UCLA begins a five-game road trip tonight to close out the year. Their first opponent: Oklahoma State.
Since their loss to UConn weeks ago, the Bruins seemed to be struggling to find the dominating game they started the season with. After defeating UC Santa Barbara 77-44 on Sunday, the Bruins are looking more like the team at the start of the season.
Once again, Monique Billings lead UCLA with 17 points and 20 rebounds while Jordin Canada recorded 14 points with six rebounds, five assists, and six steals. While the offense racked up the points, the defense slowed down the Gauchos. The Bruins kept them away from the paint, leaving the Gauchos to shoot from distance where they were only 5 of 17. Meanwhile, the Bruins caused 23 turnovers. UCLA capitalized on UCSB’s errors by scoring 30 points.
The game against UC Santa Barbara was the last home game of the calendar year and tonight’s game will be only the second time the Bruins and the Cowgirls have met. Their only other meeting ended with a Bruin win back in January 1985.
One player who can be instrumental in tonight’s game is freshman Michaela Onyenwere. Last week, she scored 12 points right behind Billings’ 17 and Canada’s 14 points. It’s not everyday underclassmen can come in and logged crucial minutes. Coach Close has gone as far as to play four of them on the court at once.
The Bruin defense played well Sunday and will need to continue to do so, especially against Oklahoma State’s Kaylee Jensen. Jensen has recorded 30 double-doubles in her career and, defensively, she has blocked 137 shots. The Bruins will need to keep a close eye on her. While UCLA’s consistency has been a problem these last few weeks, it’s crucial the Bruins regain that over the course of this road trip as the final two games of the trip mark the start of conference play.
This is your UCLA Women’s Basketball vs. Oklahoma State open thread!