November 17, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: What we’ve learned about Utah, UCLA and the Pac-12 so far

From UCLA and Lauren Betts, to Alissa Pili and Utah, Michelle and Natalie catch you up on all-things Pac-12

On Friday’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, our Pac-12 beat reporter Michelle Smith joins host Natalie Heavren to talk through all the latest updates and happenings in the Pac-12’s final season. The conversation started with UCLA, whose tough non-conference schedule is an attention grabber. The No. 3 Bruins snuck past Princeton, 77–74, at home on Friday before they take on a slate that includes UConn, Arkansas, Florida State and Ohio State.

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“UCLA has a challenging non-conference schedule, it’s just more on the back end of the schedule as you get closer to conference play,” Michelle explained. “The thing that they have that I think is critical, [something] a lot of the PAC 12 teams have, is maturity, particularly in that back court. Charisma Osborne is a fifth year senior, and she leads that team with a really steady hand. She’s a really consistent player for them. She’ll be a WNBA draft pick and having that kind of maturity at your point guard, I think any coach across the country would love to have that.”

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They also discussed Lauren Betts‘ debut with UCLA after her transfer from Stanford in the offseason. After four games, Betts continues to average a double-double of 19.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. This puts her in the top-10 of all Pac-12 players in both categories, per Sports Reference.

“In a way, we were waiting to watch and see, if given the playing time, would [Betts] be the player that made her the number one recruit in the country?” Michelle said. “She’s really doing it for them [right now]. So she’s a player I think we’re going to watch all year and see if getting the playing time, if being the person the go-to player inside, is really going to give her a breakthrough season.”

Then, Michelle and Natalie discussed how Utah has adjusted to a tough loss to Baylor, key players to watch as the non-conference season continues, as well as how Stanford and Colorado can continue the momentum they’ve built so far. Michelle also pointed out a list of key games to put on your schedule, as well as the games she’s most excited for.

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