Courtney Vandersloot reaches 2,000 career points and 1,000 assists as Gonzaga moves on

SPOKANE, Wash. -- As the final seconds ticked away, Courtney Vandersloot screamed from deep in her gut into a din of noise. It was a giant exhale after one more masterful night by Gonzaga's star.

And she'll get at least one more game to show that maybe she is the best point guard in the country.

"To do what she did again," Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said slightly shaking his head, "she's shown everyone she should be an all-American."

Vandersloot scored 29 points and had 17 assists, taking control in the final 10 minutes to help No. 11 seed Gonzaga beat third-seeded UCLA 89-75 on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Playing in front of a raucous home crowd, Vandersloot became the first player in Division I history -- men or women -- to record 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in her career on a breakaway layup with 12:24 left. And once that benchmark was set, the senior made sure the Bulldogs would be playing in the regional semifinals for the second straight year.

Vandersloot scored 19 of her points in the final 10 minutes after Gonzaga's Kayla Standish carried the Bulldogs for the first 30 minutes. Standish tied her career high with 30 points, but didn't score after giving Gonzaga the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 10:22 left.

Standish had done enough making 11 of 14 shots -- and 26 of 34 in the first two NCAA games -- and grabbing 10 rebounds. It was Vandersloot's time to shine.

"We let Vandersloot do what she wanted," UCLA's Jasmine Dixon said. "Whatever press we threw at her we weren't aggressive. She was able to do whatever she wanted to do."

Along with her scoring, Vandersloot's 17 assists were one shy of tying the most ever in an NCAA tournament game. She added seven rebounds and darted through UCLA's pressure trapping defense, imposing the Bulldogs style on a game that was determined largely by the pace.

Darxia Morris led UCLA with 20 points and Dixon added 18, but the Bruins (28-5) were bounced in the second-round of the tournament for the second straight year, given no favors having to play on Gonzaga's home floor.

"The thing that makes her great is her ability to make her teammates look good," UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell said of Vandersloot. "She picks and chooses when she is going to score the ball for herself, because she does a great job of putting her teammates in position to score because she's a smart player."

This was going to be the night where Vandersloot breakneck pace and Gonzaga's high-scoring ways were finally going to be slowed down by UCLA's press defense that allowed just 54 points per game.

Instead, Gonzaga's 89 points were the most allowed by UCLA this season and the only team to score more than 70 against the Bruins in regulation.

"I don't think we came as aggressive as we should have. we broke down in our press a few times," Morris said. "Gonzaga did a good job. It was the breakdowns that really got to us."

Many of those breakdowns came late.

Vandersloot followed Standish's final basket with a 3-pointer at the 9:43 mark, then converted an acrobatic three-point play, scooping in a left-handed shot with her back to the basket with 6:44 left to put the Bulldogs up 70-62.

It was a key moment as UCLA could get no closer than four the rest of the way. Vandersloot hit eight of Gonzaga's 10 made free throws in the final 1:22.

Speed and scoring won out on this night, and the Bulldogs get another game in their hometown next Saturday night in the regional semifinals -- held at the Spokane Arena -- against either Xavier or Louisville.

"Kayla carried the weight for a long time and it's tough to do," Vandersloot said. "... At some point, someone needed to step up with her and go with her."

UCLA was trying to advance to the round of 16 for the first time since 1999. The Bruins were eliminated in the second round in each of their last two tournament appearances including an 83-70 loss to Nebraska last year.

Rebekah Gardner added 14 points off the bench for the Bruins.

From the start, the Bruins were willing to play at Gonzaga's pace. UCLA proved it could run with the Bulldogs and play at a higher tempo than they have for most of the season and withstood more than eight minutes with Morris and Dixon on the bench. Dixon sat at the 9:02 mark and Morris joined her 38 seconds later, each with two fouls.

The Bruins also forced Gonzaga into 11 turnovers in the first half, but could only create five in the second half.

"Everyone's effort was amazing," Standish said. "We weren't going to lose this game."