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Ionescu’s Court: Can the Bruins beat the Ducks?

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Ionescu’s court is now in session!

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-UCLA vs Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

This Sunday, at 2 PM on the PAC-12 Network, the UCLA Bruins will attempt to dethrone the reigning Queens of PAC-12 Basketball.

A win could jumpstart the Bruins’ season, which has already seen its share of close games against top competition, but a loss would further UCLA’s descent to the bottom of the PAC.

Do the Bruins have a shot against the Ducks? We’ll enter Ionescu’s Court to find out.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Kansas City Regional-Mississippi State vs UCLA Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

SEASON THUS FAR

RECORD: 9-7 (2-2)

BEST WINS: #24 California, USC, Cal Poly

WORST LOSSES: Loyola Marymount, North Carolina, South Florida

COMMON OPPONENT(S): The Ducks and Bruins have only one shared opponent, USC, which they both beat. UCLA used a 31-point third quarter to overcome an 11-point halftime deficit, eventually beating the Trojans 72 to 65 at the Galen Center. Oregon, on the other hand, demolished those very same Trojans by a score of 93 to 53.

SUMMARY: The Bruins are far from the 2017-’18 squad that featured Jordin Canada and Monique Billings; the squad that battled the Ducks in three hard-fought, nationally-relevant matchups.

UCLA has a handful of quality losses but few, if any, quality wins. Four of their losses took place against teams currently in the top 25 (#16 Kentucky, #25 Indiana, #5 Stanford, #10 Oregon State) and all of them were competitive, specifically the contests against Indiana and Kentucky which were lost by a combined 3 points.

The overtime win over #24 California is by far their best win, however, last night’s Cal loss to Arizona will most likely drop the Golden Bears out of the top 25. As the conference comparison below confirms, UCLA has fared well offensively but have been punished for their poor defensive play.


CONFERENCE COMPARISON*

  • BRUINS score 77.3 points per game
  • DUCKS allow 60.7
  • BRUINS have a 42.6% field goal percentage
  • DUCKS allow 38.6%
  • BRUINS shoot 38.4% from three
  • DUCKS allow 29.5%
  • BRUINS average 40.3 rebounds
  • DUCKS allow 30.3
  • BRUINS allow 78.3 points per game
  • DUCKS score 91.7
  • BRUINS allow 47.1% field goal percentage
  • DUCKS score 51%
  • BRUINS allow 34.6% from three
  • DUCKS score 40.2%
  • BRUINS Average 15 Assists/11.3 Turnovers

(*all stats are from conference play)


PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR

  • Michaela Onyenwere

6’0, Forward, Sophomore

Onyenwere has done well as a starter this season after playing in all 35 of last year’s games but starting in only one. She’s averaging 16.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. She’s also an 80% free throw shooter and has a pretty good jump shot. She scored at least 23 points against Kentucky, USC, California and Oregon State, so if UCLA were to upset Oregon, it would likely be in part due to a big performance by Onyenwere.

  • Kennedy Burke

6’1, Guard, Senior

Burke is a veteran presence on this team, having started in every game but six during her sophomore and junior seasons. She’s scored double digits in all but two games this season and has played inspired defense against some top notch competition. If Oregon can limit Burke’s scoring, UCLA would be hard-pressed to find consistent points outside of Onyenwere.

Another interesting note about Burke: she is one of four players in UCLA Women's Basketball History with 1,000+ points, 500+ rebounds, and 100+ blocks!



IONESCU’S VERDICT

The Bruins shouldn’t present much resistance defensively, and their offense will have a hard time keeping up with this high-scoring Duck squad.

THREAT LEVEL:

3 out of 15 triple-doubles