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Select members of UCLA women’s basketball to compete internationally

Senior guard Charisma Osborne drives past the defender and toward the basket. Osborne was selected to participate in the 2023 AmeriCup tournament for Team USA alongside freshman center Lauren Betts.(Brandon Morquecho/Daily Bruin)

By Grace Whitaker

May 29, 2023 11:27 p.m.

During the offseason, many things can be expected: rest, recovery, weights, running and training.

But for UCLA women’s basketball, seven players will be going for gold.

Senior guard Charisma Osborne has been selected to compete for Team USA for the 2023 AmeriCup, alongside freshman center Lauren Betts, who recently transferred to UCLA from Stanford. Freshman guards Kiki Rice and Londynn Jones were also selected during the USA Women’s U19 National Trials to compete on the 2023 FIBA U19 squad.

On the international front, freshman guard Lina Sontag and redshirt sophomore forward Emily Bessoir are expected to be competing for the German national team. Redshirt sophomore forward Angela Dugalić rounds out the squad of competitors by playing for Team Serbia in the Women’s Eurobasket competitions.

The AmeriCup tournament – an Olympic qualifying event – is listed as the most prestigious basketball tournament in the country. Osborne and Betts were two of eight athletes selected from across the country.

While coach Cori Close noted that she cannot take credit for Betts’ success just yet, she is honored that the center and Osborne will be representing UCLA at such a renowned tournament. Close added that she is looking forward to the skills Betts will bring to her squad.

“The teams that we struggled with are the teams that had really dominant posts, and so that was sort of our Achilles heel defensively all year long,” Close said. “That’s been a weakness of ours – we didn’t have a dominant rim protector, … and I think that Lauren Betts provides us that.”

The AmeriCup team will be spearheaded by Kamie Ethridge, who was this year’s head coach for Washington State – the very coach that handed the Bruins the nail-biting four-point loss in the Pac-12 championship. Osborne emphasized that in addition to learning from Ethridge’s expertise, it is an honor to play against the top players in the country.

“It’s kind of exciting to get a different challenge in that way of like, I need to work with these players who I have never played with before. Work with this offense that I’ve never done before,” Osborne said.

At the next-highest national level, the duo of Rice and Jones will be participating in the FIBA U19 Americas Championship for Team USA. This will be the Bruins’ third time participating in this tournament together for their respective age groups, as they won two gold medals beginning with the FIBA U16 Americas Championship in 2019 and again in 2022 for the FIBA U18 Americas Championship.

“It’s great to go through that experience with her (Jones),” Rice said. “To be able to be roommates on the road and just have those shared experiences, and I think that makes it even more fun when we come back to UCLA and we’re able to talk about it with our teammates.”

Osborne added that the Bruins’ offseason drive stems from their love for the sport.

“You could just tell that we really love basketball a lot,” Osborne said.

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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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