UCLA women pull out 67-45 win over Sacramento State – KESQ

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After arriving at UCLA as the signature signing of an acclaimed freshman class, Kiki Rice has found another level of her game at the biggest moment of the year.

The point guard scored 15 points as the fourth-seeded Bruins posted a 67-45 victory over No. 13 seed Sacramento State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night.

Rice scored seven points in the first four minutes as UCLA jumped out to a 16-2 lead on the back of a 14-0 run. He scored 10 in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer with 2:40 remaining that extended the Bruins’ lead to 23-6.

“I definitely have a lot of confidence going into the tournament,” said Rice, who is averaging 12.2 points per game this season but 14.7 in the last six games.

“I think throughout the season my confidence has gone up. The more experience I gained and in knowing what my team needs. I had some lanes open early and had some mismatches.”

Emily Bessoir added 14 points and Charisma Osborne had 11 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Bruins (26-9), who will play fifth-seeded Oklahoma on Monday with the winner advancing to the Greenville 1 Regional.

“I think we played with very good preparation and focus,” said coach Cori Close. “We knew that Sacramento State was a really lethal offensive team, and I think keeping them to four 3-pointers was really important.”

Isnelle Natabou had 16 points and eight rebounds for Sacramento State (25-8). Kahlaijah Dean scored 11, but went 3-for-19 from the field.

UCLA also had a 17-point lead at halftime and went as far as 24 late in the fourth quarter.

“The first quarter got away from us. We couldn’t fully recover,” Sacramento State coach Mark Campbell said. “UCLA didn’t surprise us. We were prepared, they did nothing different”.

Neither team shot well: UCLA shot 29-of-70 while Sacramento State shot 17-of-50. The Bruins outrebounded the Hornets by 15 and held a 34-24 advantage in points in the paint.


Sacramento State: The Hornets made their first tournament appearance just two years after going 3-22. They won the Big Sky Tournament after finishing in a three-way tie for the regular season crown.

“It’s unbelievable. Development came faster than I would have imagined, but we’re not going back,” said Campbell, who has been the coach for two seasons. “It put us on the map and validated what we’re doing.”

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.


It will be the first meeting between UCLA and Oklahoma since November 2013. They met 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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