UCLA Senior forward Michaela Onyenwere (right) scored 24 points against Arizona in the Pac-12 semi-finals (Jared Dubose/T.G.Sportstv1)

UCLA defeated a tough, hard-nosed team Arizona in the semi-finals. In a highly anticipated point guard matchup between Charisma Osborne and Aari McDonald, UCLA came out on top. Now they will face Stanford in the PAC-12 Championship

Osborne doesn’t need to score to make an impact in games. Cori Close emphasizes not worrying about matchups. Close encourages Osborne to be the point guard that wins the game.

“Be the winning point guard; that’s all we need from you.” Close continued, “I’m proud of Charisma for saying I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure I’m on the winning team.” Onyenwere said she’s proud of Osborne for holding it down.

The Lady Bruins are confident they are the team to beat and understand Stanford’s offense to win. Michaela Onyenwere says it will be a physical game, and they must disrupt Stanford’s Princeton offense.

Head coach Cori Close doesn’t want them to get wrapped up in missed calls by the referee; she wants them to stay steady through the physicality of the PAC-12 games.

Sophomore guard Charisma Osborne scored seven points and seven rebounds against Arizona in the Pac-12 semifinals (Jared Dubose/T.G.Sportstv1)

“The huge key is not to get wrapped up in the ups and downs of what didn’t get called and what did get called,” Close states. That makes a significant difference in games. 

Lauryn Miller’s growth over the past few weeks have been pivotal for the Bruins, according to Close. “Everything starts with Lauryn. She plays a unique, pivotal role. We knew we would have to use her as a facilitator. We rely on her so much.” Close notes that Miller sets the tone for others coming behind her.

Dominique Darius is a freshman who continues to get better. Close said she is always the first in the gym. “She’s putting in the work, she spends film time with the coaches and I think the future is really bright for us because of her love for the game and her commitment to a high level work ethic.” Darius wants to compete at a high level.

To win the PAC-12 Championship, Close says every person has to do their job. She states her young players such as Darius will grow into their roles.

UCLA took the day off yesterday to recover. The PAC-12 is the best conference in the country, and the Lady Bruins want the privilege to compete and win the conference tournament. In order to compete, they stress the importance of recovery.

Close says Stanford is a great team and in order to win, you must beat other great teams. After Friday night, UCLA didn’t speak about the win against Arizona. They put their focus on Stanford. “We are putting our energy, time, and focus into getting our minds and hearts right.”

Stanford runs the Princeton offense. Onyenwere says, “We have proven we are the team to beat. Obviously, Stanford is a great team; they’ve been having a great year. But we were able to get a win in Santa Cruz. Every game is a new game, and as long as we execute, it will be a great game.”