little exposed in some areas but it's all fixable.

"It's always difficult to judge how you're going to respond after tough road losses. I was worried how we would respond emotionally, so this week we focused on enthusiasm and team spirit. It played out in many ways tonight — freshmen contributing and people coming off the bench and stepping up."

UCLA led by 13 points midway through the first half, but Arizona rallied. Davellyn White's 3-pointer at the buzzer got the Wildcats within 35-33 at the break.

The Wildcats (11-7, 3-4) kept it close for the first 5 minutes of the second half, but then Nyingifa and UCLA won going away.

Arizona coach Niya Butts said her team made too many mistakes.

"We did not get off to a great start, but we finished the first half well," said Butts. "We played stubborn defense and started to make a run in the second half but then we bobbled too many balls and didn't get anything going.

"I'm very disappointed with our turnovers. We have to forget about his one because we only have one day to regroup and get ready to play USC."

Wildcats guard Kama Griffitts led all scorers with 22 points. Whyte added 17 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Arizona.

Nirra Fields scored 12 points and had four steals. The Bruins had 22 assists and forced 22 turnovers. Alyssia Brewer had nine rebounds and Thea Lemberger contributed nine assists and five steals for UCLA.