UCLA's seven-year NCAA Tournament drought is history.
Two weeks after claiming their first Pacific-10 tournament title, the fifth-seeded Bruins finally ended their postseason misery by defeating 12th-seeded Bowling Green, 74-61, yesterday in West Lafayette, Ind. -- their first NCAA win since beating Colorado State in the 1999 regional semifinals.
UCLA (21-10) hosts Purdue tomorrow night in the Cleveland Regional.
As usual, it was the Bruins' athletic trio of Noelle Quinn, Lisa Willis, and Nikki Blue leading the way. Willis had 23 points (five 3-pointers) and 12 rebounds, while Quinn had 21 points and seven rebounds. Blue had 7 points and six assists, but helped the Bruins respond each time they were challenged.
The Falcons (28-3) entered the tournament riding a 19-game winning streak, tied with Ohio State for the nation's second longest, and were hoping to become the first Mid-American Conference team to win an NCAA game since 1996.
Ali Mann had 16 points and eight rebounds, while Liz Honegger finished with 15 points and five rebounds to keep them close.
But the MAC champs couldn't overcome their poorest defensive performance of the season. UCLA shot 56.7 percent from the field in the first half and made 10 of 25 treys in the game to become the first team to score 70 points all season against Bowling Green.
Ohio State 68, Oakland 45 -- The top-seeded Buckeyes (29-2) took advantage of a huge size disparity inside, going repeatedly to 6-foot-5-inch Jessica Davenport and 6-1 Debbie Merrill as they rolled over the 16th seeded Golden Grizzlies (15-16).
Next up is No. 8 seed Boston College, which beat Notre Dame to reach tomorrow's second round of the Albuquerque Regional.
Davenport, the Big Ten Conference's player of the year, had a double double in the first half and finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds -- a school record for boards in an NCAA Tournament game. Merrill had 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Purdue 73, Missouri St. 52 -- Aya Traore had 20 points and a career-high 11 rebounds and Erin Lawless scored a season-best 19 points to power the Boilermakers (25-6).
Missouri State guard Kari Koch entered the game averaging 20.5 points, but was held to 11 on 5-for-17 shooting. She made a layup in the last two minutes to avoid her second single-digit-scoring game of the season.
The Boilermakers held Missouri State (17-15) to 32 percent shooting, 28 percent in the second half.