The Bruins will face back-to-back top-10 teams this weekend.
UCLA women’s basketball (9-6, 2-1 Pac-12) will battle No. 10 Oregon State (12-2, 2-0) on Friday and No. 5 Oregon (13-1, 2-0) on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. These games will be the third and fourth consecutive times the Bruins will play a ranked team.
The Beavers average nearly 11 3s per game – hitting 43.2 percent of their shots from behind the arc.
“The most important thing is to make them drivers instead of 3-point shooters,” said senior guard Kennedy Burke. “When they catch the ball, we have to have high hands.”
Over 40 percent of Oregon State’s field goals are 3-point attempts, and three of its players are ranked top 10 in the conference in 3-point percentage.
Guards Mikayla Pivec and Katie McWilliams are averaging 53.8 percent and 46.3 percent, respectively, from the 3-point range. Guard Kat Tudor – who is hitting 46.5 percent from deep – endured a season-ending knee injury in Oregon State’s previous matchup against Washington.
“Their 3-point shooting is so good that it forces you to spread you out so far that it creates more assist opportunities because you have to go on longer slides defensively,” said coach Cori Close. “It’s going to be important that we pressure them, that we really make them uncomfortable.”
Ten of UCLA’s 31 made field goals were assisted in last week’s matchup against Stanford. The Bruins average 14.5 assists per game.
The Beavers – ranked second in the Pac-12 in assists – average 19.4 per game.
“When you are a great assist team, you know how to make your teammate better,” Close said. “You know how to screen well, you know how to space each other well … (Oregon State coach Scott Rueck’s) a really good coach of that.”
The Beavers finished the 2017-2018 season at the top of the conference in 3-point percentage and second in assists in the Pac-12.
“(Oregon State’s) offensive style is pretty similar to ours,” Burke said. “They look to kick out the shooters.”
UCLA registered a season-high 11 from beyond the 3-point line in last week’s game against Stanford. The Bruins are averaging just over 27 percent from deep so far this season.
Close said if the Bruins want a win, they have to find success in their jump shots.
“They’ve been really trying to force contested 2s or mid range shots,” Close said. “If we are not hot from the perimeter, it’s going to be really important that we are able to still find high-percentage shots that we can make (and) get second shot opportunities by being really good offensive rebounders.”
UCLA and Oregon State are pulling down roughly the same number of rebounds – 43.5 and 45.4, respectively.
Redshirt senior forward Lajahna Drummer said dominating Friday’s rebounding game is needed to get a Bruin win.
“(I) just crash every time, just try to beat whoever I’m guarding or who I’m going against in my individual battle,” Drummer said. “I think that’s the most important thing.”
The Beavers are coming into Friday’s game with a four-game win streak. UCLA has not lost a home game against Oregon State since 2015.
“(The) bottom line is that they are a really good basketball team,” Close said. “It’s going to be important that we pressure them, that we really make them uncomfortable.”
UCLA’s contest with Oregon will be against the highest-ranked team the Bruins have played this season. The Ducks shoot 52.6 percent from the field – the top in the Pac-12.
Oregon has beaten their opponents by an average over 30 points a game and average 92.4 points a game.
Oregon surpasses UCLA in attempted 3s – draining 40.7 percent from behind the arc. The Bruins have held their opponents to just over 31 percent from deep.
The Ducks will enter Pauley Pavilion with a six-game win streak.