Monday, February 24

Women’s basketball to welcome four freshmen in the fall

UCLA women’s basketball coach Cori Close will add four freshmen to the Bruins’ roster in the fall. The incoming class of players includes two five-star recruits, one of whom is a McDonald’s All-American. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin)

Four fresh faces will be coming to Westwood this fall.

UCLA women’s basketball will welcome its incoming recruit class, which consists of guards Camryn Brown, Charisma Osborne and Jaden Owens and forward Brynn Masikewich.

Brown, Osborne and Owens will join an eight-player guard room that includes 2018-2019 starters redshirt freshman Lindsey Corsaro and junior Japreece Dean.

“It’s going to be dependent on what (the recruits) earn,” said coach Cori Close. “My job is to mold a group of pieces that fit together as a whole and to be stronger than its individual parts, so it’s hard for me to predict how it will go. … (Brown, Osborne and Owens) are going to be three great guards here.”

Osborne graduated from Windward High School as a five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American, averaging 21 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game.

Close got a close-up look at Osborne’s skill set when she coached her at the 2019 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team trials earlier this spring.

“We sort of got a taste of what that’s going to be like,” Close said. “I’m excited about her ability to affect the game on defense. I’m excited to have her deep-3 shooting ability. I’m excited to have her ability to come off the pick and roll with aggression to the lane but also to find people out (on the perimeter).”

Owens, another five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American, averaged 20.4 points, 4.4 assists and 3.7 steals at Plano West Senior High School. Osborne and Owens ranked third and fifth among the best point guards in the country, respectively, according to Prospects Nation.

Brown was named the TAPPS Defensive Player of the Year twice during her time at Prestonwood Christian and took second place in both the 200- and 400-meter races in the Texas state track meet.

Next season will also be redshirt junior Natalie Chou’s first year of eligibility for UCLA after transferring from Baylor a year ago. Chou, who played with Owens in high school, said she expects the backcourt additions to learn behind Dean – another Texas native.

“It’s definitely a great time to grow as a leader and lead by example to show them the ropes,” Chou said. “(Dean) will be a really great example for them and I’m really excited for them to learn from her.”

Dean led the Bruins in assists with 4.9 per game while running the point guard position last season. Dean said she will be embracing the mentor role heading into her final season after being granted another year of eligibility.

“I know for me, it’ll be a big leadership thing,” Dean said. “(Close) is going to hound me to be a leader and to help them … because I’ll be a senior point guard.”

Masikewich – the only forward in Close’s recruiting class – will join freshman center Shayley Harris and junior forward Ally Rosenblum as the third player standing above 6-foot-1-inch. Harris averaged 4.8 minutes per game last season while Rosenblum did not step foot on the court.

Close will have the opportunity to see the the 6-foot-3-inch Masikewich play in Thailand when she represents Canada’s U19 World Cup team. Close said Masikewich’s passing ability resembles that of first-team All-NBA selection and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić.

“My favorite thing about (Masikewich’s) game is what a great passer she is,” Close said. “I texted her (during) the NBA Playoffs (about) watching the Nuggets play and Jokić and his ability. He was a second-leading assist guy in the NBA Playoffs and I think (Masikewich) has that sort of ability to be a point (forward) sometimes.”

The recruits will join the full team practices later this summer.

Sports staff

Lavalsiti is currently a Sports staff writer on the softball beat. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball, cross country and track & field beats.

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  • Richard C

    There is plenty of phenominal potential in that superfecta of players…..I mean — Westfecta!