If I told you at the beginning of the basketball season that a UCLA Basketball team would be going to the Elite Eight this year, you probably would have assumed that I meant the men’s basketball team and you may have even questioned how that would happen.
Meanwhile, the UCLA Women’s Basketball team completed a very good year. They’ve lost just seven games to date and three of those losses were to the Oregon Ducks.
The good news is that the Bruins are not playing the Ducks for a fourth time today. The bad news is that they will be facing the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who have lost just one game all season. It’s not called the Elite Eight for nothing, after all.
Their lone loss came at the hands of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC Championship Game, even though the Bulldogs won the only regular season matchup between the teams.
The Bulldogs are led by All-American Teaira McCowan, who is averaging 18.0 ppg and 13.4 rebounds per game. She is joined by Victoria Vivians, who average 19.5 ppg. Senior guard Morgan William leads to team with 4.6 assists per game.
Thankfully for the Bruins, the key to winning today may be the same as Friday’s game against Texas, where controlling the boards helped them win. South Carolina outrebounded the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship. So, that was certainly a factor in their lone loss. The other issue the Bulldogs had in that game was that they weren’t hitting their shots.
Obviously, UCLA can’t control that directly, although forcing them to take bad shots can help. So, UCLA’s best way to win may be to turn it into a track meet and control the boards, just like they did against the Longhorns.
This is your UCLA Bruins vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Elite Eight open thread.