Dugalic Earns International Experience Ahead of Transition to UCLA
LOS ANGELES – Sophomore Angela Dugalić – one of four transfers new to UCLA's roster this season – had a busy summer competing on the world stage. The 6-4 forward was a member of Serbia's European Championship title team and went on to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Dugalić played in all six of Serbia's games at EuroBasket 2021. She logged 23 minutes in the team's group stage matchup against Greece and put up five points and four rebounds in the performance (June 18). She also scored in the gold medal game against France in Valencia, Spain, capping her first senior tournament with a major title (June 23).
"To get gold in your first try at a EuroBasket tournament – your first tournament ever with the professionals and the senior team – it's just a great memory," said Dugalić. "You don't get many opportunities at that, so it was just an amazing experience."
As the youngest Serbian player by six years at the European Championships, Dugalić wasn't positive she'd also make the roster for the Olympics. She recalls feeling stressed as she awaited the call from her head coach.
"It was definitely a nerve-wracking experience," Dugalić recalled. "I figured out four hours before our flight that I was going, so I was very quick to pack everything."
Dugalić didn't play in the team's first four Olympic games, a potential outcome she expected due to her lack of seniority on the team. She knew she would give it everything she had the moment her opportunity presented itself.
"I knew if they did ever put me in, I would give a hundred percent," she said. "I really have nothing to lose. I'm the youngest one. I'm playing against professional athletes who have dedicated their whole lives to this. I want to be in their position one day."
The Serbians advanced to the semi-finals in Tokyo and squared off against the United States, a game that saw Dugalić play 22 minutes and put up four points and 10 rebounds against some of the greatest players in the world. She recalls a special moment in the postgame high-five line with WNBA legend Sue Bird, who recognized that Dugalić was wearing shoes designed by Bird, herself.
"We're giving high-fives and Sue Bird says, 'I like your shoes, kid,'" Dugalić fondly remembered. "When she told me that, I turned around to my teammates and said, 'What just happened?!"
Team Serbia went on to finish fourth at the Olympics before Dugalić returned to the U.S. to join the Bruin family for the first time. She recently transferred from Oregon, where she played in all 24 games as a freshman and put up 3.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest. She has enjoyed the transition to her new collegiate home and appreciates the support provided by the entire program.
"It's been great," said Dugalić. "I'm really excited for the season. When I came here, everyone was so welcoming. It wasn't just one time; it's the whole time I've been here. It's nice that it's consistent and it's actually genuine."
Dugalić spent the rest of the summer training with her new teammates in Westwood ahead of the 2021-22 campaign. The Bruins see their first competitive action of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 10 with a matchup against Pepperdine at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.