UCLA women race to a 67-45 win over Sacramento State
LOS ANGELES (AP) — After arriving at UCLA as a freshman signing, Keke Rice has found another level of her game at the hottest time of the year.
Base scored 15 points as the fourth-seeded Bruins led to a 67-45 win over 13-seed Sacramento State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night.
Rice had seven points in the first four minutes as UCLA jumped out to a 16-2 lead on the strength of a 14-0 lead. She scored 10 points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer with 2:40 remaining that extended the Bruins´ advantage to 23-6.
“I certainly have great confidence in participating in the tournament this season, but 14.7 points in the last six games,” said Rice, who has averaged 12.2 points per game this season but has great confidence in participating in the tournament.
“I think my confidence has increased throughout the season. The more experience I have and the more knowledge my team needs. I had some lanes open early on and I had a bit of a mismatch.”
Emily Bisoire added 14 points while Charisma Osborne had 11 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Boynes (26-9), who will face fifth-seeded Oklahoma on Monday with the winner advancing to the Greenville Regional 1.
“I thought we played really good preparation and focus,” said coach Corey Close. “We knew that Sacramento State was a really deadly offensive team, and I thought that they kept four three-pointers and that was really important.”
Esnel Ntabo scored 16 points and eight rebounds for Sacramento State (25-8). Khalija Dean scored 11 points, but was 3 of 19 from the field.
UCLA also led by 17 points in the first half and went up by as much as 24 late in the fourth quarter.
“The first quarter took us away. We just couldn’t fully recover,” said Sacramento State coach Mark Campbell. “UCLA didn’t surprise us. We were prepared—they didn’t do anything different.”
Neither team shot well: UCLA was 29-of-70 while Sacramento State scored 17-for-50. The Bruins outpaced the Hornets by 15 and had a 34-24 point in the paint.
The Big Picture
Sacramento State: The Hornets made their championship debut just two years later with a 3-22 win. They won the Big Sky championship after finishing in a three-way tie for the regular season crown.
“It’s unbelievable. The development has come faster than I expected it to be, but we’re not going backwards,” said Campbell, who was coach for two seasons. “It put us on the map and gave us power over what we do.”
UCLA: The Bruins have won all seven first-round games in Close’s 12 seasons as coach. They are looking to make it to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019.
This will be the first meeting between UCLA and Oklahoma since November 2013. They faced each other in the second round of the tournament in 2013, with the Sooners winning 85-72.
AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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