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Bruins Travel to Arizona for Top-10 Showdown

Dec 2, 2020
Redshirt senior forward Natalie Chou (photo by Caren Nicdao)

UCLA's Notes | Arizona's Notes | 2020-21 Information Guide

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No. 9/10 UCLA (1-0, 0-0) vs. No. 7/8 Arizona (1-0, 0-0)
Date: Friday, Dec. 4
Time: 6:00 p.m. PT
Location: Tucson, Ariz. (McKale Center)
Watch: Pac-12 Network (Cindy Brunson, Joan Bonvicini)
Listen: (Play-By-Play: Dave Marcus)

The No. 9 Bruins take their first road trip of the season to Arizona to square off in a top-10 matchup with the No. 7 Wildcats (Dec. 4). The teams split their two games last year, with each program notching a victory at home. UCLA won the first game in the series at Pauley (Jan. 5), downing the Wildcats, 70-58, behind 18 points and 13 rebounds from Michaela Onyenwere. The Bruins handed Arizona its first loss of the season (13-1) at the time, while UCLA improved to 14-0.

UCLA is coming off an opening-night victory over Cal State Fullerton on Friday, Nov. 29. The Bruins secured a dominant 98-49 win at Pauley Pavilion with Charisma Osborne leading all scores with 31 points. Michaela Onyenwere put up 22 points and eight rebounds while Natalie Chou added 16 points in the win. Lauryn Miller was the fourth Bruin to reach double-figures, notching 12 points. Sophomore guard Camryn Brown impressed in her season debut, scoring six points and tying a career high with three steals. Freshman Emily Bessoir made her UCLA debut Friday and notched seven points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes of action.

With UCLA's win over Cal State Fullerton, Cori Close won her 199th-career game with the Bruins and improved to 199-104 overall at the helm of the UCLA program. She is one victory away from the 200-win milestone and would become only the third coach in program history to achieve the feat (Billie Moore - 296; Kathy Olivier - 232). Of the three coaches, Close has the highest winning percentage at .657 (Moore - .621; Olivier - .527)

Charisma Osborne earned the first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor of the 2020-21 season, the Conference office announced Monday. It's the first-career Pac-12 weekly honor for Osborne and the 62nd all-time for UCLA. Osborne had a dominant game in UCLA's opening-night victory over Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 27). The sophomore scored 31 points on 9-for-16 shooting and added a career-high six assists in the win over the Titans. She also went a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line. It was Osborne's second 30+ performance in her young career, as she notched 32 points in the Bruins' win at Washington State (Feb. 21) last season, a performance that earned her Pac-12 Freshman of the Week accolades. She knocked down four three-pointers on the night, tied for the second-most she's hit in a game in her career. Osborne also added four rebounds, including a pair of offensive boards.

Senior forward Michaela Onyenwere enters the 2020-21 season as the Bruins' leading scorer over the past two seasons. She averaged a career-high 18.9 points per game last season and notched 13 games with at least 20 points in 2019-20. With a full season ahead of her, she already sits 19th on UCLA's all-time scoring list with 1,471 points. If she eclipses the 2,000-point milestone this season, she will become the fourth Bruin to do so and just the third to score 500+ points in three-consecutive seasons. Onyenwere put up 22 points in UCLA's season-opening win over Cal State Fullerton.

• Head Coach Cori Close has 199-career wins and is one victory away from 200.
• Charisma Osborne now has a 30-point performance in each of her two seasons with the Bruins.
• Michaela Onyenwere has scored 1,479 points in her UCLA career and is 21 points away from 1,500.
• Lauryn Miller scored 12 points against Cal State Fullerton and surpassed the 400-career-point milestone (401).
• Freshman Emily Bessoir notched seven points and tied for the game high with eight rebounds in her UCLA debut.

2019-20 IN REVIEW
UCLA is coming off a 26-5 season in 2019-20, the fifth-straight 20-win season under Coach Close. The Bruins finished 14-4 in Pac-12 play, good for second place in the regular season standings. UCLA advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament and was on track to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but subsequent postseason play was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the conclusion of the season, Michaela Onyenwere earned AP Third-Team All-America accolades. Onyenwere and then-senior Japreece Dean earned All-Pac-12 honors.

UP NEXT: No. 9 UCLA at Arizona State (Sunday, Dec. 6)
UCLA finishes up its first Conference road trip with a matchup against Arizona State on Sunday, Dec. 6 (1:00 p.m. PT). The game will be televised on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Arizona. The Bruins swept the season series against the Sun Devils, including a Jan. 3 victory that moved UCLA to 13-0 and set a new program record for most-consecutive wins to start a season.

The Bruins return four players who started at least 20 games last year: Michaela Onyenwere, Charisma Osborne, Lauryn Miller, and Lindsey Corsaro. Onyenwere was the team's leading scorer with 18.9 points per game last year, while Osborne returns after a freshman campaign that saw her put up 12.2 points per game, the third-most on the team. Miller started 30 games as a true junior and put up a career-high 6.6 points per game. Corsaro logged 23.5 minutes per contest in 2019-20 and can serve as a primary ball-handler for the Bruins in the upcoming season. UCLA also returns redshirt senior Natalie Chou, who put up 7.4 points per contest in her first active season with the team last season. The Bruins' key departure from last year is point guard Japreece Dean, who earned All-Pac-12 honors last season. Dean was drafted by the Chicago Sky and is now playing overseas.

UCLA freshman Emily Bessoir has already made a huge impact in her brief time with the program thus far. At 6'4", she is the tallest player on the Bruins' active roster and has a commanding presence in the post. That said, she has strong ball-handling skills and can lead a fastbreak for the Bruins off a rebound. Bessoir was named to ESPN's Newcomer Impact Rankings for the upcoming season. The Munich, Germany, native scored seven points and added eight rebounds in her UCLA debut.

Senior forward Michaela Onyenwere and sophomore guard Charisma Osborne have been named to several preseason watch lists for various national awards. Both players were also named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 team.
Onyenwere: Preseason AP All-American, Preseason All-Pac-12, Naismith Trophy Watch List (collegiate player of the year), Wooden Award Watch List (most outstanding player), Cheryl Miller Award Watch List (nation's best small forward)
Osborne: Preseason All-Pac-12, Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List (nation's best shooting guard)