The Bruins’ young roster will open its season on the road.
UCLA women’s basketball will tip off its 2018-2019 season against Loyola Marymount on Tuesday night away at Gersten Pavilion.
“(LMU has) got some really good pieces, they’re going to be fired up,” said coach Cori Close. “When you play a good team, you can’t just take away one thing – you’ve got to be solid together and I think we have the potential to do that, but it’s going to be a challenge.”
The Lions finished 19-11 last season with an 11-7 record in the West Coast Conference.
LMU defeated Point Loma in their exhibition match Thursday by 81-53. The Lions trailed 18-15 during the first quarter, but strung together a 12-0 run in the middle of the second period to take the lead for the remainder of the game.
LMU forced 28 turnovers and recorded 19 steals in the game. Lions forward Jasmine Jones logged nine rebounds and center Raychel Stanley scored 10 points.
“They play with really high tempo so we’re just going to really need to match that,” said redshirt freshman guard Lindsey Corsaro. “That’s one of their strengths – playing hard and playing fast – and so we need to be ready for that going into the game.”
Lions guard Gabby Green finished the game with 13 points and seven steals. Last season, Green led the WCC with 3.2 steals per game. She also finished third in assists and blocks, averaging 4.2 and 1.3 per game, respectively.
Close said she is familiar with Green, who is a transfer from Cal, and said that she is a versatile player like senior guard Kennedy Burke.
“We have a really good matchup (for Green to go against Burke),” Close said. “They use her in the post, (and) they use her on the perimeter to make passes.”
Burke, UCLA’s top returning scorer from last year, finished Saturday’s game with 16 points and three blocks. Burke said she is growing into a team leader with her experience as a starter and veteran.
“I think the most important thing is just to encourage the freshmen,” Burke said. “Every freshman is going through this process where everything is hard, but if (they) have confidence, … (they’ll) be fine.”
Last year, the Bruins finished 27-8 with a 14-4 conference record. On Nov. 6, they will battle the Lions with a new look – only two of the five starters from the 2017-2018 season are back.
UCLA defeated Westmont 75-55 in their exhibition matchup Saturday. Corsaro posted 12 points and 10 rebounds, while senior guard Japreece Dean tallied a career-high 22 points.
Tuesday’s contest will be an opportunity for the Bruins to win their 10th consecutive matchup against LMU. In their last meeting, UCLA overpowered LMU by 86-66.
“I just think it’s experience,” Close said. “I think we have to get pressurized experience under our belts and that’s really what it comes down to.”