Who? The Bruins of UCLA. No matter what you may have heard elsewhere, they are not Lady Bruins.
What? Descended from the Cal Bear, renamed because of the Montana Grizzlies, Joe and Josephine have been around for close to fifty years.
Where? Los Angeles, California, headquarters of the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the country.
When? March 23rd, in Columbus, Ohio.
Why? Very solid TLAs. They deserve it.
How? They were an at-large selection.
Surprise? Predicted to finish third in the conference, they ended up in third, three games back of Stanford and Cal.
Record: 25-7 (14-4 Pac-12)
Good wins: Colorado. All right, fine, the overtime win at St. John’s.
Bad losses: Cal State Northridge.
Who’s driving this thing? Cori Close, since 2011. She was last the associate head coach at Florida State.
Extra, Extra! The Los Angeles Times and The Los Angeles Daily News (the latter with a little help from its friends). For all things in the City of Angels, though, I turn to hoopism for the first scoop.
Despite Cori Close’s hair color and the statistical profile of UCLA, I promise not to make any “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” jokes.
Three forwards- redshirt junior Atonye Nyingifa, senior Alyssia Brewer, and senior Markel Walker- lead the way for UCLA, averaging over 10 points and 7 rebounds per game each. But they get there in wildly different ways. Brewer is a bruising post who hunkers down in the paint and makes defenders’ lives a world of pain, while Walker is a slim slasher who cuts through the lane and often gets breaks or finds open teammates on the wing (5.6 assists per game). Nyingifa tends to accumulate her points more stealthily, while opponents are focused on her teammates.
UCLA can play ugly- but on a good day, they can make their opponents play uglier.