Saturday, May 30

Women’s basketball shoots to continue winning streak to start season against Yale

Redshirt junior guard Natalie Chou led No. 11 UCLA women's basketball with 19 points in the Bruins' 92-58 win over Northern Colorado at home Friday night. UCLA will continue its nonconference slate against Yale on Tuesday.(Niveda Tennety/Assistant Photo editor)

Women's Basketball

Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Pauley Pavilion
Pac-12 Networks

UCLA has won three of its first four games by 30-plus points.

But coach Cori Close said she was not content.

“Stanford held this team to 36 points,” Close said after UCLA beat Northern Colorado (2-4) by a score of 92-58.

No. 11 UCLA women’s basketball (4-0) will take on Yale (3-1) at Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday evening to close out its five-game homestand to open the season.

Yale’s sole loss of the season was a 70-67 overtime loss to Colgate (5-1) on Nov. 16. Yale guard Tori Andrew dropped 20 points, but the Bulldogs committed 19 turnovers that led to 23 points for the Raiders.

It is the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Yale guard Roxy Barahman is averaging 18.0 points per game, tied for 78th in the country, and 5.5 rebounds per game. In comparison, UCLA redshirt senior guard Japreece Dean is putting up 12.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

“We have a high standard and we’re not going to get away from that,” Dean said. “We know we’re not going to shoot great every night, so we have to get stops, especially in our league when we play against those great offensive teams.”

The Pac-12 is currently a combined 48-9 in its nonconference schedule. The conference includes three top-10 teams – No. 1 Oregon (4-0), No. 3 Stanford (5-0) and No. 7 Oregon State (5-0). Eleven of the 12 teams in the conference possess a winning record while Utah (3-3) is .500.

The average margin of victory for the Bruins is 32.8 points – which places them third among the five ranked Pac-12 teams, behind the Ducks’ 38.0 points and the Cardinal’s 34.0 points.

Dean also said she believes that she can lead the country in assists. Her nine assists per game currently rank second in the nation behind Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu. Dean’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.50 ties for 11th in the country, higher than Ionescu’s 3.45 ratio.

The Austin, Texas, native listed UCLA’s shooting prowess and junior forward Michaela Onyenwere – who is on the watchlist for the John R. Wooden Award – as the main reasons she’s been able to collect such a high number of assists.

The Bruins have improved their 3-point percentage in each game this season from 17.9% to 25.0% to 26.9% to 30.0%. However, their season average of 24.4% ranks last in the Pac-12.

Despite the fluctuation in Onyenwere’s scoring output, she leads the Bruins with 15 points per game. She has logged 16, eight, 27 and nine points in the first four games of the season, respectively.

Redshirt junior guard Natalie Chou said even when Onyenwere’s shooting is off, she finds a way to lead the team.

“(Onyenwere) is always stable and balanced,” Chou said. “She’s always cheering for us and she’s really helpful. She gives me advice and tells me what to do and I’m grateful for that.”

Tuesday’s matchup against the Bulldogs will mark the Bruins’ second-to-last nonconference home game. Next up, UCLA will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to take on UCF (3-2) and Virginia (3-3) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in the Cavalier Classic.

Sports staff

D'Souza is currently a Sports staff writer for the women's basketball, men's basketball and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter for the men's tennis and women's volleyball beats.

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