How Far Can Quickness Take UCLA Women's Basketball Team
February 20, 2020
The UCLA women's basketball team is currently 22-3 and ranked No.8 in the nation but as good as they are there is something missing. Their tallest players are 6-4 and 6-2, and both of those players are freshmen who don't get a lot of playing time.
The Bruins have a quick team but when they play taller teams in the Pac-12 Tournament and the NCAA Tournament they might have matchup problems. The two teams ahead of the Bruins in the Pac-12 standings both have taller teams. Oregon has one 6-4 player, one 6-5 play, one 6-6 player and one 6-7 player. Stanford has one three players that stand 6-3 and one at 6-5.
Some of those players may not get a lot of playing time but to have them at your disposal is a luxury that the Bruins don't have. But what they do have is a fast, up tempo and quick team.
Against Oregon state last Monday at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus the Bruins beat the Beavers in overtime 83-74, although the Beavers out played them 35 minutes of the 45 minute game. What carried the Bruins to victory was their quickness.
They had 15 steals to Oregon State's four and they created 24 Oregon State turnovers while the Bruins had nine. Two of UCLA's smallest players led them both teams in scoring. Guards Japreece Dean at 5-8 and Charisma Osborne at 5-9 each scored 22 points. The senior Dean added 12 assists and four steals. "At the end of February guard play is very important," said UCLA's head coach Cori Close after the game.
In the first half of the Oregon State game the Bruin's defense broke down so in the second half Close inserted sophomore Kiara Jefferson and that move helped to turn the game around. "Her ability to move her feet and keep people in front of her and her ability to lock up is was absolutely pivotal," said Close.
The Bruins have four more regular season games against Washington State and Washington this weekend on the road and they return home to play Colorado on Friday, February 28, at 8 p.m. and Utah, on Sunday, March 1, on senior day at 1 p.m. The Pac-12 Tournament starts on Thursday, March 5-8 in Las Vegas and the NCAA's begin on March 20.