Monday, December 5, 2022
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UCLA Women’s Basketball Has Championship Aspirations
By Khari Jones Jr., Contributing Writer
Published November 5, 2021

3. Charisma Osbourne makes Preseason All-Conference Team (Courtesy photo)

Women’s College Basketball is back and the UCLA Women’s team is locked, loaded, and ready for the season. After a year of being short-handed, head coach Cori Close and her staff brought in nine new players and they have championship aspirations.

Close said this is one of the most talented rosters she’s ever coached. “This reminds me of 2018 when Jordin Canada’s team went to the elite 8. I think we are much deeper.”

This UCLA Women’s team is holding each other to high standards throughout this process and will focus on championship reps. They have a lot to be excited about with this new roster, but Close strives for them to be winners on and off the court.

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“We have the talent, we have the schemes, and we have the depth. This year is about training our minds for neutral thinking.”

With all the new players on the roster, Close doesn’t expect them to reach their full potential until halfway through the season. “I’m trying to tell myself it’s going to take a little time but right now we have to be focused on being ready for PAC-12 play. We want to be at a championship level.”

Charisma Osbourne will play shooting guard this year and will be backed by transfer guards Gina Conti and Jaylen Penn, according to Close.

Head coach Cori Close leading practice (Courtesy photo)

Osbourne believes playing shooting guard she will have the freedom to not have to run the whole team, and point guard Conti will help her as well. Close says more than anything she’s proud of Osbourne’s leadership because she sets the tone in practice.

Angela Dugalic is finally with the team and championship experience playing overseas will be a huge contribution to the lady Bruins this season. She was the youngest Olympian to play with the Serbian national team.

“We didn’t get here until August 13th. When she got here, we gave her 10 days off because she’s overwhelmed right now. I think that overseas experience is so valuable. What you’re going to see game by game is that she is going to be a major person in our championship quest,” Close states.

Dugalic says she feels prepared and understands the UCLA standard because of the leaders that graduated this past year.

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Playing against pro athletes that are significantly older than her, says some are even mothers, she wants to bring that experience and mentality to UCLA.

Angela Dugalic looks forward to her first game at UCLA. (Courtesy photo)

Freshman Dominique Onu says coming from high school to college is a tough transition because she played against those who didn’t take basketball seriously.

When she came to UCLA early last season, that helped her learn the game and that experience will help her prepare for this upcoming season.

Look out for the Lady Bruins this season. UCLA Women’s first game is November 10th against Pepperdine at Pauley Pavilion.

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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