UCLA starts their 2017-2018 campaign with an exhibition at home at the Pauley Pavilion against Vanguard this afternoon.
Vanguard steps into Pauley with two exhibition matches in hand against San Francisco and UC Berkeley. The Bruins will face off against the Golden Bears at the end of the year on New Year’s Eve. The Lions lost both of the exhibition matches by more than twenty points. In the game against Berkeley, the Lions won the second half but it was the first half that was the decider as Berkeley had a twenty-point advantage at the half. Against San Francisco, the Dons completely outmatched the Lions winning by 39 points.
While UCLA did lose some key players from last season in Kari Korver, Nicole Kornet, Dominque Williams, and Paulina Hersler, the team is more than capable to perform well without them. The Bruins’ biggest threat comes in the form of duo Jordin Canada and Monique Billings. These two create the perfect combo to go to the board, to shoot field goals, and rebounds. In fact, Billings is a specialist when it comes to rebounds as she recorded double-digit rebounds in 19 games last season.
In today’s game, I don’t expect a lot of the usual starters to see a lot of minutes in the game. It would be wise for coach Cori Close to play a lot of the freshmen and see what they can do right off the bat. It’s only an exhibition game and, if the Bruins lose, it won’t be the end of the world. Personally, I would love to see the freshmen and other players who don’t see a lot of regular minutes get significant minutes today. Either way, today’s game will be a good way to see where the team stands and fine tune things as the season begins.
This is your UCLA Women’s Basketball vs. Vanguard open thread!