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Three things to know for women’s basketball at UCLA



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Sophomore guard Jaelynn Penn goes in for a layup against Milwaukee on Nov. 7 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Penn is averaging 12.3 points per game this season. Alexis Oser Buy Photos

The nonconference wins keep coming for IU women’s basketball as it improved its record to 6-0 Wednesday at Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The team will travel to the West Coast on Sunday as it looks for another win, this time at UCLA. The Bruins enter the match with a 3-4 record that includes a three-game losing streak.

Here are three things to know for the matchup.

UCLA should be glad to be home.

UCLA spent Thanksgiving weekend participating in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Slam, which meant three games on a neutral court. 

The Bruins are 3-0 at home, but they have not played in their arena since Nov. 8, so the Hoosiers can expect to face a team excited to be back home. 

Of the three games UCLA played in the Virgin Islands, all were on back-to-back-to-back nights. However, UCLA will have had a full week away from competitive play when tipoff comes Sunday. IU, on the other hand, will have traveled more than 4,000 miles in the last week.

Although IU will have had three full days away from play come Sunday, the 1 p.m. PST tipoff could pose issues for the team.

Bendu Yeaney looks forward to going west.

Following a win against Northern Illinois University on Nov. 25, sophomore Bendu Yeaney had a smile run across her face as the Portland, Oregon, native thought about going to the West Coast.

“I love going back to the West Coast, especially now that we’re playing UCLA,” Yeaney said after the win against NIU. “I’ve got a couple of friends that play on the team, friends that go to school there, friends that live in L.A. My family is flying down, so it’s going to be a good time.”

Yeaney has been important for IU on the defensive side of the ball, as she’s frequently gone up against the opposing team’s best scorer.

Against Wake Forest, she did allow senior forward Elisa Penna to score 22 points, but IU Coach Teri Moren said she was happy with Yeaney’s ability to make the points tough to earn.

The matchup with UCLA will be IU’s first game in California since the team went 1-1 in the Hilton Concord Classic a year ago.

It was also be the conclusion of the team’s two-game road trip that began with the win at Wake Forest. 

Ali Patberg and Jaelynn Penn are coming off career highs.

Against Wake Forest, junior Ali Patberg and sophomore Jaelynn Penn had 30 and 25 points, respectively. 

Patberg’s total set a career high, while Penn matched her career high. Behind the duo’s 55 points, IU was able to battle past a tough defensive night.

The 73 points allowed to Wake Forest tied the most IU has given up in a game this year. But, the 87 points IU scored were the second-most IU has had in a game this season.

Beyond the points column, Patberg was able to help IU defensively by collecting a season-high four steals. She also added four assists while shooting 11-11 from the free throw line.

Patberg improved her team-leading scoring average to 17.8 points per game, but Penn’s night could be bigger in the long-term.

Battling through an ankle injury most of the season, Penn averaged just more than 10 points per game entering the Wake Forest matchup. She was also shooting below 40 percent from the field, but after the Wake Forest game, her averages are now at 12.3 points and 43.5 percent shooting.

As the highest leading scorer returning from last season, Penn is trending in the right direction with double-digit performances in the last four games.

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