UCLA Women’s Basketball Guards Duo Selected for Preseason Award Watchlists
After recently being ranked in the AP’s Top 25, two Bruins have been selected to be part of the preseason awards watchlists honoring the best players in every position on the field.
The UCLA No.20 girls’ basketball had a new Bruin, transfer point guard Gina Conti, and now third-year shooting guard Charisma Osborne named on the rosters for their respective positions this week. The five awards, which began to be awarded together in 2018, are presented annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
Conti is entering his freshman year at UCLA after spending his previous four and three years as a starter at Wake Forest. Now a graduate student, Conti will come forward as a Bruin by being chosen as one of 20 names for the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year award. This is the first time she has been nominated on the Watchlist for the Lieberman Award.
In her last season with the Deacons, Conti was a second-team All-ACC player averaging 13.8 points and 4.6 assists per game. She helped her team make it to the NCAA tournament, but was eliminated by Oklahoma State in the first round. Playing 35.3 minutes per game in 2020-21, Conti will likely have a little less time on the court with the Bruins, but she should still have a chance to stay on the roster as the season progresses.
Along with Conti, two other Pac-12 players were on the roster with Oregon point guard Te-Hina Pao Pao and Utah point guard Dru Gylten being named. On December 11, reigning Liebermann Award winner Paige Bueckers will face Conti when the Bruins face No.1 UConn in Newark, New Jersey.
Osborne, meanwhile, was nominated for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year Award. This is the second time the junior has been named on the award watch list honoring former Bruin who hangs her number 15 at the Pauley Pavilion.
Last year, Osborne carried much of the workload for a Bruins lineup that lacked depth. Average of 17.0 points per game, she was the second-highest scorer just behind Michaela Onyenwere in last year’s squad. At the end of the season, Osborne was selected for both the first team and the Pac-12 defensive team. Now, in 2021, Osborne will compete to be honored again and this time perhaps to win the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award this time around.
Three other Pac-12 members were named to the roster along with Osborne. Arizona point guard Taylor Chavez, Stanford point guard Lexie Hull and Washington State point guard Charlisse Leger-Walker made the cut. These four will go head-to-head to take the prize back to the PAC-12 after former Arizona playmaker Aari McDonald claimed victory in 2019-20.
Starting Friday, Bruin fans can vote online to try to send Conti and Osborne to the next rounds of their respective rewards.
Read more stories from UCLA: UCLA Bruins on Sports Illustrated
Read more stories about UCLA women’s basketball: UCLA Women’s Basketball on Sports Illustrated