The Bruins are headed to the Elite Eight after defeating the Texas Longhorns, 84-75, tonight in Kansas City.
UCLA controlled the tempo of this game from the get-go by jumping out to a 12-6 lead with 2:41 left in the first quarter. But, the Longhorns weren’t going to go away that easily and Texas responded with a 5-0 run to pull within one with just over a minute to go in the first.
But, in that last minute, the Bruins responded big time with an 7-0 run of their own to open the lead up to 8 after one.
UCLA was able to stretch their lead to double digits in the second. Monique Billings hit a layup with 6:29 to go to put the Bruins up by 10, 27-17. Three minutes later, Lajahna Drummer hit a jumper to give UCLA their biggest lead of the night to that point, 33-22 and the Bruins went into the locker room at halftime with an eight point lead, 39-31.
After the break, the Longhorns came out and made an immediate 9-0 run to take a 40-39 lead. While Jordin Canada got the lead back for UCLA with a three-pointer, Texas scored 5 more to go up 45-42, giving them a 14-3 run in the first three minutes of the half.
The Bruins weren’t going to roll over for the Longhorns and responded with a 12-2 run of their own to take a 54-47 lead with just over two and a half to play in the quarter. By the end of the quarter, UCLA had the lead back to 10 points, 59-49.
The teams battled through the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but Kennedy Burke gave UCLA their biggest lead of the game, 68-56, with 6:59 left.
Over the next five minutes, Texas had one last try left in them and managed to cut UCLA’s lead to just four points with 1:55 to go. That’s when Burke and Canada combined to score the next six points as UCLA led by ten with 41 seconds left. That was all she wrote and the Bruins are heading to an Elite Eight matchup against Mississippi State with an 84-75 win over the Longhorns.
UCLA outrebounded Texas 38-34 in this game which was key. They also had 12 steals.
Jordin Canada led all scorers with 22 points, 20 of which came in the second half. She added 8 assists. Monique Billings added 17 points with 8 rebounds and Kennedy Burke had 15 points.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I failed to metion that Cori Close has now accomplished something at UCLA that men’s basketball coach Steve Alford has never done in his career. She’s made the Elite Eight.
Sunday’s Elite Eight tipoff is set for 4:30 pm PT on ESPN.
Go Bruins! Beat the Bulldogs and get to the Final Four!