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Women’s basketball overpowers Weber State, winning by 40 points in home opener

Freshman guard Charisma Osborne scored on the opening play for No. 11 UCLA women’s basketball in the Bruins’ win over Weber State on Tuesday. Osborne played the most minutes in the game and led the team with 17 points. (Joy Hong/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Dylan Dsouza

Nov. 6, 2019 12:53 a.m.

Natalie Chou whipped a pass from the top of the arc to Charisma Osborne in the left corner of the court.

The freshman guard caught the ball and sunk a 3-pointer for her first collegiate points just 15 seconds into her debut. And Chou – a redshirt junior transfer guard – logged her first assist as a Bruin.

“I was just running the play,” Osborne said. “I was open and my teammates are always encouraging me to shoot if I’m open.”

No. 11 UCLA women’s basketball (1-0) trounced Weber State (0-1) 85-45 in its home opener at Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday. Osborne led the Bruins with 17 points and 32 minutes. The freshman also logged five rebounds and four assists and went 4-of-9 from the field and 3-of-7 from deep.

Osborne finished the first half at the buzzer just as she started it – with an assisted 3 from a debutant. This time, it was a right-wing 3 from freshman guard Jaden Owens.

Coach Cori Close said Osborne’s game was a great foreshadowing of what people are going to see from her in the future.

“I look at things which I never want to have to coach, which is effort and selflessness,” Close said. “(I’m) really proud of the intangible things and commitment things that are really going to determine our course long term.”

On the other end of the court, the Wildcats continued to give the Bruins more chances to score.

UCLA forced 26 turnovers on the night, opening the game on a 12-0 run after forcing turnovers on each of Weber State’s first five possessions. But just 13 of the Wildcats’ turnovers came off Bruin steals.

“We had good spark,” said junior forward Michaela Onyenwere. “Our defensive pressure was really good. That was part of the scouting report.”

Close employed a variety of defensive schemes including a man-to-man defense, 2-3 zone, light half-court press and occasionally a full-court trap.

“We’ve got to put a little pressure in a lot of different ways,” Close said. “It’s not very intricate, but we want them to take as much time in the backcourt as we can and I think that was effective for us for a lot of the game. … A lot of what we’re going to have to do this year is keeping other teams off balance because we don’t have have a lot of size.”

Even though the Bruins won by 40 points, they only converted five of their 28 3-pointers. Osborne and redshirt sophomore guard Lindsey Corsaro were the only Bruins to convert from deep, while Chou went 0-of-5 from long range on the night.

“We need to not fall in love with the 3-point line and we need to get the ball in the paint and work inside out,” Close said. “I really talked about that with (sophomore guard Kiara Jefferson). Don’t settle for the 3-ball. They’re leaving us open and daring us to shoot for a reason right now.”

Four Bruins scored in double-digits in the game despite the below-average night from deep. Onyenwere – the team’s leading scorer last season – ranked second on the team with 16 points against Weber State on Tuesday.

UCLA will be back in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday at 2 p.m. to face off against Loyola Marymount.

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Dylan Dsouza | Alumnus
Dsouza joined The Bruin as a freshman in 2016 and contributed until he graduated in 2020. He spent time on the women's basketball, men's basketball, women's tennis, men's tennis and women's volleyball beats.
Dsouza joined The Bruin as a freshman in 2016 and contributed until he graduated in 2020. He spent time on the women's basketball, men's basketball, women's tennis, men's tennis and women's volleyball beats.
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