#22 UCLA Women's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

UCLA Bruins
Overall Rank: #22
Conference Rank: #4 Pac-12
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The Bruins lose their top two playmakers in Jordin Canada and Monique Billings. Canada led the way with 17.0 points and 7.1 assists, while Billings added 15.3 points and a team high 9.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Those two were a huge reason why the Bruins reached the Sweet 16 in 2016 and 2017 and the Elite Eight last season.
2017-18 Record: 27-8, 14-4
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Cori Close
Coach Record: 150-86 at UCLA, 150-86 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Jordin Canada, Guard, 17.0 ppg
Monique Billings, Forward, 15.3 ppg
Kelli Hayes, Guard, 6.2 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kennedy Burke, Senior, Guard, 10.6 ppg
Lajahna Drummer, Senior, Forward, 6.3 ppg
Japreece Dean, Senior, Guard, 7.7 ppg
Michaela Onyenwere, Sophomore, Forward, 6.9 ppg
Chantel Horvat, Sophomore, Guard, 4.0 ppg
Lauryn Miller, Sophomore, Forward, 1.7 ppg
Ally Rosenblum, Junior, Forward, 1.2 ppg
Key New Players
Kayla Owens, RS Freshman, Guard
Kiara Jefferson, Freshman, Guard
Shayley Harris, Freshman, Forward/Center
Lindsey Corsaro, RS Freshman, Guard
Eliana Sigal, Freshman, Guard
Ahlana Smith, Freshman, Guard
Natalie Chou, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Baylor, not eligible
Kennedy Burke is a tall 6-1 guard who averaged 10.6 points and 4.3 rebounds last season. She will be the new top scoring threat and will get plenty of help on the glass from Lajahna Drummer. The 6-1 senior is a proven commodity on the defensive end of the floor and now she will be asked to do a bit more scoring too. With Michaela Onyenwere coming off a promising freshman campaign, UCLA should be able to replace Billings’ production in the frontcourt. For now the backcourt will rely heavily on senior Japreece Dean. She made a splash during UCLA’s Elite Eight run last season and the Bruins hope that she can continue that while taking on more of a leadership role. Redshirt freshmen Kayla Owens and Lindsey Corsaro missed most of last season with injuries and will join sophomore Chantel Horvat in the new, tall backcourt. The addition of incoming freshmen Ahlana Smith and Kiara Jefferson gives Coach Cori Close plenty of talented perimeter options. As long as some of those options are ready to make an impact, UCLA will get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.5 (33rd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.5 (133, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.9 (73, 6)
Field-Goal Defense:39.5 (122, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (155, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (88, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.5 (126, 5)
Rebound Margin: 6.3 (38, 5)
Assists Per Game:16.3 (29, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (28, 3)
Madness 2018 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#31 Ahlana Smith
#85 Kiara Jefferson