Both the Bruins and the Beavers will have the opportunity to bounce back from Friday night losses.
No. 7 UCLA women’s basketball (21-3, 10-3 Pac-12) will host No. 11 Oregon State (19-6, 7-6) at Pauley Pavilion on Monday night in its highest-ranked matchup scheduled for the remainder of the regular season. UCLA fell to No. 3 Oregon 80-66, while about 14 miles southeast Oregon State was upset by USC 72-66.
After going down 22-8 in the first quarter, the Bruins matched the Ducks throughout the rest of the contest, with each team scoring 58 points in the remaining three periods.
Coach Cori Close said her message to the team after Friday’s game focused on the mental lapses early on that she said her team needed to rectify going forward.
“My message to them was, ‘You proved you can do it,’” Close said. “Right now, there is time to learn these lessons. In March, there’s no time. There’s no learning. You have a quarter like that, you’re done. It’s over.”
UCLA – the conference’s worst 3-point shooting team at 27.8% – will have faced the two most-accurate 3-point shooting teams in the conference by the end of the President’s Day weekend. Oregon State’s mark of 36.4% from beyond the arc falls just below Oregon’s 37.8% clip.
The Bruins are coming off their second-worst 3-point shooting game of the season in which they converted just two of 23 attempts. UCLA’s 27.8% conversion rate is the lowest its been since the 2010-2011 season.
“The great teams learn how to sprint the floor, communicate, rebound when you’re missing shots and stay mentally engaged,” said assistant coach Tony Newnan. “For the most part, our execution has been good and our turnovers have been down. We’re taking good shots and, statistically, we’re due to make some.”
To remain in the top three of the Pac-12 despite their deep shooting, the Bruins have been hauling in a conference-leading 16.1 offensive rebounds per game despite being the only Pac-12 team to not have a single player above 6-foot-1 play more than 100 minutes this season.
“It’s just about mindset,” said junior forward Michaela Onyenwere. “It has to be us as a team because we are undersized, and we will be undersized the rest of the season.”
Oregon State guards Destiny Slocum and Mikayla Pivec are co-leading the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game. Pivec – standing at 5-foot-7 – is also tied with Oregon forward Ruthy Hebard – who logged 17 boards Friday – for most rebounds per game in the Pac-12 with 9.6.
The Beavers rank second in the conference in field goal percentage and assists per game.
“(Coach Scott Rueck) is such a great play caller,” Close said. “(Oregon State) spreads you out because they shoot the three so well. (Forward Taylor Jones) is playing really well in the middle, and now they’re playing small but that actually fits really well with us because we’re playing small ball all the time as well.”
The fifth ranked matchup in six games for the Bruins is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday and will be broadcast on ESPN2.