No. 9 UCLA Downs Cal State Fullerton in Opener, 98-49
LOS ANGELES - No. 9 UCLA opened the season with a resounding 98-49 victory over Cal State Fullerton. Sophomore guard Charisma Osborne led all players with 31 points and added six assists, and preseason All-American Michaela Onyenwere added 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting.
The Bruins found themselves down 9-6 early in the first quarter after a 4-for-4 shooting start from Fullerton, but responded with a dominant 19-0 run highlighted by four points from freshman Emily Bessoir. Natalie Chou picked up a steal-and-score to cap the stretch, putting UCLA ahead 23-9 at the 1:38 mark in the first quarter. A jumper from Gabi Vidmar halted the Bruin surge, and UCLA went into the second quarter with a 23-11 lead.
UCLA opened the second quarter on an 8-2 run capped by a three-pointer from Onyenwere. Fullerton answered with a long ball from Amiee Book, cutting the Titans' deficit to 15 (6:22). Osborne then scored four-straight points to make it 35-16, giving her 14 points in the early going. A pair of baskets from Onyenwere pushed the Bruins' advantage to 39-18, but Book notched her second three-pointer of the quarter to make it 39-21 with 2:18 to play in the frame. After an exchange of three-pointers from Chou and Book, Onyenwere connected on a short jumper in the paint to give the Bruins a 46-24 lead at the break.
The teams exchanged long balls to open the third quarter, giving UCLA a 49-27 lead early in the frame. A three-point play from Chou was then followed by a steal-and-score from Camryn Brown, pushing the Bruin advantage to 54-30. The Bruins continued to roll and added five more points via baskets from Onyenwere and Chou, taking a 59-30 lead and forcing a timeout from Fullerton Head Coach Jeff Harada. UCLA kept up the intensity and extended the lead to 70-35 after Onyenwere connected from long range. The Bruins would take a 75-35 lead into the fourth.
Osborne took control as the fourth quarter got started, hitting a pair of free throws and finding Brown in transition for a quick lay-in, putting the Bruins up 82-37. With the lead 92-43, Osborne drove into the lane and connected on a baseline floater, giving her 31 points on the night, one point off her career-high set Feb. 21, 2020 at Washington State.
Joining Osborne and Onyenwere in double-digit scoring were Chou, who totaled 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals, and Lauryn Miller, who scored 12 points while battling foul trouble. Bessoir had a solid collegiate debut, tying Onyenwere for game-high rebounding totals with eight and adding seven points. Brown was a force on defense, totaling seven rebounds and a career-high-tying three steals while adding six points.
The Bruins (1-0) are back in action for their first road game of the season on Sunday, Nov. 29. They take on Pepperdine at 4:00 p.m. PT.