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UCLA turns into scary contender with addition of Lauren Betts

UCLA players celebrate their win over Stanford in the 2023 Pac-12 tournament. (Candice Ward/USA TODAY Sports)

Former No. 1 recruit Lauren Betts is transferring to UCLA from Stanford, and the balance of women’s basketball power in California could be shifting with her.

With the transfer decision, the Bruins will have the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects from the 2022 class, with Betts joining Bruins guard Kiki Rice.

Rice made the Pac-12 all-freshman team in 2023, averaging 11.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists en route to UCLA’s first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 2019 — making it one round farther than Stanford, which lost in the second round. UCLA also upset Stanford in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament.

The addition of a 6-foot-7 center in Betts makes UCLA an even bigger threat in the upcoming season, particularly as seniors Charisma Osborne and Camryn Brown have announced they will be staying for a fifth year.

Osborne originally declared the draft but withdrew her name to stay with the Bruins. She has been a major part of the Bruins lineup, averaging 15.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season.

Additionally, the team will add McDonald’s All-American forward Amanda Muse as a highly-touted recruit.