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 advances in NCAA tourney with 66-50 win over Hawaii

Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the UCLA women’s basketball team had stressed the importance of defense.

It backed up that talk on Saturday, stifling Hawaii in a comfortable 66-50 win to advance to the second round of the postseason. The third-seeded Bruins limited the Rainbow Wahine to making a fifth of their attempts from the field, including just two in the final eight minutes.

Senior guard Nirra Fields led UCLA with 16 points and eight rebounds, and dished out four of the team’s 16 assists. She was one of three Bruins to score in double digits, joining Kennedy Burke (15) and Jordin Canada (10).

Megan Huff paced Hawaii with 18 points, accounting for half of that total from the free-throw line.

UCLA will play No. 6 seed South Florida on Monday.

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 breaks ground on new football, basketball facilities

UCLA officially broke ground on both the Wasserman Football Center and Mo Ostin Basketball Center this afternoon. Here’s a bit of footage to make you feel like you were right in the middle of the festivities.

Jim Mora thanked the Wasserman family for its contributions:

A virtual tour of what the football facility should look like:

A virtual tour of what the basketball facility should look like:

Both are projected for completion by around fall 2017.