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Bruins Face Beavers in WNIT Quarterfinals Sunday

Mar 26, 2022
Izzy Anstey

UCLA (17-12) at Oregon State (17-13)
Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022 – 12 p.m. PT
Corvallis, Ore. (Gill Coliseum)
Broadcast: OSU Live Stream
Radio Talent: Dave Marcus

The last two Pac-12 teams in the WNIT will battle it out on Sunday at Noon for a berth in the WNIT semifinals, as UCLA returns to Gill Coliseum for a second matchup this season with the Oregon State Beavers. Oregon State won the first contest on Jan. 30, 72-58, as the Bruins were playing without three of their current Top 5 scorers (Charisma Osborne, Jaelynn Penn and Angela Dugalic). UCLA came to within two points with 4:35 to play in the contest, but Oregon State went on a 10-1 run to put the game out of reach. Natalie Chou and Dominique Onu led the Bruins with 13 points apiece, while Talia von Oelhoffen scored a game-high 21 points for the Beavers. UCLA holds a 48-30 lead in the overall series. The Bruins' last win came in Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 17, 2020, an 83-74 overtime victory. Oregon State has won the last seven matchups in Gill Coliseum.

UCLA defeated host Wyoming, 82-81, in a triple overtime thriller Mar. 24 to advance to the WNIT quarterfinals. Charisma Osborne scored 20 points, including the last four in the final overtime period to secure the win. IImar'I Thomas, who scored 18 points with 10 rebounds, sent the game into double overtime with a layup with two seconds remaining on the clock, and Osborne's three clutch free throws with 15 seconds left in the second overtime forced a third overtime. The game featured 23 lead changes, and no team held a lead larger than six points in the contest. The game was Wyoming's second consecutive triple overtime game. UCLA's only other triple overtime game came on Jan. 27, 2019, a 98-93 victory at Arizona.

UCLA won the WNIT in 2015 in its first and only tournament appearance. The Bruins finished the regular season with a 13-18 record but earned the Pac-12's automatic qualifying spot in the tournament. In the first round, UCLA defeated CSU Bakersfield, 70-54, at home and then beat San Diego on the road, 63–58. The Bruins hosted third round and quarterfinal games, taking a 74-60 victory over Northern Colorado and an 82-66 win over Saint Mary's. UCLA continued its winning ways in the semifinals, beating Michigan on the road, 69-65, to advance to the championship game in West Virginia. Freshman point guard Jordin Canada dominated in the championship game, scoring 31 points to lead the Bruins to a 62-60 victory. With the Bruins up by just one with under a minute to play, Canada scored on a layup at the 25-second mark and then sealed the win with a steal and two ensuing free throws with 19 seconds remaining.

Along with UCLA coaches Cori Close, Shannon LeBeauf and Tony Newnan, graduate guard Jaelynn Penn also has a WNIT Championship to her credit, winning in 2018 as a freshman at Indiana. Penn started for the Hoosiers in the championship game, recording a double-double with 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in Indiana's 65-57 victory over Virginia Tech.

• The Bruins have won six of their last seven games, their best seven-game stretch of the season.
• This is the seventh consecutive year that UCLA has advanced to postseason play. After winning the WNIT in 2015, the Bruins went to four consecutive NCAA Sweet Sixteens from 2016-19, including the 2018 Elite Eight, and to the NCAA second round in 2021 (there was no postseason in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
• UCLA has two players ranked in the Top 5 in scoring in the Pac-12 (No. 4 Charisma Osborne - 16.0 and No. 5 IImar'I Thomas - 15.6). No other school has more than one player in the Top 5.
• Osborne recorded her eighth 20-point game of the season with a 20-point, nine-rebound, five-assist performance at Wyoming.
• Osborne has recorded multiple assists in 20-straight games.
• IImar'I Thomas has scored in double figures in each of her last nine games.
• Thomas has led the Bruins in rebounding in eight of the last 13 games and has recorded four double-doubles across that stretch, including two in the WNIT - (13pts/12reb against UC Irvine; 18pts/10reb at Wyoming).
• Jaelynn Penn has made at least one three-pointer in each of her last five games, including a season-high four against Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament second round.
• Natalie Chou tied her career-high with five steals in the Wyoming game. She has three five-steal games this season.
• Angela Dugalic recorded her first career double-double in the Pac-12 Tournament first round, grabbing career-highs in points (13) and rebounds (12) in the win over USC. Dugalic's point total matched her previous career-high, set last year against UCLA when she was a member of the Oregon Ducks.
• UCLA has held its opponents under 70 points in 11 of the last 13 games and is 16-4 this season when doing so. The Bruin defense has kept opponents under 65 points in regulation in each of the last seven games. UCLA has gone 6-1 during those games.
• UCLA's 93 field goal attempts against Wyoming were the most by a Bruin team since attempting 106 in a double overtime game at Cal on Dec. 21, 2015.

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 ranked fourth with 16.0 points per game and graduate transfer forward IImar'I Thomas fifth at 15.6 points per game. Osborne is a Region 5 finalist for the WBCA All-America award and was on the Late Season Top 20 Watch List for the John R. Wooden Award, the Midseason Watch List for the Naismith Trophy and the Top 10 Watch List for the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award. She has scored in double figures in 23 of the 26 games she has played this season and has eight 20-point games to her credit this year, along with two double-doubles. In the Pac-12, she ranks fourth in scoring (16.0), third in free throw percentage (87.2%) and sixth in assists (96). Thomas has impressed in her first season with the Bruins after transferring from Cincinnati, compiling a team-best 26 double-digit scoring efforts, including a 32-point performance in UCLA's dominant victory over San Jose State (Dec. 5) and four double-doubles. She ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring (15.6), first in field goals made (190), fourth in field goal percentage (54.1%) and second in offensive rebounds (82).

Two players who started the calendar year on the injured list have returned to play solid minutes for the Bruins. Forward Angela Dugalic, a transfer from Oregon, made her first Bruin appearance on Feb. 11 at Washington State, playing 16 minutes and grabbing four 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 had a breakthrough game against USC in the Pac-12 Tournament, recording her first career double-double with career-best numbers of 13 points and 12 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play. In 12 games, Dugalic is averaging 16.6 minutes, 6.1 points, and 4.5 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 15 games, with six starts. 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 10 games. She had started the season's first 11 games prior to her injury.

Incoming freshman Kiki Rice won both the Naismith and Gatorade National High School Player of the Year awards in 2022. Rice led Sidwell Friends to a perfect 28-0 record this past season, putting up 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. The McDonald's All-American is the No. 2-ranked player and No. 1-ranked point guard in espnW's Class of 2022. She is a two-time gold medalist with USA Basketball and earned District of Columbia Player of the Year honors in both basketball and soccer. She averaged 18.8 points per game at the Nike Girls EYBL last summer.

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 one of just four schools in the country (and the only Pac-12 school) since 2010 to sign multiple No. 1 classes. Kiki Rice, UCLA's first-ever Naismith Girls Player of the Year and its second-ever Gatorade National Player of the Year, is the highest-ranked recruit in UCLA WBB history. She and Gabriela Jaquez, the sister of UCLA Men's Basketball star Jaime Jaquez Jr., were both named to the McDonald's All-America team and selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic, along with Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year finalist Londynn Jones. 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.