Short-handed Bruins add early enrollee Dominique Darius to active roster
Reinforcements are coming for UCLA women’s basketball.
With two-thirds of their freshman class still stuck in limbo due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Bruins added guard Dominique Darius to their roster Monday as an early enrollee. The 5-foot-9 guard, who won a New Jersey state title in high school, signed her national letter of intent Nov. 13 and will travel with the Bruins for their next game at Oregon on Jan. 3.
“Dominique is the total package — athletic, versatile, great leader, competitive, driven, high character, and has a high basketball IQ,” UCLA coach Cori Close said in a statement. “Athletically, she is ready right now. It will just be a matter of how much she can take in with the crash course we are giving her from the mental side.”
The No. 10 Bruins (5-2) need Darius, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, to fill in immediately with Australian freshmen Izzy Anstey and Gemma Potter unable to join the team due to pandemic travel restrictions and Canadian sophomore Brynn Masikewich still rehabbing an injury in her home country. The Bruins had just eight scholarship players available to start the season and were down to seven in their 61-49 loss to No. 1 Stanford on Dec. 21 when Chantel Horvat sat out with an ankle injury.
Darius led Blair Academy (New Jersey) to a state title in 2020. She is the 26th overall recruit on ESPN’s recruiting rankings for the 2021 class. During the 2019-2020 season, Darius scored 15.8 points per game as Blair Academy went 26-5 overall.
International athletes at UCLA and Loyola Marymount can’t enter the U.S. because of coronavirus restrictions. They’re looking for help from the legal system.
A lawsuit is still pending for Anstey, Potter and more than a dozen other international freshman athletes at UCLA who are suing to gain entrance to the country in order to join their teams. There is no timetable for Masikewich’s return.
“I am sad for Gemma and Izzy that Dominique is beating them here,” Close said. “We recruited them for two-plus years; they were two of the most heavily [recruited] international student athletes in the world, and they chose UCLA. We were thrilled, and they were projected to be major impact players for us this year. You can imagine how hard this is for them to have a 2021 recruit come to UCLA before them.”
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