LOS ANGELES — Jordin Canada was rehabbing an injury and didn’t practice all week. She didn’t start Friday night, but she sure made an impact.
The junior guard scored 22 points to lead UCLA to a 90-79 upset victory over No. 9 Washington.
The Bruins (19-7, 10-5 Pac-12) weren’t sure if Canada would play since she left the previous game with a neck injury. She ended up helping UCLA win its 26th consecutive home game, dating to last season.
“In the beginning (of the week), maybe it was 50-50,” Canada said of her chances of playing. “Monday and Tuesday were really rough. Wednesday, I continued to get rehab and treatment. Thursday was a little better. My neck started loosening up.”
Washington coach Mike Neighbors came into the game not knowing if his team would face Canada, who was hurt against Oregon.
“You know if she’s not playing, someone is telling her she can’t play,” he said. “She’s so tough. When I saw her dressed out, I said she would play. … I thought they were very efficient without her, but then she took it to another level when she came in. She was in total command.
“She played 32 minutes, whether we heard her name in the starting lineup or not.”
Monique Billings added 19 points and Nicole Kornet 15 for the Bruins.
Washington’s Kelsey Plum, the nation’s leading scorer, scored 39 points in the loss. Chantel Osahor had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Plum is closing in on second place on the NCAA’s career scoring list. Jackie Stiles is No. 1 with 3,393 career points and Brittney Griner second with 3,283, while Plum is at 3,280 — just three from tying Griner. Canada almost immediately went to the handshake line and told Plum how much she respected her game and enjoyed playing against her.
Washington (24-4, 12-3) should’ve felt a bit at home as Los Angeles endured an all-day rainstorm on Friday, similar to weather the Huskies often face in Seattle, but Washington’s four-game win streak came to an end.
UCLA coach Cori Close said the Bruins had a team meeting after its loss to Oregon, which was the third defeat in its four-game road swing. They had many difficult 1-on-1 meetings after that, too. But Friday’s win solved much.
“Any time you beat someone you really respect, you earn more confidence,” Close said. “We really improved since the last time we played Washington.”