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UCLA Advances to Second Round With Win Over American, 71-60

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The Bruins will face the winner of Iowa vs. Creighton on Monday.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Connecticut at UCLA
Monique Billings put the Bruins ahead for good with a bucket in the first quarter.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t usually complain about the announcers on a telecast, but Tiffany Greene and Chiney Ogwumike made it really hard to watch today’s NCAA Women’s Tournament game between UCLA and American.

I’m not sure if that’s because they were gushing over American as much as they were, despite the fact that UCLA easily won today’s game, or what, but the announcers were so bad I just hit mute for most of the second half and I almost never do that.

One last note about the announcers: They kept talking about how it looked like American had been in the Tournament before, in reference to the poise that they thought the Eagles were showing, even though they were down by double digits late in the second half. If these two had done their homework, they would have known that American has won the Patriot League title twice in the past four years. So, yeah, they have been there before.

As far as the game itself goes, it wasn’t really much of a contest.

Sure, American had the lead for a good portion of the first quarter, but, once Jordin Canada tied the game at 9-9 with 4:20 left in the first, it was all Bruins. Monique Billings gave the Bruins an 11-9 lead on the Bruins’ next possession. That bucket was the start of an 18-2 run by the Bruins to end the first quarter and UCLA led 27-12 heading into the second quarter.

UCLA started the second quarter right where the left off in the first as Jordin Canada nailed a three to give the Bruins an 18-point lead. The Eagles would narrow the lead to just 10 points with 6:25 left in the half, but the Bruins wouldn’t let them get any closer than that and UCLA led 38-25 at the half.

The Eagles started strong with an 8-1 run after the break that cut the Bruins’ lead to just six points, 39-33. The Eagles did continue to battle and managed to get within 4 points with 4:32 to go in the third quarter, but an 11-4 Bruin run stretched UCLA’s lead back to 12 points, 57-45 with just 1:38 left in the third. The Eagles scored the final points of the quarter and UCLA led by nine, 57-48, after three.

The Bruins kept American at bay in the fourth. The Eagles got as close as seven points down with just under two minutes to play, but, then, they ran out of gas while UCLA scored the final four points of the game to come away with the win.

Billings led the Bruins with 20 points and added 10 rebounds to earn the double-double. Meanwhile, Canada also had a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists. Kennedy Burke was the third Bruins in double digits with 15 points.

Next up, the Bruins will face the winner of this afternoon’s game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Creighton Blue Jays on Monday.


Go Bruins!!!