LOS ANGELES-Size. Speed. Strength. Strategy. Those kind of things kind of matter in the college basketball postseason. The UCLA have plenty of those attributes and it was too much for Boise State to handle. The first round game of the NCAA Women’s Tournament turned out to be an easy one for the Bruins.
Matching up against Boise State on their home floor at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins unleashed a 44-27 halftime lead and zipped to a 83-56 win against the Broncos. Too big. Too fast, and too strong. That was the story being the Bruins’ 24th win of the season.
Even though they outrebounded (39-37) No. 4 UCLA, Boise Sate (25-8) had its perimeter game altered because of the Bruins’ quickness. UCLA came up with seven blocked shots and 11 steals that interrupted anything Boise State was trying to do on offense.
Defensively, the Broncos ran into the dominant inside play of Monique Billings and the playmaking of Jordin Canada. This game was the Canada Show as the junior point guard took it over in every which way for the Bruins.
UCLA held a 24-7 advantage over Boise State in the assists category. Of those 24 assists, 16 came by way of Canada, who also contributed 15 points and produced four steals. That wasn’t too bad of an all-around performance by the Pac-12 Conference All-Tournament team member.
It was a bad outing in general for the poor-shooting Broncos. Boise State was already facing an uphill battle in going up against UCLA’s decisive size and speed advantage. The Broncos didn’t do themselves any favor by missing their first nine shots of the game and shooting just 30 percent from the field for the game.
That kind of shooting won’t beat too many teams. And that put the No. 3 team in the Mountain West Conference in a no-win place against the might of UCLA, who now take on Texas A & M in the second round of the tournament. Unfortunately for the Broncos, UCLA didn’t have the same shooting woes they had. With four players hitting double-digits in scoring, UCLA shot nearly 60 percent (58%) from the field.
Both Kennedy Burke (14 points) and Nicole Kornet (14 points) sparked life into the Bruins’ offense with Canada whizzing and dissecting her way through Boise State’s defense. Everybody benefitted from Canada’s play as she opened the floor for her UCLA teammates to get one easy basket after another. When Boise State’s shots kept clinging off the rim as UCLA stormed out to a 12-0 lead, the Broncos were in deep trouble.
Even when they closed the first quarter deficit to 20-12 to end the quarter, the Broncos were officially flushed out by intermission when UCLA took that 17-point lead into the locker room. Boise State made it a game for one quarter, going toe-to-toe with the Bruins (20-20) in scoring in the period.
But any thoughts of any type of rally or comeback was squashed by the Bruins in the four quarter. UCLA outscored 13th-seeded Boise State 19-9 to wrap up their first win in the tournament as the No. 4 seed.