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UCLA women’s basketball readies for final matchups of Pac-12 regular season

Graduate student guard Camryn Brown dribbles down the court. (Shane Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

Women's Basketball


Arizona State
Thursday, 6 p.m.

Tempe
Pac-12 Arizona
Arizona
Saturday, 5 p.m.

Tuscon
Pac-12 Networks

By Grace Whitaker

Feb. 29, 2024 12:42 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 29 at 2:31 p.m.

Within the Bruins’ grasp lies a coveted honor in one of the hardest conference tournaments in women’s basketball: a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.

The only thing standing in their way are two lower-ranked opponents to close the conference season.

While bidding adieu to its Pac-12 regular season festivities, No. 8 UCLA women’s basketball (22-5, 11-5 Pac-12) will contend for a top-four slot in the conference standings with contests against Arizona State (11-17, 3-13) and Arizona (16-12, 8-8) on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

As for the first-round bye in the conference tournament and potential No. 1 seed in March Madness that lies in the balance, coach Cori Close said she’s choosing not to engage in that conversation with her team and instead is focused on what it can control.

“I’m talking about being your best when your best is needed,” Close said. “I’m talking about controlling things under your control; how are we playing our best basketball; staying hungry to get better day by day.”

UCLA is coming off a successful weekend consisting of two top-15 wins. The Bruins began the weekend dethroning then-No. 18 Utah by a 30-point margin. In the contest, sophomore guard Londynn Jones led the group with seven 3-pointers.

Close said she was very impressed by her team’s effort against the Utes.

“Utah was one of our best 40 minutes of basketball this year,” Close said.

Following that performance, UCLA did not appear on the Pauley Pavilion court as the same dominant force from a few days prior. The Bruins faced the Buffaloes and presented a regular season-high 24 turnovers in addition to their season-low 53 points across the four quarters.

Despite the sloppy ball handling, the Bruins maintained the win by an eight-point differential. Graduate student guard Camryn Brown said despite offensive struggles and technical errors, she’s proud that her team managed to pull out a win.

“We can have really, really good games and other times when we do struggle, we still find a way,” Brown said. “It also just shows how much defense and rebounding is our anchor, because I think that shined in both games, even though we saw in Utah like the offensive, spectacular show that it was.”

With the pair of wins added to UCLA’s stuffed resume, the Bruins now lead the nation in most victories over ranked opponents with seven – four of which came from their conference. On top of that, the squad could add more to that number with the Pac-12 Tournament just around the corner, as it boasts six top-25 ranked competitors.

Close said this accomplishment is reflective of her team’s dedication to the details.

“That’s why we lead the nation in that is we’ve got a very selfless team, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes in a given night,” Close said. “And the reality is it’s the four letters and getting the dub and whatever we got to do to make that happen.”

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