Photos: UCLA women’s basketball falls to No. 1 UConn

Click the photo above or (HERE) to see photos of No. 5 UCLA’s 78-60 loss to No. 1 Connecticut at Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday.

Above, clockwise from top left: UConn head coach Geno Auriemma cheers on his team from the bench; UCLA forward Monique Billings tries to box out UConn’s Azurá Stevens; UCLA guard Jordin Canada pushes the ball up court; UCLA head coach Cori Close talks to Canada. (All photos by Scott Varley/SCNG)

UCLA women’s basketball reaches first Sweet 16 since 1999

For the first time since 1999, the UCLA women’s basketball team is heading to the Sweet 16.

The third-seeded Bruins earned themselves a spot on Monday night, holding off a resilient South Florida team for a 72-67 win at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA never trailed, but saw a 16-point lead dwindle to as little as one.

They will take the court again on March 26 against No. 2-seeded Texas.

“This is a huge next step for our program,” said Cori Close, the Bruins’ fifth-year coach.

» Sweet 16 run marks best year of Cori Close’s UCLA tenure

USF senior Courtney Williams, the nation’s 10th-leading scorer, led the game with 29 points — but did so by taking 32 shots. She missed her first eight shots of the night, pestered by defense from UCLA’s Nirra Fields, as well as forward Monique Billings.

Sophomore point guard Jordin Canada kept UCLA ahead late, shaking off a 1-for-11 start to score 17 points in the final quarter. She sank six free throws in the final 25 seconds.

The Bruins are one of four Pac-12 teams to make the Sweet 16, joining Oregon State, Stanford and Washington.

“You really gain credibility when you go do it on the biggest stage, the NCAA Tournament,” Close said. “The Pac-12 has sort of put its money where its mouth is.”

UCLA women’s hoops ready to open NCAA tourney vs. Hawaii

» Back in the NCAA Tournament, UCLA women’s basketball is looking to make it past the second round for the first time since 1999. First up is No. 14-seed Hawaii at 3:30 p.m.
» UCLA forward Kacy Swain has found success with the third-seeded Bruins despite dealing with Type 1 diabetes.

UCLA basketball teams announce signing classes

UCLA has officially signed five-star forward Kevon Looney, one of the gems of the 2014 class.

“Kevon is one of the best players in the country in this class,” coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “He is extremely skilled and versatile. Most importantly, he’s a winner.”

The Bruins also inked Hungarian native Gyorgy Goloman, a little-known forward also sought by Davidson, Richmond and New Mexico. Alford’s statement called him “one of the best passing big men we have seen in years.”

Looney sent his national letter of intent to UCLA this morning, while Goloman did the same yesterday.

UCLA women’s basketball also signed its first-ever No. 1 recruiting class Continue reading “UCLA basketball teams announce signing classes” »

Jim Mora, Brett Hundley appear in UCLA’s ‘You Can Play’ video

Of the more than 10,000 men playing major college football, none have yet come out as gay. UCLA football coach Jim Mora did his part to try and pave the way, appearing in the school’s “You Can Play” video this week.

Mora shows up at 0:20, while star quarterback Brett Hundley and defensive back Librado Barocio join in at 1:35. Women’s gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field and women’s basketball coach Cori Close open the video, which also features athletes from numerous other UCLA teams. Continue reading “Jim Mora, Brett Hundley appear in UCLA’s ‘You Can Play’ video” »