Despite the loss of three players, the women’s UCLA basketball team makes ESPN’s way-too-early Top 25 rankings.
The women’s UCLA basketball team may be losing three key players, but they have enough in the cupboard to continue being relevant in the world of women’s college basketball, at least according to ESPN.
It has become somewhat of a tradition to put out way-too-early Top 25 lists as soon as a season ends. One reason is to momentarily quench our thirst for the sport, but also to give an early outlook at how the next season will play out.
For the Bruins, despite the loss of Jordin Canada, Monique Billings and Kelli Hayes, and after finishing last season ranked #7 in the final AP Poll, ESPN believes the Bruins have enough in the cupboard to remain as one of the top teams in the nation a they come in at #21 in their early Top 25.
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This past season, head coach Cori Close assembled what was arguably her best team in her tenure. The Bruins were predicted to win the Pac-12, and though they fell short of that goal, they made history as they returned to the Elite 8 for the first time since 1999.
Part of this had to do with the way the team played as a whole. The Bruins were stellar with their senior leaders, but their youth showed a lot of promise.
Part of the reason ESPN says the Bruins stay relevant is because, “the play of Japreece Dean in the NCAA tournament gave hope that the blow of losing Canada will be softened. Lajahna Drummer and Kennedy Burke, a pair of 6-1 forwards, are two more seniors Close will have to build around.”
Dean and Drummer, along with this past season’s third leading scorer Burke, are going to be the leaders next season as they try to fill the shoes of Canada and Billings, but they are not alone as there is a lot of young talent on this team.
Close has been hitting the recruiting trail hard and the product of the last two classes will help keep the Bruins elite for seasons to come. Go Bruins!