The Lady Bruins took over in the fourth quarter and dominated Washington 58-46. UCLA shot 45% from the field and 2-18 from the 3-point line. They still were able to make some a statement in their first win in Vegas. UCLA, built on defense, and they put it on full display against Washington.
Charisma Osbourne played a phenomenal game with 12 points, ten rebounds, and four steals. Osbourne said her teammates call her Defensive Player of the Year because of her impact on the defensive end.
Osbourne noted her teammates know to get the ball to Michaela Onyenwere and herself in clutch moments. In the fourth quarter, the dynamic duo took over in the final minutes. Onyenwere finished the game with 12 points and four rebounds. “When we’re able to get stops and run, we are hard to beat. We were able to get back to that in the fourth quarter.”
The Huskies challenged UCLA and forced them to a difficult shooting night. Senior forward Lauryn Miller is their ‘rock’ according to Onyenwere. Head coach Close said their communication was poor, and Miller held it together for the team.
She used her voice, rounded up her teammates, and put on the defensive showcase the Bruins depended on all season long. Close said Miller IQ is off the charts. “Lauryn understands the game. Her communication changes us from a reactionary team to an anticipatory team. I thought Lauryn was a tremendous steady force with her communication tonight.”
When UCLA struggles to shoot, the defense becomes their anchor. Head coach Cori Close “So what if we’re struggling to shoot? We adjust.” Close said if they continue to play with purpose and awareness, they will find a way to win games. She mentioned it ultimately comes down to how bad you want it.
“Our success is built on defense, rebounding, and passion plays. Passionate plays are non-statistical hustle plays that we believe are the intangibles that lead us to high levels of play and help us survive bad shooting nights.”
Close said they are not the live by the three, die by the three kind of a team. “We can play that way, but as long as we live by purpose and awareness, we can survive that.” Close wants her team to remember that defense is their anchor and create stops and rebounds.”
Every team in the Pac-12 is going to play great defense, according to Close. “If you want to win a championship.
UCLA Bruins will face Arizona in the semi-finals. Close spoke highly of Aari Mcdonald, one of the best players in the Pac-12. She said, “Aari Mcdonald is a great player. But we have some great players Arizona has to worry about too.”
The semi-finals match-up between UCLA and Arizona will be tonight at 8:00 PM.