SPOKANE, Wash. – Courtney Vandersloot had 29 points and 17 assists 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. And after that benchmark was set, the senior made sure her college career would last at least one more game, in the round of 16, across town at the Spokane Arena next Saturday night.
Kayla Standish matched her career high with 30 points to lead Gonzaga (30-4), which is headed to the regional semifinals for the second straight year, giving Vandersloot one more opportunity to add to a career that'll be hard for anyone to match.
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 Jasmine 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.
Standish set her career high just two days earlier in the Bulldogs 92-86 first-round victory over Iowa, with 22 coming in the second half. She'd already scored 30 in 30 minutes on Monday night — including a personal 9-0 run early in the half to give Gonzaga the lead, but went quiet down the stretch as UCLA devoted attention to the Bulldogs' forward.
That was about the time Vandersloot got started. It began a bit earlier, at the 12:24 mark when she stole a pass near midcourt and drove for a layup, her 10th point of the night and 2,000th of her career, making her the first player in Division I — men or women — with 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in her career.
She added a 3-pointer a few minutes later, 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 scored 19 points in the final 12 minutes, including eight free throws in the final 1:22.
Gonzaga became the first team all season to top 80 points on the Bruins in regulation. UCLA came in giving up just 54 points per game, while the Bulldogs were the top scoring team in the country at more than 86.
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.
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.
But UCLA actually extended its lead with both sitting, taking its largest lead at 30-23 on Gardner's layup with 6:07 left. To that point, Vandersloot had just one point, but scored seven quick points in the final four minutes to get the Bulldogs back within 38-35 at the break.
The pace was decidedly what Gonzaga wanted, but the Bulldogs took eight less shots than UCLA thanks to seven offensive rebounds by the Bruins and 11 Gonzaga turnovers. Gonzaga had just five turnovers in the second half.