Oklahoma vs. UCLA Women’s NCAA Basketball Prediction, Preview
Here is everything you need to know about Oklahoma and UCLA in our Sooners vs. Bruins NCAA Tournament women’s basketball preview.
Greenville Region 1 – Second Round
No. 5 Oklahoma (26-6) vs. No. 4 UCLA (26-9), Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, Calif.
Game Info: 9 p.m. CT, Saturday, ESPN2
NCAA Tournament Results: Oklahoma: def. Portland, 85-63 (first round); UCLA: def. Sacramento State, 67-45 (first round).
Winner gets: A trip to the Sweet 16 to face South Carolina next week.
Projected starting lineups
Oklahoma: G Taylor Robertson, G Ana Llanusa, G Nevaeh Tot, F Madi Williams, F Liz Scott.
UCLA: G Gina Conti, G Charisma Osborne, G Kiki Rice, G Camryn Brown, F Emily Bessoir.
Player to watch
F Skylar Vann: Right now, Vann is the best sixth player in the Big 12, having won the award each of the last two seasons. On any other Big 12 team she would be a starter right now. But, because the Sooners have three super-seniors, she’ll have to wait until next season to be a starter. But Vann is already a star and a go-to player for the Sooners. In OU’s Big 12 quarterfinal win over TCU last Friday, Vann was the player the Sooners turned to for the game-winning basket, as her lay-up with 2.2 seconds left secured the win. She had 21 points, five rebounds and three assists off the bench. In the Sooners’ first-round win over Portland, Vann came off the bench for a double-double — 11 points and 11 rebounds.
G Charisma Osborne: She’s just one of the players you have to slow down if you’re playing the Bruins. Osborne is only 5-foot-9, but she’s a capable rebounder and she averages 5.8 per game. But she also averages 15.3 points per game, and in the win over Sacramento State she had a double-double — 11 points and 12 rebounds. She also had five assists. Osborne is in her fourth year of college basketball and she’s been a scorer and rebounder from the get-go. She’s never averaged less than 12 points and five rebounds per season. She was an All-Pac-12 selection for the third time in her career this season.
The Sooners entered the season with a stacked roster and high expectations after reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament under first-year coach Jennie Baranczyk. For the most part, the Sooners have lived up to those expectations. Despite being swept by Texas in both regular-season meetings, the Sooners were able to win a share of the Big 12 regular-season title and earn the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. There, the Sooners dodged a bullet against No. 10-seed TCU and then fell to No. 3 seed Iowa State in the semifinals. The only upside was an extra day of rest, as the loss cost the Sooners a chance to, perhaps, claim a No. 4 seed and a home sub-regional. The Sooners go into the NCAA Tournament having won three of their last four and nine of their last 11.
Against Portland State, the Sooners looked sharp and had five different players in double figures, including two off their bench — Vann and Aubrey Joens, the latter of which had 14 points.
UCLA’s only loss before it got into Pac-12 play was against No. 1 South Carolina — and the Bruins would get a rematch with the Gamecocks if they win this game. Once UCLA got into Pac-12 action, it started sharp with three straight wins. But the Bruins fell to Oregon State once, Stanford twice and endured a three-game losing streak at the hands of Colorado, Utah and Arizona — all three of which were ranked teams. The Bruins caught fire in the Pac-12 Tournament, beating Arizona State, Arizona and Stanford before falling to another red-hot team in Washington State in the title game. Entering the OU game the Bruins are 4-6 against ranked teams, but the Bruins have won their last two.
UCLA took care of Sacramento State in the first round, with Rice scoring 15 and Bessoir dumping in 14 to lead the way.
UCLA 75, Oklahoma 73. This is going to be a fun game with a lot of offense. The nod goes to UCLA since the Bruins are at home. But expect it to come down to the wire.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.