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UCLA Faces USC in Pac-12 Tournament First Round

Feb 28, 2022
Natalie Chou

No. 7 Seed UCLA (13-11, 8-8) vs. No. 10 Seed USC (12-15, 5-12)
Date: Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2022
Time: 6:00 p.m. PT
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (Michelob ULTRA Arena)
Watch: Pac-12 Network (Krista Blunk, Mary Murphy)
Radio: (Dave Marcus)

Crosstown rivals UCLA and USC will meet in Las Vegas in the first round of the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament. The matchup between the seventh-seeded Bruins and 10th-seeded Trojans will take place on Wednesday, March 2 at 6 pm. The winner will advance to the quarterfinals to face second-seeded Oregon on Thursday, March 3 at 6 pm.

UCLA is 2-0 against USC this season, winning 66-43 on Jan. 20 at home and 68-58 on Jan. 23 on the road. The Bruins are looking to even the series at 50-50 and are coming into the game having won five straight against the Trojans. UCLA is 3-0 all-time against USC in the Pac-12 Tournament, last meeting in 2020 in a 73-66 UCLA quarterfinal win.

UCLA is 23-19 all-time in the Pac-12 Tournament and has advanced to the final six times, most recently a year ago after beating Washington (58-46) and Arizona (58-49) in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. The Bruins lost to eventual NCAA champion Stanford in the championship game, 75-55. UCLA has one Pac-12 Tournament Championship to its credit in 2006, beating Stanford 85-76 in overtime in the title game.

LAST GAME -- UCLA at Arizona State (Feb. 26)
UCLA closed the regular season with a 59-52 win at Arizona State on Saturday to complete the sweep in the desert following a Feb. 24 win at No. 12 Arizona. The win was the Bruins' 12th consecutive over the Sun Devils. UCLA trailed early but outscored the Sun Devils by 10 in the second quarter, including a 7-2 run to end the half with the lead. UCLA controlled the paint, outrebounding Arizona State by a 44-29 margin and holding a 10-2 advantage in second-chance points. Charisma Osborne led the Bruins in scoring with 17 points and added seven rebounds. IImar'I Thomas contributed 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Chantel Horvat led all players with 10 rebounds and also recorded six points and one block.

Junior guard Charisma Osborne remains in the mix for several year-end awards, being selected to the Late Season Top 20 Watch List for the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy's, the Midseason Watch List for the Jersey Mike's Naismith Trophy, and the Top 10 Watch List for the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award. Osborne ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring average (17.1ppg) and free throw percentage (86.3%) fourth in three-pointers made (53) and minutes per game (34.6) and sixth in assists per game (3.5 apg). She has scored in double figures in 20 of the 21 games she has played this season and has seven 20-point games to her credit, including two in February (22 at Washington Feb. 13 and 23 at Washington State Feb. 11), and two double-doubles, most recently on Feb. 24 at Arizona (18 points, 10 rebounds). She also has a 27-point effort at USC on Jan. 23 and a 26-point output against UConn on Dec. 11. Earlier this season, Osborne joined UCLA's 1,000-point club and hit 400 career rebounds and 200 career assists last week at Arizona (Feb. 24). Her 165 career three-pointers rank third all-time at UCLA.

• UCLA has two players ranked in the Top 5 in scoring in the Pac-12 (No. 2 Charisma Osborne - 17.1 and No. 5 IImar'I Thomas - 15.4). No other school has more than one player in the Top 5, and only one other school has two players in the Top 10 (No. 7 Nyara Sabally and No. 8 Endyia Rogers).
• UCLA ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in turnovers per game (13.5).
• UCLA ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (.773).
• Thomas has led the Bruins in rebounding in six of the last eight games. She led the team in both scoring and rebounding against Colorado (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Utah (20 points, 9 rebounds).
• Thomas has two double-doubles in the month of February, recording 16 points and 12 rebounds against Cal on Feb. 6 and 16 points and 11 rebounds at Arizona on Feb. 24. • UCLA has held its opponent under 70 points in seven of the last eight games and is 13-3 this season when doing so.
• UCLA held Arizona to a season-low 46 points on Feb. 24 and snapped the Wildcats' 16-game home winning streak.

• Charisma Osborne recorded her 200th career assist and 400th career rebound at Arizona (Feb. 24). She also reached a milestone in the Arizona home game (Jan. 26), becoming the 38th player to join UCLA's 1,000 point club. Osborne currently has 1,127 career points.
• IImar'I Thomas picked up her 1,000th career rebound at Arizona (Feb. 24) and her 300th career assist at Arizona State (Feb. 26). She reached 2,000 career points earlier this year and has 2,294 currently.
• Jaelynn Penn has scored 1,493 career points, just seven away from 1,500.
• Penn has dished out 238 career assists, 12 away from 250.

Two players who started the calendar year on the injured list have returned in the past month to play solid minutes for the Bruins. Redshirt freshman forward Angela Dugalic, a transfer from Oregon, made her first Bruin appearance on Feb. 11 at Washington State, playing 16 minutes and grabbing 4 rebounds. Dugalic scored her first points as a Bruin the following game at Washington, netting two baskets and snagging three rebounds in 14 minutes of action. She has now played in seven games and totaled eight points and season-highs of seven rebounds and two blocked shots in her last game at Arizona State (Feb. 26). Dugalic is averaging 15.6 minutes, 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Junior guard Camryn Brown returned on Jan. 30 at Oregon State after her ACL injury suffered at the end of 2020-21 and has played in 10 games, with three starts. Brown is shooting 48% from the field, second-best on the team. Junior forward Brynn Masikewich made her first appearance since 2019-20 during the Bruins' Jan. 26 game against Arizona and also saw action at Oregon State on Jan. 30. Additionally, Jaelynn Penn returned on Feb. 13 from a hand injury that kept her out of seven games and has started the last five games. She had started the season's first 11 games prior to her injury.

UCLA's 1-2 PUNCH -- Charisma Osborne and IImar'I Thomas
UCLA is the only Pac-12 team with a pair of players among the league's Top 5 scorers, with junior guard Charisma Osborne currently second with 17.1 points per game and graduate transfer forward IImar'I Thomas fifth at 15.4 points per game. Osborne has two 20-point games in the month of February, scoring game-highs of 23 points at Washington State and 22 points at Washington) and also had a 27-point outing in the team's road victory over USC on Jan. 23, securing six rebounds and dishing out three assists in the win. Thomas has impressed in her first season with the Bruins after transferring from Cincinnati, compiling 20 double-digit scoring efforts, including a 32-point performance in UCLA's dominant victory over San Jose State (Dec. 5) and a pair of double-doubles against California Feb. 6 (16 points, 12 rebounds) and at Arizona Feb. 24 (16 points, 11 rebounds). Osborne has scored 10+ points in 20 of 21 games she has played this season, and Thomas has reached double figures in 18 of UCLA's last 20 contests and in 21 games total. Thomas has led UCLA in rebounding in six of the last eight contests. She now ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage, shooting at a 53.8% clip.