#10 UCLA Women's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

UCLA Bruins
Overall Rank: #10
Conference Rank: #2 Pac-12
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UCLA battled its way through a gauntlet within the Pac-12 as they recovered from losing three of four in conference play in early February and got things rolling at the right time heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins made their way to the Sweet 16 before falling to Connecticut. The foundation was laid for huge 2017-18 season if they can stay healthy all season long.
2016-17 Record: 25-9, 13-5
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Cori Close
Coach Record: 123-78 at UCLA, 123-78 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Kari Korver, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Nicole Kornet, Guard, 7.7 points per game
Paulina Hersler, Forward, 3.4 points per game
Dominique Williams, Guard, 0.1 points per game
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Jordin Canada, Senior, Guard, 17.8 points per game
Monique Billings, Senior, Forward, 16.7 points per game
Kennedy Burke, Junior, Guard, 12.2 points per game
Kelli Hayes, Senior, Guard, 5.6 points per game
Ally Rosenblum, Sophomore, Forward, 1.6 points per game
Lindsay Corsaro, Redshirt Freshman, Guard, 1.5 points per game
Lajahna Drummer, Redshirt Junior, Forward, 1.5 points per game
Ashley Hearn, Junior, Forward, 1.4 points per game
Chrissy Baird, Redshirt Junior, did not play last season
Key New Players
Chantel Horvat, Freshman, Guard
Kayla Owens, Freshman, Guard
Lauryn Miller, Freshman, Forward
Michaela Onyenwere, Freshman, Forward
Japreece Dean, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Texas Tech
Jordin Canada should be a national player of the year candidate this season as Canada can take over a game at any moment. Canada averaged just under 18 points per game last season and was very efficient shooting the ball and distributing it to teammates. Thus, the threat of Canada making a huge push to average a triple double is very realistic this season. Monique Billings should dominate down in the post as Billings averaged 16.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game last season. Kennedy Burke is a strong third option for Coach Cori Close and her staff as Burke shot 45.7 percent from the floor last season for UCLA. Michaela Onyenwere, Chantel Horvat, Kayla Owens, and Lauryn Miller are a quartet of freshmen that will push for playing right away and create a very competitive atmosphere for practices daily. The schedule will have some fun challenges for UCLA right out of the gate in November. Baylor and Connecticut will come to Pauley Pavilion on November 18th and 21st, respectively. These two games will tell the Bruin coaching staff exactly what they need to work on by the time the NCAA Tournament rolls back around. Starting fast will also help UCLA once conference play starts as they will face off against Stanford, California, and the Oregon schools in the first four conference games. If the Bruins are 3-1 after those four games, then they should be in prime position to contend for the conference title. UCLA should be a Sweet 16 or Elite Eight team at minimum this season.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.1 (28th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.8 (152, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.2(115, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.9 (120, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (119, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.5 (216, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.2 (120, 3)
Rebound Margin: 1.9 (125, 7)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (63, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (9, 2)
Madness 2018 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#6 Jordin Canada
#9 Monique Billings
Madness 2017 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#12 Michaels Onyenwere
#36 Kayla Owens
#48 Lauryn Miller
#75 Chantel Horvat