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Cal Women's Basketball

Bears Fall to #7 UCLA

February 2, 2024
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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Charisma Osborne had 32 points and No. 7 UCLA beat California 78-58 on Friday night for its 12th straight victory over the Bears.

UCLA (17-3, 6-3 Pac-12) rebounded after losing to unranked Washington State, with a marquee matchup at No. 4 Stanford looming Sunday. The Bruins started the season 14-0, but had lost three of their last five.

After the game, Bruins coach Cori Close rattled off the different ways in which Osborne scored - in the post, off the dribble, beyond-the-arc. And she stated the obvious: “Bottom line: I have Charisma. They don’t.”

“I could tell really early on she was feeling in a rhythm, in a zone,” Close said. “And for me, it's: ‘Let her go’ We need to call plays that put her in situations, but I don’t need to over-coach at that point. I need to get her the ball in spots that I know she likes and let her make plays.”

Londynn Jones added 18, including six straight points in one possession after Cal had cut the lead to single digits midway through the fourth quarter. Jones hit a three with a foul away from the ball, and then made a layup plus the foul after UCLA retained possession. Angela Dugalic also had 12 points for UCLA.

Michelle Onyiah led Cal (13-9, 3-7) with a career-high 21 points. The Bears have lost six of seven. Ioanna Krimili and Marta Suárez chipped in with 15 and 14 points respectively while Leilani McIntosh dished seven assists, her highest total in conference play.

“Those are really hard shots that she was knocking down,” Cal coach Charmin Smith said about Osborne. “Several of them, there was a hand right in her face and she just elevated over people and knocked down shots ... We put a lot of different people on her. But she had a night. It happens.”

Smith added that the Bears made some adjustments to slow Osborne down, but “we didn’t have enough firepower on our end to just stay close with them.”

Osborne’s elbow jumper off a screen by Lina Sontag with under two minutes to go in the half gave her 2,102 career points, passing Maylana Martin for third on UCLA’s scoring list. The graduate student recorded her 30th point with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter on another jumper, capping off seven straight points and putting the Bruins ahead 51-32.

Once Osborne saw her first shot go in, she felt more comfortable being aggressive to get to her spots.

“I was just really confident and once like the first couple one and I was like, 'OK, I’ll keep going and keep doing that,” Osborne said.

Osborne played 34 minutes, and she highlighted different aspects of her game.

“I try my best to be a three-level scorer so that I can shoot on the outside, get to the basket and also the mid-range,” she said.

UCLA led 53-38 after three quarters.

UCLA was without leading scorer Lauren Betts, who is averaging 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds this season, for the third straight game. Betts practiced during the week but was listed as questionable due to “undisclosed medical reasons."

Big Picture

UCLA: The Bruins get back on track with a conference win ahead of a top-10 matchup at Stanford on Sunday, where they’ll need to duplicate Friday’s performance without Betts yet again. They'll face Cardinal team that lost 67-58 to No. 15 USC on Friday, with the Trojans' JuJu Watson scoring 51 points in the upset. Close said it was an indication of the strength of the Pac-12.

“USC is a really good team,” Close said. “Stanford’s a really good team. So are we. All I’m caring about right now is controlling our preparation. That’s all I can control. I’ve been coaching against Stanford long enough. They'll respond.

Cal: The schedule doesn’t get easier for the Bears, who began a stretch of facing four ranked Pac-12 opponents in five games.

Up Next

UCLA: At No. 4 Stanford on Sunday.

Cal: Hosts No. 15 Southern California on Sunday.

Bears Fall to #7 UCLA

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