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Bruins Back in Pauley to Take on CSUN

Nov 17, 2021
Charisma Osborne (photo by Don Liebig)

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No. 20 UCLA (1-0, 0-0) vs. CSUN (1-1, 0-0)
Date: Thursday, Nov. 18
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom)
Watch: UCLA Live Stream ( -- Dave Marcus on the call)
Listen: (Dave Marcus on the call)

• Charisma Osborne (24) and IImar'I Thomas (21) each recorded 20+ points in the team's season-opening win over Pepperdine.
• Graduate transfers IImar'I Thomas (Cincinnati) and Jaelynn Penn (Indiana) each made their respective UCLA debuts last week.
• Redshirt senior Kayla Owens made her first-career start in the team's win over Pepperdine.
• Four of the Bruins' five starters (Osborne, Chou, Thomas, Penn) played at least 32 minutes on opening night.
• Redshirt freshman Izzy Anstey made her UCLA debut after missing last season due to international travel restrictions.
• Five Bruins (Osborne, Chou, Thomas, Penn, Onu) knocked down at least one three-pointer against Pepperdine.
• The Bruins have played in the last five NCAA Tournaments (four Sweet 16s, one Elite 8)

The Bruins are set to take on CSUN on Thursday evening. The matchup marks the 12th all-time meeting between the programs, with UCLA holding a commanding 10-1 lead in the series. The Bruins most recently defeated the Matadors in Northridge on Dec. 7, 2019, a 58-44 victory that saw Michaela Onyenwere lead all scores with 23 points. UCLA won the first 10 meetings between the teams dating back to 1975 before CSUN earned its first victory in 2012.

UCLA opened the 2021-22 season with a 78-69 victory over Pepperdine on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins were led by junior guard Charisma Osborne, who notched 24 points and four assists on the night. Graduate forward IImar'I Thomas made her UCLA after a four-year career at Cincinnati, tallying 21 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Indiana transfer Jaelynn Penn also donned the four letters for the first time and registered 13 points and five boards. The Bruins weathered a strong shooting performance from the Waves, as Pepperdine connected on 15 three-pointers, including 13 in the first half.

The Bruins have signed what is believed to be the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for the high school class of 2022. It's the second No. 1-ranked class for the Bruins, as the 2014 recruiting haul included Kelli Hayes and future WNBA pros Jordin Canada, Monique Billings, and Kennedy Burke. UCLA is now the only Pac-12 school since 2010 to sign multiple No. 1 classes and one of just four schools in the country to ac- complish the feat since 2010. It should be noted that Kiki Rice is the highest-ranked recruit in UCLA WBB history and Gabriela Jaquez is the sister of UCLA MBB star Jaime Jaquez Jr. The current class features:
SIGNEEES: #2-ranked Kiki Rice (5-11 point guard), #19-ranked Gabriela Jaquez (6-0 forward), #22-ranked Londynn Jones (5-5 point guard), #49-ranked Christeen Iwuala (6-3 forward), and German standout Lina Sontag.

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.

PROLIFIC CAREER -- IImar'I Thomas at Cincinnati
IImar'I Thomas scored 21 points on 10-of-18 shooting in her UCLA debut, helping lead the Bruins to a season-opening victory over Pepperdine (Nov. 10). Thomas transferred to UCLA following a sensational four-year career with Cincinnati. She ranks third all-time in scoring with 1,925 points and is the only player in program history to record 1,900+ points and 800+ rebounds. She was the 2021 AAC Player of the Year after averaging 23.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. Thomas scored in double figures 89 times as a Bearcat and recorded 37 games with at least 20 points. She was a three-time First Team All-AAC selection and the 2018 AAC Freshman of the Year.

• IImar'I Thomas has scored 1,946 points in her career, just 54 away from 2,000.
• Gina Conti has recorded 494 assists in her career, just six away from 500.
• Chantel Horvat has recorded 299 rebounds in her career, just one away from 300.
• Charisma Osborne has made 115 three-pointers in her career. She is just three three-pointers away from passing Thea Lemberger (117) for sixth all-time in UCLA history.
• Charisma Osborne has scored 792 points in her career, just eight away from 800.
• IImar'I Thomas has recorded 880 rebounds in her career, just 20 away from 900.

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.

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 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

UP NEXT: UCLA vs. Virginia (Sunday, Nov. 21)
UCLA Women's Basketball is back for its third-straight home game to start the season with a matchup against Virginia on Sunday, Nov. 21. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00pm PT. Tracy Warren and Mary Murphy will handle the broadcast call for Pac-12 Network. The Bruins are 1-2 all-time against the Cavaliers, with UCLA most recently securing a 73-62 victory in Charlottesville, Va., in Dec. 2019.