The 10th ranked Oregon State Beavers Women’s basketball team looks to take on the UCLA Bruins in game 16 of the season. Tip-off is slated for 7 PM PST on Friday, January 11th. You can watch the game on the PAC-12 Network, or check out the team’s Twitter page for other ways to follow along live. Let’s take a closer look at the Bruins.
UCLA (9-6 overall, 2-1 conference)
Last season: 27-8 overall, 14-4 in PAC-12 (4th), lost in Elite Eight of NCAA Tournament
Without Jordin Canada and Monique Billings, UCLA looks a lot different than they have the last four years. Today the Bruins rely on the three headed monster of Michaela Onyenwere, Kennedy Burke, and Japreece Dean who all average at least 13 points per game. While they have already lost six games this year, they have two PAC-12 road wins to their name and a quality win over Georgia.
In last year’s matchup at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins thrashed the Beavers in a 35 point rout, led by Billing’s 19 points. Oregon State got their revenge in a three-point overtime win later in the season at Gill Coliseum on the shoulders of Marie Gülich.
Head Coach Cori Close is in her eighth year with the program and has taken UCLA to three consecutive Sweet Sixteens the last three years, including an Elite Eight appearance last season. It appears she has righted the ship with six wins in their last seven games after a rocky start to the season that saw four losses in a row, including three at the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.
Who to watch
#21 - Michaela Onyenwere, Sophomore Forward
Onyenwere has become the go-to woman for the Bruins this season, leading the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game, while placing second in rebounds per game with 8.3. Beavers will need to keep her in check as she has the ability to light up a scoreboard as shown with five games of at least 25 points this year.
#22 - Kennedy Burke, Senior Guard
The senior, Burke, is first on the team for steals (2.1) second for points (14.5) and third for rebounds (6.2). She is quite experienced with 77 starts to her name in the last three seasons and has the endurance to play extended minutes as shown with the 41 against the Beavers in Corvallis last year.
#24 - Japreece Dean, Senior Guard
Dean is the Bruins’ leading assist woman (4.0) and is on the court the longest at 32.7 minutes per game. She is coming off of a 22 point performance at Stanford, which is impressive for anyone’s resume, but her most impressive game came against Fresno State where she nearly got a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists.
This is a hard one to call. The Beavers are a little thin on depth after losing Janessa Thropay and Kat Tudor to recent injuries, and they have not had a true road game as of yet (all games away from Gill have been at neutral sites). That whooping Oregon State took last year in Los Angeles is still fresh in my mind and it’s hard not to envision a repeat performance with this being their second straight road opener. Then on the other hand, UCLA doesn’t have the dynamic duo of Jordin Canada and Monique Billings (finally). Beavers make this one close, but drop the road contest in Pauley Pavilion.