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UCLA women’s basketball maintains early lead to defeat Oregon

Sophomore center Lauren Betts reaches for the ball. Betts scored a team-high 17 points against the Ducks on Sunday afternoon. (Brandon Morquecho/Photo editor)

Women’s Basketball

No. 9 UCLA74

By Sabrina Messiha

Feb. 18, 2024 4:46 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 19 on 9:37 p.m.

The Bruins never trailed the Ducks throughout the 40 minutes of play.

Coming off of a buzzer-beater loss in the last 15 seconds against Oregon State this past Friday, No. 9 UCLA women’s basketball (20-5, 9-5 Pac-12) defeated Oregon (11-16, 2-12) with a 74-55 win in the Matthew Knight Arena to end its weekend up the coast.

Graduate student guard Charisma Osborne – the Bruins’ leading scorer – came out hot with a 3-point shot from the corner. Sophomore guard Londynn Jones answered with two 3-pointers of her own, allowing the Bruins to gain an early lead.

In Friday’s matchup, the Bruins only made six 3-pointers in total. Osborne and Jones sank a total of five 3-pointers in the first period alone.

“Coach Cori (Close) said it before the game: Just playing to be us,” Osborne said. “Sometimes we play to try to beat the other team, … just being ourselves is the main thing for us. And when we do that, we usually win.”

Osborne ranks second on UCLA’s all-time scoring list – with 2,161 points prior to the matchup against Oregon – and has played the most games in program history. Osborne earned her first double-double since November late in the third quarter with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Close said Osborne is crucial on the court for the Bruins.

“I keep saying this to anyone who will listen, … how many winning plays she makes,” Close said. “It’s not just scoring for her, it’s making winning plays on both sides of the ball.”

After scoring 15 points from beyond the arc, the Bruins ended the first quarter leading 25-13.

Sophomore center Lauren Betts rarely looks up to an opposing player, but against Oregon, the 6-foot-7 big matched up against 6-foot-8 center Phillipina Kyei. Betts, who found her career-high 24 points earlier this weekend against Oregon State, was the game’s leading scorer with 17 points and nearly earned a double-double with 9 rebounds. Despite the slight height disadvantage, a left-handed hook shot by Betts over Kyei extended the Bruins’ lead to 36-21 in the second quarter.

“Lauren is our anchor inside,” Close said. “(She) has been a huge bonus for us in terms of our rim protection and being able to lock down the paint.”

Sophomore guard Londynn Jones rises for a jumper. (Brandon Morquecho/Photo editor)

Late in the second frame, Osborne ducked through two Oregon defenders to find sophomore forward Gabriela Jaquez, putting UCLA up 17 points – its largest advantage of the game thus far.

The Bruins entered the locker room leading 45-28, with only one turnover compared to the Ducks’ nine.

The second half started with a hookshot jumper in the paint by senior forward Angela Dugalić – a familiar face in the Oregon arena, as she began her collegiate career as a Duck. Dugalić recently returned to UCLA after representing Serbia and qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

With Dugalić’s return – alongside sophomore forward Lina Sontag, who also had international duties – the Bruins played this weekend with a full squad.

The bigs scored a total of six points throughout the third frame. And with a 9-0 UCLA run to end the third quarter, the teams entered the final quarter with a score of 62-40.

While the Ducks fought back in an attempt to shrink the Bruins’ lead, they trailed by 19 points or more throughout the final period. The game ended with a UCLA turnover, finalizing the score of 74-55.

The Bruins will take on two ranked squads next weekend in their final conference matchups at home.

“I’m expecting to win all of these games coming up,” Osborne said. “The team is super excited for the challenges that we have ahead, and we’re locked in and ready to go.”

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Sabrina Messiha
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