December 27, 2022 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Cori Close’s UCLA Bruins are surging

Michelle and coach Cori Close chat about UCLA's hot start — ranking and the challenge of the Pac-12 schedule

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. This episode features host Michelle Smith and UCLA head coach Cori Close discussing all things Bruins. That includes a hot 12-1 start to the season, No. 10 ranking and the challenge of the Pac-12 schedule.

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Coach Cori Close talks about her team’s ranking so far in the season:

“Yeah, I really tried not to put too much stock in what the ranking says, but I am really proud of our growth. I think the biggest thing for me was, I just needed to see our young ones in different pressurized scenarios. And what I was pleasantly surprised about is the poise in which they showed. I remember thinking, okay, we beat South Dakota State; we were really ready for that one because they beat us twice last year. And they were the NIT champions, a very well-coached team. And then we had Tennessee; at that time, they were ranked 11th in the country.

They had their full squad for the first time and I was like, I’m gonna learn a lot about my group on this one. And I was so impressed with their poise and how different freshmen stepped up in key moments. So I think I’m a little bit surprised at their competitive poise and how they’ve handled the pressure.”

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Cori Close talks about the South Carolina game and how her team is playing right now:

“Yeah, I think that I liked again the poise that we played with. I do not think our group went in there being happy to play clubs like they went in there to compete to win and I think that shows a lot about the mentality of our young group. And not only do we have five freshmen, but we have four others that weren’t playing on the roster last year. Charisma Osborne is the only one and played a full year and she was actually on one leg for practically half of the year last year. So this is like a brand new team.

And we’re trying to learn how to mold together to be this picture that is better collectively than we could ever be individually and that takes a lot of time. And I was really impressed with how our team went in there with the belief they had, the commitment they had to the scouting report and just the confidence in which we played with.”

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Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

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