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UCLA women’s basketball defeats Hawai’i in last nonconference game of season

Sophomore center Lauren Betts prepares for a layup against a defender. Betts scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds against the Rainbow Wahine. (Brandon Morquecho/Assistant Photo editor)

Women’s Basketball

University of Hawaiʻi46
No. 2 UCLA85

By Sabrina Messiha

Dec. 21, 2023 3:45 p.m.

The Rainbow Wahine’s tallest player stood three inches shorter than the Bruins’ tallest.

When sophomore center Lauren Betts – standing at 6-foot-7 – grabbed the ball in the paint late in the second frame, three Rainbow Wahine players surrounded her. 

She shot through them, sinking the and-one to add to her 12 points of the first half.

“Obviously, I have a lot of room to improve, but I think the coaches, my teammates and the practice players do a really good job of just making me better every single day,” Betts said. “All of the work that I’ve been putting in practice has been starting to show in games.”

Behind Betts’ 16 points and seven rebounds throughout the matchup, No. 2 UCLA women’s basketball (11-0) swept Hawaiʻi (3-6) on Thursday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion, continuing its season-long undefeated streak. The Bruins’ 11th win concludes their nonconference slate for the year. 

The Bruins dominated under the basket, grabbing 10 rebounds and notching 20 of their 27 first-quarter points from inside of the paint. By the end of the first frame, the Rainbow Wahine only scored a pair of 3-pointers, while almost every Bruin scored throughout the period. 

UCLA matched Hawaiʻi’s made 3-pointers in the first half. But a swift answer from graduate student guard Charisma Osborne to open the second frame caused an offensive spurt and a fury from deep. 

Osborne attributed her successes from beyond the arc to the chemistry of the team.

“We’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with each other and finding each other good shots,” Osborne said. “Our chemistry overall – we know where we want to get Lauren (Betts) the ball or whoever it is we’re looking for.” 

After Betts and sophomore guard Kiki Rice doubled up on Hawaiʻi guard Lily Wahinekapu, Rice stole the ball, sprinting down the court on a fast break to sink a layup. Followed by a jumper at the buzzer, the Bruins went into the locker room leading by 29 points. 

Graduate student guard Charisma Osborne dribbles the ball on the court. Osborne scored 17 points against Hawaiʻi. (Brandon Morquecho/Assistant Photo editor)

UCLA kicked off the second half with a pair of 3-pointers, with a second swish from Osborne and an answer from sophomore guard Londynn Jones. To match her early 3-pointer, Jones closed the third frame with another 3-pointer and two free throws, adding to her total 12 points. 

The Rainbow Wahine notched 13 points throughout the third frame – the most they had scored in a quarter thus far. Despite making all of their free throws and stealing the ball from the Bruins three times, it wasn’t enough to reduce their trail. The Bruins stood at 65-29 to finish the third. 

Despite the Bruins leading by over 40 points with just two minutes left to play, Rice had back-to-back jumpers, adding to her total 14 points and six assists throughout the contest.

Rice and four other players scored in double-digits, while Betts was three rebounds away from notching her seventh double-double of the season. Betts’ seven rebounds added to the Bruins’ total 43. 

Following the upcoming holiday week, UCLA will return to Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 30 to play its cross-town rivals, No. 6 USC. 

“We have a championship-level process,” coach Cori Close said.  “And every week, we’re just going to go back to, ‘What does that look like this week?’”

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Sabrina Messiha
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