Updated at: 12/31/2012 6:07 PM
By BETH HARRIS
(AP) LOS ANGELES - Thea Lemberger tied her career high with four 3-pointers in scoring 20 points to lead No. 16 UCLA over Saint Joseph’s 73-65 on Monday, sending the Bruins into Pac-12 play with two straight victories.
Atonye Nyingifa added season highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Bruins (9-2). They’ve won seven of their last eight and open conference play on Friday at Oregon.
Erin Shields scored career-highs of 24 points and six 3-pointers, for the Hawks (8-5), who had their three-game winning snapped in their first visit to Pauley Pavilion. They beat the Bruins last year in the teams’ first-ever meeting in Philadelphia. They fell to 3-1 on the road.
Lemberger was a combined 0 for 6 from long-range in her last two games. But she hit thee 3’s in the first half, then opened the second half with another. That sparked a 10-4 run and produced the Bruins’ largest lead of the game, 48-36.
The Hawks twice rallied to get within one point in the final 5:57. Natasha Cloud stole the ball and scored on a fastbreak layup the first time. After Nyingifa made one of two free throws, Sarah Fairbanks made one of two from the foul line to leave the Hawks trailing 61-60.
But UCLA closed the game on a 12-5 run, making 10 of 12 free throws.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)