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Bruins Set to Take on Virginia at Pauley

Nov 20, 2021
Izzy Anstey (photo by Jesus Ramirez)

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No. 20 UCLA (2-0, 0-0) vs. Virginia (0-3, 0-0)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 21
Time: 3:00 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom)
Watch: Pac-12 Network (Tracy Warren, Mary Murphy)
Listen: (Dave Marcus)

• Charisma Osborne (21.5 ppg) and IImar'I Thomas (21.0 ppg) are two of only four players in the Pac-12 averaging at least 20 points per game.
• The Bruins are the only team in the Pac-12 with two players averaging at least 20 points per game (Osborne 21.5, Thomas 21.0).
• The Bruins are the only team in the Pac-12 with two players among the league's top five scorers (3. Osborne, 4. Thomas)
• IImar'I Thomas is leading the Pac-12 with 10.0 field goals per game this season.
• IImar'I Thomas recorded her 40th-career 20+ point game with 21 points against CSUN (Nov. 18).
• Charisma Osborne is leading the Pac-12 with 7.0 free throws made per game.
• Jaelynn Penn recorded a career-high seven assists in the team's win over CSUN (Nov. 18).
• Izzy Anstey is leading the Bruins with 15 total rebounds across the team's first two games.
• The Bruins outscored the Matadors, 60-29, over the final three quarters this past Thursday (Nov. 18).
• The Bruins recorded a 40-23 rebounding advantage in the victory over CSUN (Nov. 18).
• The Bruins are leading the Pac-12 in free throw percentage at 80.6 percent.
• The Bruins have played in the last five NCAA Tournaments (four Sweet 16s, one Elite 8).

The Bruins are back in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday for a matchup against Virginia at 3:00pm PT on Pac-12 Network. The Cavaliers have had a tough start to the 2021-22 season, going 0-3 with losses to James Madison, USC, and UCF. 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. Michaela Onyenwere and Lauryn Miller both recorded double-doubles en route to a UCLA victory.

• Improve the Bruins to 3-0 ahead of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. (Nov. 26-28).
• Earn the Bruins their 13th-staight victory against a non-conference opponent at Pauley Pavilion.

UCLA trailed after the first quarter, but went on to outscore the Matadors, 60-29, in the final three quarters to take the victory by a final score of 73-46. IImar'I Thomas put up 21 points for the second-straight game while Charisma Osborne added 19 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Jaelynn Penn was a primary facilitator for the Bruins, compiling a career-high seven assists to go with nine points and eight rebounds. Four Bruins (K. Owens, Osborne, Penn, I. Anstey) recorded at least seven boards and helped UCLA earn a 40-23 rebounding advantage on the night.

The Bruins have signed ESPN's 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 Lajahna Dummer and Kelli Hayes, as well as future WNBA pros Jordin Canada and Monique Billings. 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.

PROLIFIC CAREER -- IImar'I Thomas at Cincinnati
IImar'I Thomas has scored 21 points in each of her first two games as a Bruin and is one of only four players in the Pac-12 to average at least 20 points per game thus far. 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 1,967 points in her career, just 33 away from 2,000.
• Gina Conti has recorded 494 assists in her career, just six away from 500.
• Charisma Osborne has made 117 three-pointers in her career. She is tied with Thea Lemberger for sixth on UCLA's all-time three-pointers list.
• Charisma Osborne has dished out 139 assists in her career, just 11 away from 150.
• IImar'I Thomas has recorded 882 rebounds in her career, just 18 away from 900.
• IImar'I Thomas has dished out 247 assists in her career, just three away from 250.
• Natalie Chou has scored 454 points across her UCLA career, just 46 away from 500.

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. Kent State (Friday, Nov. 26)
UCLA Women's Basketball is set to play in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla.,  for its next three games of the season. The Bruins are one of eight teams slated to compete, with South Dakota State, Iowa State, and Penn State also in the field. UCLA's first matchup is against Kent State on Friday, Nov. 26. All games in the tournament will be broadcast on FloHoops.