The Bruins will have an opportunity to win their first top-10 matchup of the season.
UCLA women’s basketball (15-9, 8-4 Pac-12) will rematch against No. 10 Stanford (19-4, 9-3) on Friday and California (14-9, 5-7) on Sunday at home. UCLA lost to then-No. 6 Stanford 86-80 and defeated then-No. 18 Cal 84-79 in January.
Although UCLA nearly pulled off the upset after holding a seven-point halftime lead, the Cardinal limited the Bruins to just 10 assists on 31 field goals. But since then, UCLA has averaged 13.3 assists per game.
Redshirt freshman guard Lindsey Corsaro said the Bruins will have to make plays off the ball.
“We have to be detailed setting screens, using screens and moving without the ball,” Corsaro said. “They are really good at defense and limiting those easy points.”
Stanford fell 88-48 to No. 3 Oregon at home Sunday – its worse home loss under Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer in her 33 seasons.
The Cardinal went 31.7 percent from the field, which marked their lowest performance all season. The last time Stanford shot a lower percentage from the field was when it shot 31.2 percent in a loss to Western Illinois in 2017.
“I think they will have an intensity about them (Friday),” said senior guard Japreece Dean. “No one wants to be beaten by 40.”
Stanford’s forward Alanna Smith averages 20.1 points per game, but Oregon limited her to just six. Smith has logged double-digit performances in all but one other game this season.
“She’s an Olympic-level player,” said coach Cori Close. “If she’s able to pop back, catch and shoot 3, come off those stagger screens, catch and shoot 3, or be able to wheel to either hand in the post, she’s going to be pretty darn good.”
Smith logged 24 points when playing the Bruins. Smith – along with guards Kiana Williams and Dijonai Carrington – combined to score 75 of Stanford’s 86 points.
“It starts with our ball pressure,” Corsaro said. “If the person guarding the ball is up, being aggressive and making them think about who’s guarding them, then those passes aren’t going to be as easy.”
The Bruins will host the Golden Bears on Sunday, who have lost four of their last six games.
UCLA pulled off an upset Jan. 4, defeating then-No. 18 Cal 84-79 in overtime. The Bruins secured a 42-32 lead at halftime, but fell behind the Bears in the third quarter after going nearly three minutes without scoring.
Sophomore forward Michaela Onyenwere logged 29 points in the contest. With the Bruins down by two, Onyenwere pulled down an offensive rebound off a missed free throw . The guard finished it in the last seconds of the game to extend the game into overtime.
UCLA led most of overtime, but Cal drained a 3 with 21 seconds left to put the Bears out front. The Bruins completed free throws in the last seconds of the game to secure the win.
“The reality is they are very different game plans,” Close said. “ We’ll have to regroup and have an excellent game (plan) for Sunday.”