UCLA's March Madness is over, as the third-seeded Bruins fell to 11th-seeded Gonzaga, 89-75, Monday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.
Coach Nikki Caldwell's pre-NCAA Tournament concerns were verified, as Gonzaga, ranked No. 19 nationally, played inspired basketball in front of its home crowd.
Turning point: Janelle Bekkering nailed a three-point dagger with 2:32 remaining to put Gonzaga up nine, 77-68. UCLA never got to within seven after that, with the Bulldogs hitting 12 of 14 free throws to seal it.
Player of the game: Gonzaga point guard Courtney Vandersloot was unstoppable, using her speed and vision to offset UCLA's patented press defense. Vandersloot had 29 points and 17 assists, becoming the first player in NCAA history -- man or woman -- to record 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in a career.
Key stat: Gonzaga's Kayla Standish made 11 of 14 shots for 30 points. UCLA knew Vandersloot would get hers; the objective was to contain everyone else. Standish and Katelan Redmon (15 points) answered the call for the nation's top scoring team.
Miscellaneous: UCLA (28-5) led 38-35 at the half behind nine points each from Darxia Morris and Jasmine Dixon. Morris had 11 in the second half to finish with 20 in her final collegiate game. Dixon added another nine in the second half to finish with 18. Senior Rebekah Gardner was the only other UCLA player in double figures with 14.
What’s next: Gonzaga (30-4) will stay in Spokane and will face the winner of Tuesday night's game between No. 2-seeded Xavier and No. 7 Louisville, on Saturday night. Gonzaga will make it second straight Sweet 16 appearance.