By: Krystal Tome
Last Thursday (February 2nd), the UCLA Bruins went up against the Washington Huskies (University of Washington) during a game of men’s basketball. With the final score of 70-61, the Bruins earned a much needed and deserved win after losses against USC (64-77) and Arizona (52-58). With an improvement on offense, UCLA dominated the first half which facilitated their win against the Huskies. Between the total of Jaime Jaquez Jr.’s (#24) 10 rebounds, Amari Bailey’s (#5) 66% shooting accuracy, and Adem Bona’s (#4) continuous slam dunks, lots of talent was showcased in Pauley that Thursday night.
Although Thursday brought another win for the Bruins, commenters on Instagram have been recusing the team for their playing during the second halves of recent games:
“Gotta limit the second half turnovers” – @uclabreakdown
“a W is a W but… this team needs to figure out how to play in the second halves.” – @fleur.de.lis
With these types of comments under @uclambb’s post documenting the final score of 70-61, one can only wonder how this affects the players and their mental states during games and preparation. In the press room after this 70-61 win, I asked if being back in Pauley Pavilion (the previous two games had been away) had affected the players’ mental states. Jaime Jaquez then responded with “I’m one of the older guys here, so I know that my time is dwindling… in Pauley Pavilion, so one of the things I’ve been telling the guys is, ‘Man, we just gotta enjoy this last little stretch that we have, and really just make the most of it, play our hearts out.’”
Also on mental health, Jaime Jaquez and David Singleton shared on pressures and how that can affect a game, physically and emotionally on Saturday February 4th, after the game against Washington State.
Jaime Jaquez stated, “As a team, you get pressure from outside sources, media. I think we played with a lot more positive attitude…and I think that’s what went into this game.” Attributing the positive attitude to pep talk David Singleton (#34) gave to the team, Singleton then added “I only have so many games left… it’s not hitting me yet, but it’s creeping. I decided I want to play my heart out tonight.”
UCLA v Washington State ended in a 76-52 score with the Bruins taking the win. Notably, Bona made 4-5 of his shots, Clark (#0) and Bailey both made 50% of their 3-pointers, and Jaquez carried with 15 rebounds.
The years of training, refining their craft, and raw, natural talent all contributed to the Bruin’s wins this past weekend, but it is also important to note that the psychological aspect of the game also has major effects. Whether it be the great desire to win, meditating on their remaining time in Pauley, taking the pressure off, or focusing on having a positive attitude, it is clear that basketball is not only a physical game, but a mental one as well.