Michaela Onyenwere scored a career-high 30 points, Japreece Dean added 22 and UCLA squeezed past No. 3 seed Maryland 85-80 Monday night to earn its fourth consecutive berth in the Sweet 16 of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
Dean, the smallest player on the court, sank two free throws with 25 seconds remaining to make it 83-79, and the Bruins held on to beat the Terrapins on their own court.
No. 6 seed UCLA (22-12) will next face second-seeded UConn (33-2) on Friday in the semifinal round of the Albany Region.
Ranked first in the Pac-12 and third in the nation in offensive rebounding, the Bruins repeatedly gathered in their own missed shots and turned them into baskets. UCLA collected 27 offensive rebounds and finished with 27 second-chance points.
Maryland led 76-74 before UCLA’s Kennedy Burke grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back. Teammate Lindsey Corsaro followed with a three-point play with 3:34 left.
Brianna Fraser answered with a layup for the Terrapins to make it 79-78 with 3:16 remaining, and neither team scored again until Burke hit a jumper with 1:03 to go.
Kaila Charles led Maryland (29-5) with 23 points. The Big Ten regular season champions went 1 for 13 from beyond the arc and 15 for 25 from the free throw line.
UCLA, in contrast, sank seven 3-pointers and made 20 of 21 free throws.
After trailing for nearly the entire first half, the Terrapins scored seven straight points in the opening 50 seconds of the third quarter to go up 47-44, their first lead since 2-0.
The teams then started trading baskets, with neither holding an advantage of more than three points until Maryland’s Channise Lewis had a steal and a buzzer-beating layup to make it 71-66 entering the fourth quarter.
The Terrapins scored 31 points in the third period, 11 by Charles 6-for-9 shooting after a 2-for-9 first half.
UCLA had 17 offensive rebounds and got 15 points from Onyenwere in building a 44-40 halftime lead.
Jones kept Maryland close with 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting, but the Terrapins made only one 3-pointer in seven tries and were 7-for-12 at the foul line.
UCLA: Led by the 5-foot-6 Dean and the very athletic Onyenwere, the Bruins were too quick for Maryland — especially on the boards. UCLA’s fast-paced attack just might work against UConn.
Maryland: With only one senior on the team, the Terrapins should be better next year. That won’t soften the disappointment of losing on their own floor to a lower seed.
UCLA will be seeking a big upset over UConn, which would put the Bruins in the round of eight for the third time in school history.