UCLA Pro Day: Jayon Brown, Eddie Vanderdoes, Takkarist McKinley

Linebacker Jayon Brown talks about UCLA’s Pro Day and improving on his 40-yard dash.

Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes talks about dropping nearly 40 pounds since last summer, his health and his path to the NFL.

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley talks about his recent shoulder surgery, watching Pro Day from the sideline and getting ready for the NFL Draft.

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UCLA women’s basketball advances to Sweet 16

UCLA bench erupts after a Kari Korver 3-pointer in Westwood, CA on Monday, March 20, 2017. UCLA vs Texas A&M in the 2nd round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

The UCLA women’s basketball team’s reward for two dominating home wins to open the NCAA Tournament? A cross-country trip to face No. 1 Connecticut.

The Bruins completed a perfect home schedule at Pauley Pavilion on Monday, stretching their home unbeaten streak to 29 games with an second-round 75-43 drubbing over Texas A&M. UCLA (25-8) will face UConn on Saturday in the Sweet 16 in Bridgeport, Conn.

Kari Korver scorched the fifth-seeded Aggies (22-11) with 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. The senior spent the majority of the fourth quarter on the bench while the Bruins cruised to the school’s largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament game, but Korver subbed back in late for one final hurrah in front of the UCLA faithful.

“It’s been really cool to play here at UCLA for five years,” Korver told reporters after the game. “And just the support from the fans, support from my family. It’s just really cool and I appreciate what Coach (Cori Close) did.”

PHOTOS: UCLA demolishes Texas A&M

Jordin Canada had 12 points and 11 assists, while Kennedy Burke notched a career-high nine assists to go with nine points. Monique Billings had 12 points, two blocks and three steals.

UCLA will make back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances for the first time in school history. Although they’re facing UConn and its 109-game winning streak, the Bruins are focused on themselves.

“They obviously have our respect, but my team has my respect,” Close said of the Huskies. “I need to lead them the same way that we’ve done it all year long. And that focus is on how do we need to grow, how do we play to our best given the opponent we have next. We’re going to play in a Sweet 16; we’re not just going to play UConn.”

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Lonzo Ball stars in UCLA win over Cincinnati

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball (2) celebrates after hitting a three-point shot against Cincinnati during a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, March 19, 2017. UCLA won 79-67. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

Rare is it that Lonzo Ball, UCLA’s single-season assist leader, goes a half without an assist. He more than made up for his relatively slow start Sunday night.

The fantastic freshman continued to dazzle for the Bruins (31-4) as he dished out nine second-half assists and racked up 18 points with seven rebounds in UCLA’s 79-67 win over Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Sacramento. The No. 3 Bruins advanced to face No. 2 Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday at 6:40 p.m. PT in Memphis.

Ball knocked down two critical 3-pointers, starting with one at the 13:31 mark in the second half that gave UCLA a two-point lead it never relinquished. He scored when he had to, but he also energized his struggling teammates.

TJ Leaf and Bryce Alford combined for three points in the first half, but finished with 11 and 16 points, respectively.

Aaron Holiday continued his stellar play off the bench during the NCAA Tournament with five points, two steals and five assists with no turnovers. The sophomore had 16 assists in the past two games with only two turnovers.

Links to wrap up the win:

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UCLA weekend recap: Women’s basketball vying for Sweet 16 spot at home

UCLA guard Jordin Canada goes to the basket past Boise State forward Shalen Shaw during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Los Angeles. UCLA won 83-56. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Jordin Canada witnessed Texas A&M pull off the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history. The UCLA point guard is now on high alert heading into her team’s second-round matchup with the fifth-seeded Aggies on Monday at 7 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion.

“For us, we have to know that they’re not just going to give up,” Canada told reporters Sunday. “We have to keep punching and keep fighting for 40 minutes.”

The Aggies pulled off a 21-point comeback in in less than nine minutes in the first round to take down No. 12 Penn 63-61. No. 4 UCLA, meanwhile, cruised in the first round behind Canada’s school-recording-tying 16 assists in a 83-56 win over No. 13 Boise State.

UCLA is trying to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year. The Bruins have never made Sweet 16 in back-to-back seasons.

Elsewhere in UCLA athletics:  Continue reading “UCLA weekend recap: Women’s basketball vying for Sweet 16 spot at home” »

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