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Bruins Back at Pauley to Take on Utes

Jan 9, 2021
Michaela Onyenwere (photo by Don Liebig)

UCLA's Notes | UCLA's Statistics

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No. 9 UCLA (6-2, 4-2) vs. Utah (3-6, 2-6)
Date: Sunday, Jan. 10
Time: 1:00 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom)
Watch: Pac-12 Los Angeles/Mountain (JB Long, Maylana Martin Douglas)
Listen: (Play-By-Play: Dave Marcus)

After not playing Friday's scheduled matchup against Colorado due to injury concerns within the UCLA program, the Bruins are set to square off against Utah on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. PT. The team is on track to meet the Pac-12's healthy scholarship player minimum (7) and will suit up against the Utes. The Bruins own a 16-game winning streak against Utah, dating back to November, 2009. The Michael Price Family UCLA Women's Head Basketball Coach Cori Close has yet to lose to the Utes (15-0) in her UCLA tenure.

Michaela Onyenwere scored a career-high 33 points, with her final basket proving to be the game winner, as the No. 11 UCLA women's basketball team defeated No. 11 and previously-unbeaten Oregon, 73-71, in a Pac-12 showdown at Matthew Knight Arena Sunday afternoon. The Bruins withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally by the Ducks, who scored 11 straight points before a second-chance layup by Onyenwere with 51 seconds remaining made the difference. UCLA handed Oregon its first home loss since the Bruins beat the Ducks in Eugene on Feb. 22, 2019.

Michaela Onyenwere has earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, the Conference office announced Monday. Onyenwere earned the weekly accolade on the heels of No. 9 UCLA's victory over then-No. 8 Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena on Sunday (Jan. 3). The senior had a dominant offensive performance, scoring a career-high 33 points on 12-for-20 shooting. She capped her stellar day by following her own miss for the put-back layup late in the fourth quarter to put UCLA ahead, 73-71, which proved to be the eventual game-winning basket. She also went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. It was her third-career 30+ point game and eighth-straight game in double figures to start the season.

High school senior Dominique Darius has enrolled early at UCLA and has joined the women's basketball team's active roster, the team announced Monday (Dec. 28). The Jacksonville, Fla., native is ranked 26th on ESPN's 2021 HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings. She arrives in Westwood by way of Blair Academy (NJ), where she helped lead the Buccaneers to an NJISAA State title in 2020. As a junior, Darius put up 15.8 points per game in Blair's 26-5 campaign. She scored two points and added a rebound and assist in her debut against Oregon (Jan. 3).

Individual Notes
• Michaela Onyenwere has scored 1,600 points in her UCLA career and is currently 14th on the program's all-time scoring list. Lisa Willis ('06) is 13th with 1,677 points. Ann Meyers Drysdale ('78) is 12th with 1,685 points.
• Michaela Onyenwere has scored in double figures in each of UCLA's first eight games.
• Michaela Onyenwere is fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring (18.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.4). She is the only player in the Conference in the top 5 in both categories.
• Michaela Onyenwere was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 this week.
• Lindsey Corsaro leads the Pac-12 in Assist/Turnover ratio at 3.25.

Team Notes
• With the team's win over then-No. 8 Oregon, the Bruins have now recorded a victory over a top-10 opponent in each of the last six seasons.
• UCLA is the only team with multiple players (Onyenwere - 18.4, Osborne 16.4) among the Pac-12's top 5 scorers.
• UCLA is the only team with multiple Pac-12 POW honorees (Onyenwere - Jan. 4, Osborne - Nov. 30).
• UCLA is seventh in the country and leads the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds per game (18.4).
• The Bruins lead the Pac-12 in fewest turnovers per game (11.5). UCLA also leads the Conference in most turnovers forced with 19.0 per contest.

Michaela Onyenwere recorded 17 points in the Bruins' blowout victory over UCSB (Dec. 9), a performance that took her over the 1,500-career-point milestone at UCLA. She is currently 14th on UCLA's all-time scoring list. With UCLA's win at Arizona State (Dec. 6), Cori Close won her 200th-career game with the Bruins. She is only the third coach in program history to achieve the milestone (Billie Moore - 296; Kathy Olivier - 232).

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.

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 is averaging 9.9 points through her first seven games and has scored at least 13 points in three of her last five contests.

Senior forward Michaela Onyenwere and sophomore guard Charisma Osborne have been named to several 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 Midseason Top 25 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)