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UCLA Gets Win But Cori Close Still Demands Excellence
By Khari Jones Jr., Contributing Writer
Published November 20, 2021

UCLA grad student Jaelynn Penn (31) scored nine nine (Courtesy Photo)

UCLA gets another big win. They are now 2-0 after beating CSUN 73-46. After struggling in the first quarter, the Lady Bruins outscored CSUN 60-29 for the remainder of the game.

Head coach Cori Close is still not satisfied because she knows what her team is capable of, and Close demands excellence. “I know what’s coming; I know what it’s like playing in the number one conference in the country.”

 Instead of building on their momentum throughout the game, the Bruins drained it with costly turnovers. There were great things that happened these first two games, but Close wants perfection because when UCLA plays better teams, they won’t get away with those mistakes. 

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Close keeps it honest with her team and says, “The reality is we’re not tough enough, we’re not together enough. I believe you guys want to do the right thing; we have some bad habits. But, don’t let 2-0 deceive you. We’ve got to change fast. I’ve got to be a better teacher every day.”

Despite mistakes during the game, Close still encourages her team. “Coach Wooden has a saying. He says the biggest form of coaching is treating every player the same, and I would add to it, and treat every team the same.” 

She says this new team still doesn’t have their identity yet. Close believes coaching is an art form and speaks to her team calmly during challenges and lets them know the standard. 

The Bruins scored 28 points in the paint and did a great job of getting the ball inside to Iimar’i Thomas. She finished with a game-high 21 points. UCLA coaching staff challenged their team to get the ball inside.

Close always speaks highly of Thomas, and ever since she transferred, Thomas knew she would have a big role.

“That’s the reason I came to UCLA, and we have big goals this year. I just try to do my part every game,”

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Thomas says.

Charisma Osborne had another big game, and she finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Unfortunately, Osborne got hurt three minutes to go in the fourth. She left the game due to a hard fall. Osborne will undergo an MRI to see if it’s anything serious. 

UCLA will play Virginia on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion at 3:00 PM PT. Close will continue to not let up on her Lady Bruins. “We have to provide the struggle and the joy together so we can learn to conquer really hard things. We have to earn the confidence we need to play good teams.” 

 

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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