Sunday, April 5

Following double win on road, women’s basketball aims to double up at home

Last season, then-redshirt junior forward Lajahna Drummer logged 10 points and 14 rebounds in UCLA women's basketball's win over Washington State. The Bruins will host the Cougars on Friday night. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

The Bruins are coming off their first Pac-12 road sweep and will have the opportunity to do it again at home.

“I think if you prepare well, you play well,” said senior guard Kennedy Burke. “So, if we keep preparing like champions, we will be champions of the weekend again.”

After being named the NCAA Team of the Week, UCLA women’s basketball (11-9, 4-4 Pac 12) will host Washington State (7-13, 2-7) on Friday and Washington (8-13, 1-8) on Sunday.

The Cougars and the Huskies have four and five consecutive losses, respectively, heading into the weekend and sit among the bottom four teams in the conference. UCLA has also yet to lose to Washington State at home, boasting a perfect 30-0 record.

Redshirt senior forward Lajahna Drummer, however, said the Bruins are not concerned with statistics and will prepare for the Cougars the same way that has been bringing them success.

“I just think it’s staying on that path and that competitive spirit that we brought this past week,” Drummer said. “(It’s) just doing the little things and not taking it for granted because a team is not ‘this’ or a team is not ‘that.’ We can’t use that as an excuse to not play how we know how to play.”

The last time UCLA faced Washington State, the Cougars hit 60 percent of their shots in the first quarter and took a seven-point lead into the second period.

The Bruins overtook the Cougars in the second quarter, outscoring them 25-14 and taking a 38-34 lead into the half. UCLA never trailed for the remainder of the contest, securing a 79-71 victory.

The Bruins out-rebounded the Cougars 51-29 in the game, allowing UCLA to capitalize on 19 second-chance points off of 21 offensive rebounds.

Coach Cori Close said rebounding will be just as important this time around.

“If we don’t dominantly get rebounds, we have a hard time,” Close said. “We need to create extra possessions with rebounding. So, honestly, any night that we are not a dominant rebounding team, we are going to be putting ourselves in a difficult position.”

Washington State is coming off a season low in scoring, putting up just 35 points against No. 9 Oregon State on Sunday. The Cougars shot 14-of-55 from the field and went 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.

UCLA will face Washington on Sunday for its second matchup of the weekend.

The last time the Bruins and the Huskies met, UCLA claimed an 86-69 victory.

Twenty of the Huskies’ points in that game came from guard Amber Melgoza – who leads Washington in scoring – and has scored in double figures in all but two games this season.

“We just try to make people feel uncomfortable,” Drummer said. “So, (we’re) just trying to make shots hard for (Melgoza) and trying to make her do what she usually doesn’t do.”

UCLA will take on Washington State at 7 p.m on Friday night for an opportunity to win its third consecutive game.

Sports contributor

Conte is currently a contributor on the women's basketball beat.

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