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UCLA women’s basketball to face No. 2 Stanford, California at home

Graduate student guard Natalie Chou prepares to post up against a defender. Chou is averaging a career-high 11.2 points per game for UCLA women’s basketball this season and has put up double-figure scoring totals in four straight games. (Lauren Man/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Women's basketball


No. 2 Stanford
Thursday, 7 p.m.

Pauley Pavilion
ESPN
California
Sunday, 12 p.m.

Pauley Pavilion
Pac-12 Networks

By Grace Whitaker

Feb. 3, 2022 2:19 p.m.

After a winless week, the Bruins will return to Pauley Pavilion to face the second-ranked team in the country.

UCLA women’s basketball (9-7, 4-4, Pac-12) will take on No. 2 Stanford (16-3, 7-0) at home Thursday evening before welcoming California (9-5, 0-3) to Westwood on Sunday. The game against the Cardinal will be broadcast on ESPN, making it the team’s second contest of the season to be shown on national television. The Bruins’ upcoming matches follow losses to No. 8 Arizona and Oregon State last week and a forfeit of its matchup against No. 19 Oregon on Jan. 28.

Coach Cori Close said her team’s mindset is focused on its growth and what it can learn from the losses.

“The reality is all of us – including the coaches – have to step up and grow and continue that growth,” Close said. “What did Arizona teach us last week, what did Oregon State teach us last week? And then make intentional, consistent adjustments to make sure that we’re moving in that direction.”

UCLA’s season has seen countless roster changes because of injuries, including the absence of graduate student guard Jaelynn Penn, who has sat out the last four games. The Bruins have also been without junior guard Charisma Osborne after she sustained an injury against the Wildcats.

In its last meeting against Stanford, UCLA suffered a 75-55 loss in the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament championship game. The Cardinal went on to win both the conference and national championships last season and already have five victories this year against ranked teams.

When talking about her personal development since her team’s last matchup with Stanford, graduate student guard Natalie Chou said she is looking forward to seeing how her mental growth translates to the court against one of the top teams in the country.

“For me personally, I don’t think I was where I am now mentally,” Chou said. “I am really excited to see how much I’ve grown in that way.”

Thus far this season, the Cardinal have put up 74.4 points per game on a 34.8% 3-point shooting chip, while ranking first in the conference in scoring margin. The Bruins, on the other hand, are averaging 70.2 points per game and shooting 34.4% from behind the arc.

When talking about UCLA’s confidence going into Thursday, redshirt senior guard Chantel Horvat said the team’s belief in one another hasn’t faltered despite its circumstances.

“Despite all the losses and the injuries, the belief in the group that we have hasn’t wavered,” Horvat said. “Even before all the adversity hit us, we knew we had a very talented squad (and) a very deep squad, and us players and the coaching staff believe in everyone that’s on this team.”

Both teams currently have four players averaging upwards of 10 points per game. Osborne, Penn, graduate student forward IImar’I Thomas and Chou combine for 58.9 total points per contest while forward Cameron Brink, guard Haley Jones, guard Hannah Jump – who hasn’t played in two weeks because of injury – and guard Lexie Hull put up 48.1 points per game for the Cardinal.

The Golden Bears are coming off of a three-game losing streak followed by three postponed contests and will match up against USC on Friday before visiting Westwood. The team currently ranks second to last in the Pac-12 with losses to Stanford, Oregon and Washington State.

The Bruins will tip-off against Stanford at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Cal on Sunday at 12 p.m.

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Grace Whitaker | Assistant Sports editor
Whitaker is currently an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats. She was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
Whitaker is currently an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats. She was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
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