The UCLA basketball women’s team has been impressive on the road in conference play, but their biggest challenge comes this weekend as the Bruins head to #2 Oregon and #12 Oregon State.
For those that haven’t heard, the UCLA basketball women’s team is a force to be reckoned with. Since finishing the non-conference season 7-5, the Bruins have knocked things up a notch and made their presence felt in Pac-12 play as they currently sport a 9-5 conference record.
That is not an easy thing to do considering the high level of competition that currently resides in the conference. What is even more astonishing is the fact that the Bruins are currently 6-1 on the road against Pac-12 teams, which includes two wins over ranked teams.
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In addition to that, the Bruins were just short of being 7-0 on the road as they gave then-#6 Stanford everything they could handle in their loss at Palo Alto back in January. Though the Bruins got the “L”, they got a “W” for the moral victory.
Just think, this team which lost two superstars in Jordin Canada and Monique Billings, was not expected to do much this season, but here they are, looking to lock up the 4th place spot in the conference which would give them a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.
But that goal is presented with another challenge, especially when looking ahead to their next two opponents.
This weekend will be the toughest for head coach Cori Close and her Bruins as they head north to face two national powerhouses in a road trip from hell. Tonight, the Bruins face Oregon, the #2 team in the nation, and then follow that with a journey up Highway 99 to Corvallis to face #12 Oregon State on Sunday, a team that just beat Oregon 67-62 on Monday in a nail-biter.
Though the Bruins already have two masterful road sweeps under their belt this season, they are going to have to play otherworldly if they are to get their third up in the Pacific Northwest. But even if they do not get the sweep, a split will keep them in contention for 4th place in the standings, but how realistic are those expectations?
This weekend, the up-and-coming Bruins have a chance to make a statement in the Pac-12. If they win, that will speak volumes. But even if they lose both games, especially if they play tough, they will force teams to pay attention to them going forward.
UCLA has not defeated Oregon State since January 5, 2018, and Oregon since January 15, 2017. That timespan increases when you look at the last time UCLA beat them at home. February 19, 2016, was the last time the Bruins got a win in Eugene and it was three years prior when they took down OSU in Corvallis on January 6, 2013. Needless to say, it is quite difficult to come away with a win in the Beaver State.
But the future has not yet been written. Though the past can teach us about what is to come, it does not reveal the results that will occur past this moment.
This weekend, the up-and-coming Bruins have a chance to make a statement in the Pac-12. If they win, that will speak volumes about the direction this program is heading in. But even if they lose both games, especially if they play tough, they will force teams to pay attention to them going forward. The Bruins will force whatever teams they face in the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments to respect what they have done to this point in time.
The UCLA women’s basketball team will not go quietly which is the reason the Bruins are 6-1 on the road. They fight, fight, fight until the very end and despite what challenges lie ahead this weekend, we can expect maximum effort in this road trip from hell.