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Undefeated UCLA women’s basketball to face off against Oregon, Oregon State

Sophomore center Lauren Betts keeps the ball away from defenders under the basket. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

Women's Basketball


Oregon
Friday, 7 p.m.

Pauley Pavilion
Pac-12 Oregon
Oregon State
Sunday, 1 p.m.

Pauley Pavilion
Pac-12 Networks

By Lauryn Olina Wang

Jan. 5, 2024 3:26 p.m.

Fresh off of their home triumph against USC in front of a record-breaking 13,659 fans, the Bruins will now welcome a pair of Pac-12 opponents to Pauley Pavilion to ring in the new year.

And for the second consecutive week, they will face an undefeated Pac-12 foe.

No. 2 UCLA women’s basketball (12-0, 1-0 Pac-12) will continue its conference campaign against Oregon (9-5, 0-1) on Friday night and Oregon State (12-0, 1-0) on Sunday afternoon.

The Bruins swept the Ducks last season and have split the past 10 meetings. Oregon missed the NCAA Tournament and subsequently made a Super Eight run in the WNIT in 2023. Following the departure of its signal-caller in guard Te-Hina Paopao to South Carolina, Oregon has dropped its only ranked contest of the season to then-No. 13 Baylor in early December.

Only one team will emerge from Sunday’s contest with an unscathed record when UCLA tests its perfect season against an undefeated Oregon State. Oregon State’s record may remain unblemished, but its strength of schedule has precluded a nod in the AP Top 25 Poll. However, the Beavers received 19 points in the latest release Monday, the third-most among unranked teams.

While Oregon State has yet to compete against a ranked opponent, UCLA has notched four victories opposite ranked squads – three of which came in the nonconference slate against then-No. 6 Connecticut, then-No. 20 Florida State and then-No. 13 Ohio State.

Coach Cori Close said the experience gained in contested, physical matchups before Pac-12 play uniquely prepared the Bruins.

“You’ve got to go through the fires,” Close said. “Even though we’re undefeated, we’ve had to face different things. The more you invite that in your nonconference schedule, it always pays dividends because things get exposed.”

With the nonconference addressed, the Bruins have turned their attention to the rigorous conference schedule ahead.

Close attested to the strength of the Pac-12 conference after the USC game on Saturday. She said each game will present a challenge against a team likely to compete in March Madness.

“What an honor for the last Pac-12 year for us to have such an elite conference,” Close said. “We’re just going to battle every night. … I believe nine teams, when it’s all said and done, will be in the NCAA Tournament.”

Sophomore center Lauren Betts, an intra-conference transfer from Stanford touting the best offensive efficiency in the nation, said the Bruins are applying lessons from their effort against the Trojans as they regroup for the upcoming Pac-12 contests. Second to Betts in field goal percentage is Oregon State forward Raegan Beers.

“Making sure when things don’t go our way, we have to pick up our communication more,” Betts said. “When things started to get a little hectic, we just felt a little rushed. We kind of got in our heads. … I think that’s something we could build on.”

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Lauryn Olina Wang | Sports senior staff
Wang is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the women’s basketball, men’s basketball, NIL and football beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s golf and track and field beats, reporter on the women’s basketball beat and contributor on the men’s and women’s golf beats. Wang is also a fourth-year history major and community engagement and social change minor.
Wang is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the women’s basketball, men’s basketball, NIL and football beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s golf and track and field beats, reporter on the women’s basketball beat and contributor on the men’s and women’s golf beats. Wang is also a fourth-year history major and community engagement and social change minor.
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