May 22, 2022

UCLA women’s basketball team knows Arizona will pounce on mistakes

View Original Notice ? UCLA women’s basketball team knows Arizona will pounce on mistakes

Coming off a regular-season sweep of crosstown rival USC, the UCLA women’s basketball team is moving on to its next challenge: No. 8 Arizona.

The Bruins took control early in the opener of their two-game series against the Trojans last week, but they had to fend off USC in the rematch on Sunday at the Galen Center. Charisma Osborne’s 27-point performance in the second game led to her being name the Pac-12 Player of the Week.

The rivalry series has prepared UCLA (9-4 overall, 4-1 Pac-12) for Wednesday’s game at Pauley Pavilion against the Wildcats (14-2, 4-2), whose only losses (to USC and Oregon) both came on the road.

“I think we were able to just kind of refocus,” UCLA’s Dominique Onu said of the games against USC.

“I remember there were a few times when there were a few calls we didn’t agree with and me and (Charisma) looked at each other and just smiled and clapped our hands like, all right, let’s get this defensive possession back and that just shows the growth. We’re not worried about things we can’t control.”

The Bruins boast the No. 2 and No. 3 scorers in the conference in Osborne (18.4 ppg) and IImar’I Thomas (17.2).

Jaelynn Penn, another offensive contributor for UCLA, was inactive for the last two games due to a hand injury. Bruins coach Cori Close said she expects Penn to miss two to three weeks with the injury.

Natalie Chou has continuously stepped up this season and had 20 points, six rebounds and six steals combined in the two USC games. Redshirt freshman Dominique Onu added 12 points and six rebounds.

Izzy Anstey, another redshirt freshman, pulled down 14 rebounds. She leads the team with an average of 6.2 boards per game. Anstey and Onu are two of the only active underclassmen so far this season and have been thrust into a bigger role.

“Everybody’s so willing to step into these roles that we have on the team, everybody is competitive,” Anstey said. “I think it’s a really great group of underclassmen we’ve got. It’s such a competitive group and it’s really coming through.”

Arizona’s Cate Reese (14.9 ppg) is the only Wildcat averaging in double figures, but seven average at least 5 points per game for a team that averages 19.9 points off of opponents’ turnovers.

“The most important thing to limit their scoring is to take care of the ball, to be really strong with the ball, to create clean catches,” Close said. “If we’re able to string together five good catches on a possession, I think we’re gonna be just fine.”

ARIZONA (14-2, 4-2 Pac-12) at UCLA (9-4, 4-1)

When: Wednesday, 5 p.m.

Where: Pauley Pavilion

TV: Pac-12 Network

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