The UCLA women’s basketball team battled USC with an accurate offense and tough defense to execute a 73-52 victory over the Women of Troy.
Bruins senior forward Michaela Onyenwere scored 19 points and junior guard Chantel Horvat made nine rebounds. USC senior forward Jordan Sanders scored 12 points and sophomore center Angel Jackson had eight rebounds.
In their last meeting, the Women of Troy defeated the Bruins 70-68 in double overtime at the Galen Center. Onyenwere was unable to compete in the matchup.
“I had an ankle injury last year, so it was really tough seeing my team go down, but they fought,” she said. “To come back here against your rival and get a win on your home floor, a dominant win, it’s super, super cool.”
UCLA head coach Cori Close mentioned how the Bruins still need to improve, but she liked their focus during the matchup.
“We’ve got to hold ourselves to a standard of who we want to become on a minute-by-minute basis,” she said. “The things I was most pleased about is that it was defensive rebounding and boxing out as well as transition defense.”
Another plus to the Bruins squad was their ball movement as they finished the afternoon with 22 assists.
“That was one of our keys to the game was move the ball and we’ve been working on it a lot in practice these past couple days,” said sophomore guard Charisma Osborne. “I think that we really tried to pass the ball and move it so that we get good shots for each other.”
The Bruins jumped out to a 15-4 point lead in the first five minutes of the game. Sanders hit a three-pointer to break the Women of Troy’s offensive hiatus. This was her first game with USC.
“It was definitely different than any kind of rivalry I’ve ever been involved with,” Sanders said. “There’s a lot of changes that we can make next time, but it was fun.”
USC freshman guard Amaya Oliver picked up her second foul and was sidelined until the second half. The Women of Troy found an offensive rhythm in the final minutes of the first quarter to close their deficit to nine points.
USC struggled to score and the Bruins forced turnovers and grabbed rebounds. Horvat and Osborne made shots to create a 6-2 run. UCLA held USC to 12 points while only scoring 15.
During the first half, the Bruins shot at 47.8 percent from the field and 50 percent from the three-point line. Sophomore guard Charisma Osborne led all scorers with 16 points and junior guard Desiree Caldwell had eight points for the Women of Troy.
After going on a seven-point run, the Bruins picked up their fifth team foul. Sophomore guard Endyia Rogers hit one free throw to snap a three-minute offensive drought. Onyenwere commanded the Bruin offense, scoring 14 points in the third quarter alone. The Women of Troy occasionally got defensive stops, but not enough to keep UCLA’s score from ballooning.
“UCLA came out in the zone at the beginning of the third quarter and we hadn’t worked on a lot of zone,” said Women of Troy head coach Mark Trakh. “They ran multiple defenses.”
The Bruins also earned eight fouls during the third phase. UCLA head coach Cori Close also picked up a technical foul. By the end of the game, the Bruins had 19 personal fouls, six more than the Women of Troy.
“It’s a lack of concentration and when the score is not urgent, you’re a step late, you’re behind the player, you’re gonna foul more,” Close said. “The whole goal on defense is to force the other team to take one hard shot and a free throw is not a hard shot.”
The Women of Troy will clash against Stanford on December 19 at 2:00P.M. and the Bruins will host California on December 19 at noon.