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Women’s basketball loses two games over weekend, sets sights on deep NCAA run

UCLA women’s basketball coach Cori Close said she believes that the Bruins have proven that they are a top-half conference team so far in their first four Pac-12 games. UCLA will face crosstown rival USC this weekend for their second meeting of the season.

By Vinny Lavalsiti

Jan. 15, 2019 11:50 pm

Cori Close said the Bruins experienced two different shooting performances in their two losses this past weekend.

“It was totally different,” the coach said. “I didn’t think shots were hard to come by on Friday (against Oregon State) … (but) I didn’t feel like we ever got in an offensive rhythm (against Oregon).”

UCLA women’s basketball (9-8, 2-3 Pac-12) was outdone by No. 10 Oregon State (14-2, 4-0), which shot 68 percent from the field in the second half. Two days later, UCLA recorded its worst rebounding margin of the season against No. 5 Oregon (15-1, 4-0).

The Beavers improved on their season’s 50 percent field goal shooting – good for second-best in the Pac-12 – by hitting over half of their shots against the Bruins.

UCLA recorded a then-season-worst 18 defensive rebounds against Oregon State. The Bruins followed up with just 15 rebounds against the Ducks.

The Bruins scored only eight fast break points against the Beavers, a problem coach Cori Close said affected the offensive tempo.

“When you have to take it out of the net that much and have to go against anyone’s set defense,” Close said. “It’s going to be to their advantage.”

UCLA shot sub-40 percentages from the field against the two highest-scoring teams in the conference – its worst performances in nearly a month.

“I thought we didn’t reward ourselves with some of the times we played the good defense and (when) we did get the rebound,” Close said. “We turned it over and had too many empty possessions.”

The Bruins entered Sunday averaging 43 rebounds per game but only pulled down 29 against the Ducks. Six of UCLA’s 10 turnovers came in the second quarter against Oregon.

“Typically the Bruins dominate the rebounds,” said Oregon coach Kelly Graves. “(But) tonight we did, and that’s a testament first and foremost to (forwards Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally).”

Hebard and Sabally matched UCLA’s rebound total with 18 and 11, respectively.

The Bruins’ three starting guards combined for only four defensive rebounds against a Ducks lineup that exhibits three forwards of at least 6-feet-2-inches.

“We just have to know we have to get out to shooters and then we have to end it with a box out,” said senior guard Japreece Dean.

UCLA opened its Pac-12 schedule defeating two 10-win teams and played a tough first half against then-No. 6 Stanford.

Close said the Bruins’ early Pac-12 performances have shown their competitors that her squad has the potential to extend their season far into March.

“I think we’ve proven to a lot of people that we’re a top-half team in this conference,” Close said. “And a top-half team in this conference gives you an opportunity to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.”

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Vinny Lavalsiti | Alumnus
Lavalsiti joined the Bruin as a junior transfer in 2018 and contributed until he graduated in 2020. He spent time on the softball, women's basketball, cross country and track & field beats.
Lavalsiti joined the Bruin as a junior transfer in 2018 and contributed until he graduated in 2020. He spent time on the softball, women's basketball, cross country and track & field beats.
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