NCAAW: UCLA’s leading reloader, Charisma Osborne builds the WNBA Draft

The UCLA Bruins They are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2021-22 season, one of them being low-lighted due to a slew of injuries, inconsistent defense, and failing to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Coach Corey Close described As the toughest season of her career, and going into the 2022-23 season, she preaches to her team to “learn from every circumstance.”

So far, so good. Led by a senior guard Charisma OsborneThe Bruins have started 5-0, most recently upsetting the No. 11 Tennessee Lady Vols and building their case for re-entry. News agency Top 25 rankings.

The 5-foot-9 Osborne has made a name for himself in the Pac-12 as one of UCLA’s most consistent players in recent years, especially during the upheaval of the program’s pre-season. While Osborne’s closeness to former Bruin Jordin Canada initially put her on the map for college basketball fans (both players attended Windward School in Los Angeles), she quickly carved out a niche of her own, drawing public praise From Close for her scoring from three and defending on the ball early in her senior season.

Now a senior, it’s up to Osborne to lead the Bruins back to competition in the fiercely competitive Pac-12. If UCLA’s early-season success is to be believed, the Bruins are right back in the thick of the season, while Osborne herself has a lot to gain from leading a rejuvenated program – especially WNBA Coaches and general managers place college guards on their draft boards.

Honors and Statistics

Osborne was ranked by ESPN’s Hoop Gurlz as the 22nd overall recruit in the 2000s Class of 2019 And No. 5 among point guards. She was named a McDonald’s All-American as a high school freshman, as well as an All-American honoree by MaxPreps and the WBCA.

Osborn was a UCLA starter as a freshman and played alongside future WNBA teammates Michaela Onyenwere and Japreece Dean, averaging 12.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game and earning the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. Upon Dean’s graduation in 2020, Osborne became a starting point guard at UCLA, leading the team in both scoring (16.6 points) and assists (3.8) as a sophomore and junior; She was named both seasons to the All-Pac-12 Team and also earned Pac-12 All-Defense honors as a sophomore.

Internationally, Osbourne has won a gold medal as a member of the Team USA In the FIBA ​​U-17 World Cup 2018, tournament along with others Big name players Like Alia Boston, Paige Bakers, Izzie Food, and Cameron Brink. Recently, she participated in the trials for the USA team ahead of the U-19 World Cup 2019.

Osborne’s record going as a senior

Troy v. University of California

Osborne is off to a great start to her senior season, especially when it comes to two-point scoring efficiency.
Photo by Catherine Lutzi/Getty Images

Osborne’s stats over her first three seasons at UCLA reflect a significant change in her role from offensive secondary and third-choice option as a freshman to the leading scorer and shot creator as a sophomore and junior, and while there’s still a lot on her plate during her senior campaign, she’s about to be She’s having her best season yet — one that could catapult her into first-round draft discussion next spring.

Although it’s still very early in the 2022-23 NCAA season (four games, to be exact), Osborne is posting career-highs in several statistical categories. for every Its stats hop, averaged 22.4 points per game on shooting 50.6% from the field, including 63% from two-point range; Scoring efficiency, in particular, saw a significant increase from Osborne’s previous two seasons, when they were 37.8 percent and 38.6 percent, respectively.

The huge jump in Osborne’s recording efficiency can be attributed to a small sample size and relatively low level of competitiveness, but there is another important factor at play: the additions of Kiki Rice and Gina Conti. Rice, the No. 2 recruit overall at Class of 2022And the Contewho led Wake Forest In assisting average for three consecutive seasons before moving to UCLA (and which he missed the entire 2021-22 season with a foot injury), he gave the Bruins a one-two punch on base and a level of depth they haven’t had in this position in many years.

Having two dedicated ball handlers has allowed UCLA to distance Osborne from basketball and make it work in more space than in previous seasons, and the early returns for this strategy are encouraging, to say the least. In a recent 29-point performance against Troy, Osborne scored a number of ways — fastball breaking drills, mid-range jumpers, three-point throws, and even from the high post on the horns set — and he did it with a level of ease that was hard to come by. it last season.

Highlights: Charisma Osborne scored 29 points vs. Troy

Again, it’s unrealistic to expect Osborne to shoot this well throughout her senior season (although one could argue that her 3-point shooting is due to the excess; she’s hovered around 33 percent on long balls in her career, but more Frequent pick-and-take opportunities can help increase that number), but the context of her performance early in the season will give WNBA coaches and general managers something to consider on draft day. We’ve seen Osborne pull down lesser-than-important UCLA teams at the expense of some of their own stats, which may have diminished player quality. It’s now showing what it can do in a stronger attacking ecosystem focused on dribbling and passing; Osborne has been deep in her scoring bag so far as a senior, and if she can continue to show her playmaking chops from time to time as the season goes on, she’ll make a name for herself in the class that will be looking for guards worthy of first-round selection.

Watch her play

The Bruins don’t have many nationally televised games on a program This season, with the February 20 game vs Stanford Cardinal (ESPN2) is their only chance for a national audience. The Bruins went 2-4 against the Cardinals during Osborne’s collegiate career. I recently scored 12 points and two steals against them again February 3, 2022. Maybe UCLA needs more of it this time around.

The Bruins will also face the defending champions South Carolina Gamecocks on November 29 in a game scheduled – for now – to be broadcast on the SEC Network. The Gamecocks’ fearsome inside defense will be a good challenge for Osborne, as will her one-on-one showdown against fellow Class of 2023 Zia Cooke.

All stats and team records for the 2022-23 NCAA season current through November 20, 2022.

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