Connecticut’s Napheesa Collier, right, pulls down a defense rebound against UCLA’s Jordin Canada, left, during the first half of a regional semifinal game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Bridgeport, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
A record-setting performance from Jordin Canada wasn’t enough for UCLA to fend off No. 1 Connecticut on Saturday.
UConn’s massive winning streak consumed another victim and grew to 110 as the Huskies took down the Bruins 86-71 in the Sweet 16 in Bridgeport, Conn.
Canada passed Mary Hegarty for the UCLA record for assists in a season, dishing out 11 and bringing her season total to 242. The junior guard recorded her third straight double-double, adding 20 points.
Monique Billings had another double-double for the Bruins (25-9) with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
“Jordin and Monique, they sort of hold the torch,” head coach Cori Close told reporters. “They know that they have to show up every single day, that we are playing around them. They may be the focal point, but you need every single person.” Continue reading “UConn ends UCLA’s season in Sweet 16” »
UCLA, fresh off a 75-43 dismantling of Texas A&M on Monday, face No. 1 UConn in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship on Saturday in Bridgeport, Conn. (Scott Varley/Staff Photographer)
When she saw that UCLA and shared a regional with No. 1 seed Connecticut, senior Kari Korver was admittedly not excited. That only lasted a few seconds though.
Although the undefeated Huskies seem to be a juggernaut, with its 109-game winning streak and legendary coach, the Bruins aren’t shying away from the challenge.
“There’s nothing you can do about it, it’s out of your control,” Korver said of being in UConn’s regional. “I actually feel like it’s going to be a really fun test, it’s going to be really cool.”
Steve Alford confirmed Friday night that he is not leaving for Indiana.
Steve Alford is staying at UCLA, according to multiple reports. Amid speculation the UCLA coach would leave to fill alma mater Indiana’s opening, Alford dismissed the notion Friday night after the Bruins’ loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
He later told reporters that he was “100 percent committed” to UCLA, even going to far as to tell ESPN “I am not going to talk to Indiana.” But Alford wasn’t absolutely definitive at the podium following the game.
“I’m at UCLA,” Alford said. “I don’t know a lot of people that want to leave UCLA. This is a pretty special place.”
Alford cited the No. 2 recruiting class in the country UCLA signed this year and the Mo Ostin Basketball Center, UCLA’s new practice facility set complete construction before next season.
“I’ve worked awfully hard to be a part of that and I want to see that through,” Alford said. “And we’ve got some special kids that are coming to join us. So, I’m very, very happy where I’m at and hopefully that will continue.”
Why Alford waited until after UCLA’s loss to confirm the he isn’t leaving for Indiana is curious.
He was first asked about the opening on March 16, the eve of the Bruins’ NCAA tournament opener. Alford was vague, stating that he loved UCLA, but choosing his words carefully so as not to deny a potential departure for Indiana.
Immediately following UCLA’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky Friday night, Lonzo Ball announced he would declare for the 2017 NBA draft.
“That was my final game at UCLA,” he said. “I appreciate all the fans.”
LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s father, maintained before the season even began that his oldest son would only play one season at UCLA. The alacrity with which the Bruins All-America point guard declared his decision was probably an indication Lonzo knew all along.
“I have so many memories, I can’t tell you all,” Ball said. “Started in Australia and at the end of the day, this is a family. We’ll be together for life and I’ve built relationships for life.”
Ball averaged 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and a nation-leading 7.6 assists during his freshman season, the only player in college basketball to achieve such numbers.