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In special home matches, women’s basketball will face Washington State, Washington

Senior guard Charisma Osborne drives to the basket. Osborne will likely be playing her last regular season game as a Bruin in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon. (Shengfeng Chien/Daily Bruin staff)

Women's Basketball

Washington State
Thursday, 6 p.m.

Pauley Pavilion
Pac-12 Los Angeles
Saturday, noon

Pauley Pavilion
Pac-12 Los Angeles

By Alexis Hinkle

Feb. 23, 2023 2:06 p.m.

In the last two regular season matches, the Bruins will face the Washington schools looking for another sweep at home.

Coming off a 71-66 defeat at the hand of No. 3 Stanford, coach Cori Close said the Bruins are using it as a learning opportunity and looking ahead.

“(I’m) really proud of our team’s response in the second half and their fight, their togetherness, their belief to get back to neutral,” Close said. “We can’t do anything about what just happened other than learn from it and take the next right step.”

No. 17 UCLA women’s basketball (21-7, 10-6 Pac-12) will face Washington State (18-9, 8-8) on Thursday and Washington (15-11, 7-9) on Saturday in Pauley Pavilion. The last time the Bruins matched up against these schools, their shots from beyond the arc were dangerous game changers.

In UCLA’s first game against Washington in Seattle, senior guard Charisma Osborne’s half-court shot changed the trajectory of the game. The blue and gold only made two of its 16 attempted field goals in the first quarter, but after her buzzer beater, the Bruins went on a 17-0 blitz to assume the lead for the rest of the matchup.

During the second game against Washington State in Pullman, the Bruins went 43.5% from the 3-point line. Osborne and redshirt sophomore forward Emily Bessoir were hot from deep and contributed to five of the 10 3-pointers made by the Bruins.

Coming off its contest on Monday against Stanford, the blue and gold struggled to make its threes, only shooting 14% from beyond the arc in the first quarter. As both the Cougars and the Huskies are coming off a string of victories, the Bruins will need to bring back their spark from deep.

Freshman guard Londynn Jones, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, is currently anchoring the team and the conference in 3-pointers. She said that it’s due to a lot of practice and the foundation her team creates for her.

“The countless hours spent helps a lot with confidence,” Jones said. “Having a supportive system on the team that just makes you feel comfortable makes you boost your confidence. We have great leaders on this team, so that helps as well.”

Shooting is not the only aspect that the Bruins dominate. UCLA ranks first in the Pac-12 in offensive boards. The Bruins will come up against prolific bigs like Washington State center Bella Murekatete, who has averaged 18.0 points in the last three games and 7.1 rebounds this season.

Osborne said the Bruins have been focusing on crashing the glass, as it helps to make more plays come game time.

“If we don’t get them, we’re usually running for it,” Osborne said. “That’s the difference in the game – getting extra shots and getting people wide open looks. It’s just super important for our team to at least get 40% on the offensive end and 75% on the defensive end.”

The Thursday and Saturday games will be special ones for both the team and the Bruin community as a whole. On Thursday, the blue and gold will “Play4Kay” to raise money and unite for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. On Saturday, UCLA will celebrate the four graduating athletes – Osborne, graduate student guard Gina Conti, senior forward Brynn Masikewich and senior guard Camryn Brown – in its last home conference game.

Jones said despite some tough losses this season, every day is a new beginning.

“There were a lot of upsets in the Pac-12, and that just happens,” Jones said. “It definitely matters what we do and how we take care of business. 1-0 is the main focus every single day. Trying to conquer that is our main focus.”

The Bruins will tip off at Pauley Pavilion against Washington State on Thursday at 6 p.m. in their Play4Kay contest and again on Saturday at noon against Washington for their Senior Day game.

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Alexis Hinkle
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