March Madness: UCLA defeats Sacramento State, will play Oklahoma

Charisma Osborne wasn’t able to say goodbye to Pauley Pavilion simply but.

The senior guard led UCLA to a 67-45 rout over No. 13 Sacramento State within the first spherical of the NCAA event on Saturday to earn the No. 4 Bruins a last likelihood to play in entrance of their dwelling crowd this yr.

UCLA will face No. 5 seed Oklahoma on Monday at 7 p.m. PDT for a spot within the Sweet 16 after the Sooners defeated No. 12 Portland 85-63 on Saturday.

Osborne flashed the all-around talent that would make her a excessive WNBA draft decide this season with 11 factors, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and two blocks. Forward Emily Bessoir had 14 factors and eight rebounds whereas freshman Kiki Rice had a team-high 15 factors, together with 10 factors within the first quarter that equaled Sacramento State’s complete rating within the first body.

UCLA (26-9) is now 7-0 in first-round NCAA event video games underneath coach Cori Close. A win Monday would ship UCLA to its fifth Sweet 16 of Close’s 12-year tenure and the primary for her present gamers.

The lack of postseason expertise is principally the results of the pandemic, which canceled the 2020 NCAA event for Osborne and Camryn Brown, who have been freshmen on a group that was ranked within the prime 11 all season. The following yr, the Bruins have been eradicated within the second spherical of the bubble event within the San Antonio space due to COVID-19 protocols.

Reflecting on her distinctive postseason expertise, Osborne marveled on the alternative to have a “regular” event this yr. It was what she got here to UCLA to attain, and on Saturday, she made the lengthy wait price it.

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Osborne was flirting together with her profession excessive in rebounds by halftime, flattening 9 boards with six factors and 4 assists because the Bruins took a 17-point lead on the break. She recorded a number of blocks for simply the second time this season and, defensively, served as one of many main gamers guarding Sacramento State star Kahlaijah Dean.

The Big Sky MVP, who was averaging 21.1 factors per sport, was held to 11 factors on labored three-of-19 capturing. The switch from Oakland notched six rebounds and 5 assists as middle Isnelle Natabou led Sacramento State with 16 factors and 10 rebounds.