The #6 UCLA basketball women’s team is still dancing as they took down #3 Maryland behind big games from Japreece Dean, Kennedy Burke, and Michaela Onyenwere who had a career-high 30 points to lead the Bruins into the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year.
Something is Bruin in the NCAA Tournament. Again. It should be no surprise that UCLA basketball head coach Cori Close and her Bruins are still dancing (literally) after knocking off Maryland in the Round of 32.
We have been telling you that this team has been coming together at just the right time and they proved that on Monday night as they took down Maryland on their home floor (the highest ranking team of the first and second round hosts the sub-bracket).
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UCLA had put together 40 hard-fought minutes of some of the most entertaining yet nail-biting basketball in this opening weekend. This game had 11 ties and 20 lead changes with UCLA claiming the largest lead of the game at 8 in the second quarter.
The Bruins got into a spot of trouble shortly after that as Michaela Onyenwere had to sit with just over three minutes to halftime as she got her second foul of the game. Fortunately, the Bruins kept the 44-40 lead at the break.
Maryland was not going away. They responded by starting the third quarter on a 7-2 run to take the 47-44 lead. The Bruins and Terps were trading blows for most of the quarter until Maryland made a late push to close out the 3rd with a 71-66 lead.
UCLA stepped up in a big way during the last frame as they outscored the Terps 19-9. Onyenwere led the charge as she made key shots in the last ten minutes, adding to her 30 points on 12/23 shooting. She also cleaned up around the boards as she had 8 rebounds, six of which were offensive. For the game, UCLA had 27 offensive rebounds (out of 47 total) which led to 27 second-chance points.
Lajahna Drummer also helped on the glass as she pulled down 8 offensive and 4 defensive boards. She was also three points away from a double-double as she finished with 7.
Although one Bruin did get a double-double as Kennedy Burke put up 19 points and brought down 11 rebounds. The double-digit scoring was rounded out by Japreece Dean who had 22 to go with her 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Bruins are riding a very powerful wave at the moment, but it will be tested in the next round when they take on #2 UCONN who has beaten UCLA twice in the last two years. The women’s basketball powerhouse may be a bit down this year, but they are still formidable and will be a huge hurdle to climb if they want to get to their second consecutive Elite Eight.
But that can wait. Right now, if only for a little while, the UCLA women’s basketball can celebrate. Go Bruins!