Bruins Host Trojans in Crosstown Showdown
UCLA Bruins (7-4, 2-1) vs. USC Trojans (9-5, 2-2)
Date: Thursday, Jan. 20
Time: 6:30 p.m. PT
Location: Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom (tickets not available to general public)
Watch: Pac-12 Network (Anne Marie Anderson, Mary Murphy)
Listen: ucla.leanplayer.com (Dave Marcus)
SERIES HISTORY / SCOUTING REPORT: USC Trojans
Sunday's matchup between the Bruins and Trojans is the 98th all-time meeting between the Los Angeles programs, with USC holding a decisive 50-47 advantage in the series. UCLA holds a 25-21 home advantage all-time against the Trojans. The Bruins swept the season series last year and are riding a three-game winning streak in the rivalry.
The Trojans enter Thursday's contest at 9-5 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play, having most recently defeated Washington at Galen Center on Sunday, Jan. 16. USC secured a signature, 76-67 victory over then-No. 4 Arizona on Jan. 9, but went on to fall at home to Washington State in its next contest. The Trojans boast a trio of double digit scorers led by Jordyn Jenkins, who currently owns a stat line of 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb is in her first year at the helm of the Trojan program after two seasons as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers and eight seasons as Head Coach at California. She led the Golden Bears to the Final Four in 2013.
LOOKING BACK -- UCLA vs. USC in 2020-21
The Bruins notched a dominant season sweep of the Trojans during the 2020-21 season. UCLA opened the series with a 73-52 win at Galen Center on Dec. 13, 2020, with Michaela Onyenwere and Charisma Osborne combining for 37 points in the victory. The Bruins would hold the Trojans without a field goal in the third quarter and outscored USC, 20-5, in the frame, to leave the eventual outcome in no doubt. Later in the season, the Bruins posted a resounding, 93-51 victory at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom on Feb. 26, 2021. UCLA knocked down a program-record 16 three-pointers and Osborne recorded a triple-double in the win. Onyenwere was also sensational, totaling 30 points on the day and going a perfect 6-for-6 from long range.
RECAP -- UCLA vs. Washington State (Jan. 16)
Charisma Osborne scored a game-high 25 points to lead the UCLA women's basketball team past Washington State, 71-58, in a Pac-12 contest on Sunday afternoon. The Bruins improved to 34-0 all-time against the Cougars at home. The win secured the weekend sweep for the Bruins, who improved to 7-4 on the year and 2-1 in Pac-12 play. UCLA also improved to 6-0 at home on the year and Osborne passed Nirra Fields ('16) for sole possession of third place on UCLA's all-time list for three-pointers made.
NOTES ON THE BRUINS
• A win would improve the Bruins to 26-21 all-time at home against the Trojans.
• UCLA swept the season series against the Trojans last year and outscored USC, 166-103 across the two games.
• In the Bruins' win over USC on Feb. 26, 2021, the Bruins hit a program-record 16 triples, Charisma Osborne recorded just the ninth triple-double in program history, and Michaela Onyenwere scored 30 points and went 6-for-6 from the three-point line.
• A win would improve the Bruins to 7-0 at home this season.
• The Bruins are the only team in the Pac-12 with two players among the league's top five scorers (2. Osborne, 3. Thomas).
• Charisma Osborne, Jaelynn Penn, and IImar'I Thomas have all scored in double figures in each of the last five games games.
• Charisma Osborne has scored in double figures in each of her last 13 games dating back to last season.
• The Bruins committed just nine turnovers against Washington State and forced 19 Cougar turnovers this past Sunday (Jan. 16).
• The Bruins outscored Washington and Washington State by a combined score of 83-55 over the weekend.
UCLA MILESTONE WATCH
• Charisma Osborne has scored 951 points in her career, just 49 away from 1,000.
• Charisma Osborne has grabbed 97 steals across her career, just six away from 100.
• Charisma Osborne has knocked down 140 three-pointers across her career, just 10 away from 150.
• Natalie Chou has scored 917 points across her career, just 83 away from 1,000.
• Natalie Chou has knocked down 147 three-pointers across her career, just three away from 150.
• Natalie Chou has grabbed 397 rebounds across her career, just three away from 400.
• Jaelynn Penn has scored 1,467 points across her career, just 33 away from 1,500.
• Dominique Onu has scored 95 points across her career, just five away from 100.
• Chantel Horvat has scored 448 points across her career, just 42 away from 500.
NOTES ON THE BRUINS (continued)
• The Bruins lead the Pac-12 in free throw percentage at 77.6 percent.
• The Bruins are the only team in the Pac-12 with three players among the league's top 12 scorers (2. Osborne, 3. Thomas, 11. Penn).
• Jaelynn Penn has scored in double figures in nine of 11 games this season, including six games with at least 15 points.
• Kayla Owens has started 10 of 11 games for the Bruins after not making a single start in her previous three seasons with the team.
• Dominique Onu scored a career-high 10 points in the team's win over St. John's, good for her first-career 10+ point performance (Nov. 28).
UCLA's 1-2 PUNCH -- Charisma Osborne and IImar'I Thomas
UCLA is the only team in the Pac-12 with a pair of players among the league's top five scorers, with junior guard Charisma Osborne currently second with 18.3 points per game and graduate transfer forward IImar'I Thomas third at 17.3 points per game. It's been a career-high scoring year for Osborne, who is coming off a 25-point outing in the Bruins' win over Washington State this past Sunday, her fourth game with at least 20 points this season (Jan. 16). Thomas has impressed in her first season with the Bruins after transferring from Cincinnati, compiling 10 double-digit scoring efforts, including a 32-point performance in UCLA's dominant victory over San Jose State (Dec. 5). Osborne and Thomas have both scored in double figures in each of the Bruins' last seven games.
UCLA alumnae have a strong presence playing professionally overseas. Here is a rundown of the program's current professionals playing in leagues all over the world:
• Kennedy Burke ('19) -- Spar Girona -- Spain
• Rebekah Gardner ('12) -- Spar Girona -- Spain
• Michaela Onyenwere ('21) -- Spar Girona -- Spain
• Monique Billings ('18) -- JCU Townsville -- Australia
• Jordin Canada ('18) -- Uni Gyor Mely-Ut -- Hungary
• Nirra Fields ('16) -- Izmit -- Turkey
• Ally Rosenblum ('20) -- A.S. Ramat Hasharon -- Israel
• Atonye Nyingifa ('14) -- Clarinos -- Spain
ELITE RECRUITING CLASS -- Class of 2022
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 accomplish 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.
HISTORIC GAME RECAP -- UCLA vs. San José State (Dec. 5)
• The Bruins defeated the Spartans, 112-33. It was the second-most points the Bruins have scored in a game during Coach Close's 11-year tenure (129 vs. San José State on Nov. 10, 2017).
• UCLA held the Spartans scoreless in the second quarter.
• Natalie Chou (31 pts) and IImar'I Thomas (32 pts) each put up 30+ point performances. It was only the third time in Pac-12 history since at least 1999-00 that two players from the same team scored at least 30 points in a single game.
• The Bruins assisted on 31 of 43 made baskets, the most assists in a game by UCLA since at least 1999-00.
PROLIFIC CAREER -- IImar'I Thomas at Cincinnati
Graduate forward IImar'I Thomas currently ranks third in the Pac-12 with 17.3 points per game and is coming off a 25-point outing against Washington this past Friday. Thomas transferred to UCLA this past offseason 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.
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.
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.
WATCH LIST RECOGNITION
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 Midseason Top 25 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 at USC (Jan. 23)
The Bruins are back in action for the second of back-to-back games against the Trojans with a matchup at Galen Center on Sunday, Jan. 23. Anne Marie Anderson and Mary Murphy are on the call for Pac-12 Network and Dave Marcus is set to handle the radio broadcast for ucla.leanplayer.com.