It might just take a
play on words for the Bruins to put last week's loss to USC behind them.
Scratch that - ask coach
Cori Close, and it's a certainty that the only way her team can rebound this
week is to, well, rebound.
"We have to
rebound, that's the bottom line," Close said. "This team is best when
we can use our versatility and attack before the defense sets its rotations,
but we can't do that until we get rebounds and secure that end of the
The crashing of the boards will be just one of several aspects to look out for this week, with UCLA hosting Oregon State tonight at 7 p.m. at the John Wooden Center, followed by an afternoon tilt against Oregon on Saturday.
While rebounding continues to be one of the coaching staff's primary preaching points this season, it was made clear against USC that the Bruins will need to generate more offense. And according to Close, it's a situation that has been duly noted.
"Oregon State plays a lot of zone, and they're going to try and play off of Rhema (Gardner) and Mariah (Williams)," Close said. "We've been working on how to put Mariah and Rhema in positions where they can score because I expect Oregon State to really try and make our role players make plays."
Speaking of the opposition, the Beavers come into Westwood boasting the talents of one Patricia Bright, who leads the conference in blocked shots (3.76 swats per game). But be that as it may, Bright's interior presence won't exactly be top priority.
"Bright is a a great player and does her job really well, but I'm more worried about stopping their three-point shots and keeping them out of the lane," Close said. "If she starts to alter the game with her shot-blocking ability, we'll move her around and do some things to limit that factor."
This week figures to provide a clearer perspective of where exactly the Bruins stand in a rather convoluted Pac-12 battle; Stanford has clearly separated itself from the pack with a 6-0 conference record, but as it stands, UCLA (2-3) remains just two games behind second-place USC (4-1), with four other teams tied with the Bruins for fifth place.
In the end, these are two very winnable games for the blue and gold, and two wins keep the Bruins in the thick of the conference race.