The UCLA basketball women’s team is going to be deep and loaded with talent during the 2019-20 season, which should make for a very interesting depth chart.
If you have been following Go Joe Bruin, you might have noticed that we have been talking up this UCLA basketball women’s team, and with good reason.
Over the last several seasons, head coach Cori Close has turned the Bruins into contenders and is on the brink of becoming a national power. A bold statement? More like an astute observation based on their current trajectory.
This past season, UCLA opened a lot of eyes as they powered their way to the top of the Pac-12 standings and used a collaborative effort to garner momentum that they carried them into the postseason.
This helped the Bruins to make it to the Sweet 16 where they gave the mighty UCONN one hell of a fight despite eventually falling in the Sweet 16. Though the season ends, the momentum continues.
With the players the Bruins return and the newest additions, UCLA basketball is about to make a big statement next year.
Potential 2019-20 UCLA Women’s Basketball Depth Chart
- PG: Japreece Dean (Sr, 6’1), Ahlana Smith (So, 5’9), Jaden Owens (Fr, 5’9)/Charisma Osborne (Fr, 5’8)
- G: Lindsay Corsaro (R-So, 6’1), Kiara Jefferson (So, 5’9), Camryn Brown (Fr, 5’10)
- G: Natalie Chou (R-Jr, 6’1), Chantel Horvat (Jr, 6’1), Kayla Owens (R-So, 6’1)
- F: Michaela Onyenwere (Jr, 6’0), Lauryn Miller (Jr, 6’1)
- F: Brynn Masikewich (Fr, 6’3), Ally Rosenblum (Sr, 6’4), Shayley Harris (So, 6’6)
Unlike men’s basketball, women’s basketball is allowed 15 scholarships rather than 13 and Close has used them all. This means that UCLA will potentially be three-deep at each position, but because of development, positional needs, and any other issues that might come up, we could see several different lineups next year. But for now, I have developed this depth chart just to give a snapshot of what is in UCLA’s arsenal for next year.
The biggest get for the Bruins was a player they already had. As the regular season was winding down, UCLA got word that Japreece Dean was awarded an extra year of eligibility. This was monumental news because (1) the Bruins will have their returning floor general back and (2) Dean had been playing some of the best basketball of the season heading into the postseason.
But this only adds to the point guard pool as the Bruins will have three other point guards on the roster next season. This is a good problem. Though there might be a log jam, the Bruins will have solid ball handlers for next year and seasons beyond. Ahlana Smith could be the immediate backup as she has been in the system for a year. Though she did not play a lot of minutes, she saw time on the court in 32 of 35 games. But she is going to get pushed as she has not one, but two freshmen looking to get minutes. Both freshmen Jaden Owens and Charisma Osborne are very talented guards who are fast and have no fear when the attack the offense.
But the depth does not stop there as the guard situation is heaven sent. Lindsay Corsaro was not only one of the top freshmen in the Pac-12 last season, but she made her mark in several tournament games. With Kennedy Burke moving on, Corsaro could be the Bruin to bring extra firepower as a scorer. She will be deadly on the wings with Baylor transfer Natalie Chou who finally gets to don the blue and gold. Chou is a solid shooting guard who led the Big XII in three-point shooting percentage during the 2017-18 season and will help the shooting situation.
Though the Bruins want to become more of a threat from downtown, it is imperative that they have consistent mid-range shooters. Chantel Horvat will help contribute to that as she has proven to be a consistent scorer. She was injured during the season and didn’t play much, but should be back and better than ever.
Kiara Jefferson and Kayla Owens did not see a lot of time on the court last season but will continue to develop. If both of these Bruins can improve their shot, they should slowly see more playing time. Freshman Camryn Brown will also bring a shooter’s touch as she can be deadly from mid-range.
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Now to the frontcourt where Michael Onyenwere will continue her dominance. Last season, she stepped up and became the leading scorer as she became very reliable under the basket. She also became very proficient in bringing down offensive rebounds. Now if it was my decision, I would pair her with freshman Brynn Masikewich who has the size to create space and dominate the paint, but what is even better is that her passing skills are top notch and can be very effective in transition with outlet passes.
If the Bruins go to a smaller lineup, which I can see Close doing quite often, Lauryn Miller could be a fourth guard or the equivalent of a “stretch four”. Miller can be effective on the offensive end, but her defense is what the Bruins need to help put the clamp down on their opponents.
UCLA has some height on this team and could be a very dominant force around the rim. The Bruins lost Ally Rosenblum to injury last season, but if she can come back healthy that will be huge for the Bruins. The same goes for Shayley Harris who played sparingly last season. At 6’6, Harris is the tallest Bruin on the team and if she can develop her footwork and vision, she can be a very deadly weapon down low.
It is incredible what Cori Close has created. UCLA is not only going to be a major force in women’ s college basketball for next season but with the depth and the way recruiting has been going, Close will have the Bruins becoming a major force in the next several years.