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Women's Basketball Opens 2021-22 Campaign Against Pepperdine

Nov 9, 2021
Kayla Owens

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No. 20 UCLA (0-0, 0-0) vs. Pepperdine (0-0, 0-0)
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 10
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom)
Watch: Pac-12 Networks (Play-by Play: Anne Marie Anderson, Analyst: Ros Gold-Onwude)
Listen: (Play-By-Play: Dave Marcus)

THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP: No. 20 UCLA vs. Pepperdine
UCLA Women's Basketball kicks off its 2021-22 campaign with a matchup against local foe Pepperdine on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Anne Marie Anderson and Ros Gold-Onwude are handling the live broadcast for Pac-12 Networks. Dave Marcus is on the radio call at This is the first matchup between the Bruins and Waves since Nov. 13, which resulted in an 82-78 victory for UCLA. The teams were slated to play last season, but a false-positive COVID test within Pepperdine's program led to a cancellation of the contest in Malibu. Wednesday's matchup marks the first time since March 1, 2020 (vs. Utah) that fans will be in attendance for a UCLA Women's Basketball game.

• Improve the Bruins to 17-3 all-time and 10-1 against the Waves in Pauley Pavilion.
• Earn the Bruins their third-straight season-opening victory and sixth victory in their last seven openers.

2020-21 IN REVIEW
The Bruins are coming off a 2020-21 season that saw the team battle through a limited roster and finish the year 17-6 overall and 12-4 in Pac-12 play. The Michael Price Family UCLA Women's Head Basketball Coach Cori Close guided the team to its fifth-straight NCAA Tournament berth and an appearance in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game. Michaela Onyenwere became the first Bruin to earn AP All-America honors in two-straight seasons. Charisma Osborne picked up the first All-Pac-12 designation of her career while Natalie Chou secured All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention acclaim. . Onyenwere went on to be drafted with the sixth overall pick by the New York Liberty, ultimately winning Rookie of the Year honors.

2021 WNBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR -- Michaela Onyenwere
After an historic Bruin career that saw her graduate as the program's fourth all-time leading scorer with 1,888 points, Michaela Onyenwere became the first UCLA WBB alumna to earn the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award. She was also the first Bruin basketball player since Jamaal Wilkes in 1975 to be named Rookie of the Year. She started 29 of 32 games for New York and went on to lead all rookies in scoring with 8.6 points per game. She notched nine double-digit scoring performances, including a 29-point outing against the Atlanta Dream on May 29. Onyenwere was third among rookies with 2.9 rebounds per contest and secured a career-high 10 boards against the Minnesota Lynx on Aug. 31.  New York earned the eighth seed in WNBA Playoffs and fell in a heartbreaking 83-82 loss to the Phoenix Mercury. It was the first playoff appearance for New York since 2017.

UCLA'S LEADING SCORER -- Charisma Osborne
Charisma Osborne is back for her true junior season after a breakout campaign in 2020-21. The Moreno Valley, Calif., native averaged a career-high 17.0 points per game and registered eight games with at least 20 points, including a stretch of seven-straight 20+ point performances. Osborne opened her sophomore season with a 31-point outing against Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 27), going 9-for-16 from the floor and 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Later in the year, she recorded just the ninth triple-double in UCLA history and the first of her career with 18 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds against USC on Feb. 28.  She went on to secure All-Pac-12 honors for the first time in her career. Osborne opened the season on the following watch lists: Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year, the Wooden Award, and the Wade Trophy. She was also named to the preseason All-Pac-12 team for the upcoming season.

• The Bruins have earned a trip to the last five NCAA Tournaments, securing four Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite 8 berth along the way.
• Graduate transfer IImar'I Thomas scored over 1,900 points at Cincinnati and once scored 51 points in a single game (Feb. 24, 2021 at East Carolina).
• Redshirt freshman transfer Angela Dugalic won the European Championships with Serbia and went on to compete at the Tokyo Olympics this past summer.
• Junior guard Charisma Osborne is the second-highest returning scorer in the Pac-12 with 17.0 points per game.
• Dominique Onu (formerly Darius) played 16 games for the Bruins last year in what should have been her senior year of high school.

WELCOME (BACK) TO WESTWOOD -- Transfers and Returners
The Bruins notably have eight players who did not suit up for the program a season ago. Coach Close reloaded with four transfers to fill out the roster: Gina Conti (point guard, Wake Forest), Angela Dugalic (forward, Oregon), Jaelynn Penn (guard, Indiana), and IImar'I Thomas (forward, Cincinnati). UCLA fans can enjoy the returns of Brynn Masikewich, Kayla Owens, and Kiara Jefferson, none of whom were with the program last season for various reasons. Redshirt freshman Izzy Anstey is also with the team for the first time, as the Australia native was unable to travel to the United States last year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

UCLA maintained a strong presence in the WNBA this past season, as the Bruins had representation on the court, the sideline, and the front office across various organizations.
• Michaela Onyenwere earned Rookie of the Year honors with the New York Liberty, becoming the first UCLA Women's Basketball alumna to earn the honor. She averaged 8.6 points per game and won each of the league's four Rookie of the Month awards.
• Jordin Canada ('18) finished her fourth season with the Seattle Storm, putting up 5.8 points and 3.0 assists per game. Canada also boasts an apparel deal with Jumpman, as does UCLA Women's Basketball.
• Noelle Quinn ('07) was named Head Coach of the Seattle Storm during the 2021 season and guided the team to the WNBA playoffs.
• Monique Billings ('18) finished her fourth season in the WNBA with the Atlanta Dream. Billings averaged 8.1 points per game and grabbed 6.5 rebounds per contest.
• Kennedy Burke ('19) was traded to the Seattle Storm during the 2021 season and was reunited with former UCLA teammate, Jordin Canada. Burke averaged 2.9 points per game last season.
• Former Bruin sharpshooter Kari Korver ('17) finished her second season as the Director of Operations for the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Bruins have been represented on the following national award watch lists and preseason teams:
Charisma Osborne: Preseason All-Pac-12 team, Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award Top 20 Watch List, Wooden Award watch list, Wade Watch
Gina Conti: Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year Award Top 20 Watch List, All-Pac-12 team honorable mention
Natalie Chou: Preseason All-Pac-12 team honorable mention

UCLA Women's Basketball earned the No. 20 ranking in the preseason edition of the Associated Press (AP Poll). UCLA has now earned a spot on the AP poll in each of the last 42 weeks, dating back to the 2018-19 season. It's also the fifth time in the last six years that the team has earned a spot in the preseason ranks. The Bruins checked in much higher at No. 14 on the preseason Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) / USA Today poll.

The Bruins and Waves share a fun coaching connection to be observed during Wednesday's matchup. Pepperdine Assistant Coach, Rachel Schrote, served as Director of Player Development and Assistant Video Coordinator with UCLA from 2018-21, helping the program to multiple NCAA Tournaments. Schrote is in her first season as an Assistant Coach with the Waves.

UP NEXT: UCLA vs. CSUN (Thursday, Nov. 18)
UCLA Women's Basketball is back home for its second game of the season, as the Bruins are set to take on local opponent CSUN on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7:00pm PT. UCLA will provide an in-house live stream and Dave Marcus will be on the radio call at The Bruins and Matadors last met on Dec. 7, 2019, with UCLA taking the road victory by a score of 58-44. Michaela Onyenwere and Charisma Osborne each tallied 19 points to lead UCLA's scoring attack.