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Category: Pac-10 basketball

Women's basketball: UCLA advances in NCAA tournament with 55-47 victory over Montana

Ucla-women1_350 Third-seeded UCLA advanced to the second round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament with a 55-47 victory over 14th-seeded Montana on Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center at Spokane, Wash.

Jasmine Dixon scored 15 points and Doreena Campbell and Rebekah Gardner each added 11 for UCLA, which improved its record to 28-4. The Bruins will play Gonzaga, a 92-86 winner Saturday over Iowa, on Monday.

UCLA used full-court pressure and a matchup zone to force 12 turnovers en route to a 26-17 halftime lead. The Bruins extended the lead to 14 points before Montana came back and pulled to within 51-45 on a three-pointer by Sara Ena with just under two minutes remaining.

Montana cut the deficit to four after Stephanie Stender made two free throws with 1:16 left.

But Dixon answered for UCLA after making a strong inside move. Dixon then stole a pass, was fouled and made one of two free throws to give the Bruins a margin that was not again threatened.

Forward Alyssa Smith scored 14 points to lead Montana, which finished 18-15.

More later at latimes.com/sports.

--Gary Klein, reporting from Spokane, Wash.

Photo: UCLA forward Markel Walker drives to the basket against Montana forward Alyssa Smith on Saturday in an NCAA tournament opener. Credit: James Snook / US Presswire

Women's basketball: UCLA leads Montana, 26-17, at halftime in first-round NCAA tournament game

Third-seeded UCLA leads 14th-seeded Montana, 26-17, at halftime in a first-round game of the NCAA women's basketball tournament at Spokane, Wash.

UCLA (27-4) has forced 12 turnovers with its full-court pressure and match-up zone but does not look as sharp as it did last week in the Pacific 10 Conference tournament.

Sophomore forward Markel Walker has scored seven points, and and senior guards Doreena Campbell and Darxia Morris each have four for the Bruins, who are working to advance to a game on Monday against Gonzaga, a 92-86 winner Saturday over Iowa.

Guard Kenzie DeBoer has five points for Montana.

More later at latimes.com/sports.

-- Gary Klein

Women's basketball: UCLA will play Montana in NCAA tournament

Ucla-women_300 UCLA will play Montana in the opening round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

The Bruins (27-4) are the No. 3-seeded team in the Spokane Region. They will play Montana (18-14) on Saturday.

Two-time defending national champion Connecticut is the overall No. 1-seeded team. Stanford, Baylor and Tennessee are the other teams seeded No. 1 in regionals.

UCLA finished second in the Pacific 10 Conference behind Stanford, which is also in the Spokane Region. The Bruins have been beaten three times by Stanford and once by Louisiana State.

Last season, UCLA drew a No. 8 seeding. The Bruins defeated North Carolina State in the first round at Minneapolis and then lost to Nebraska.

More later at latimes.com/sports.

--Gary Klein

Photo: UCLA guard Doreena Campbell drives around Stanford guard Jeannette Pohlen in the Pac-10 tournament final on Saturday at Staples Center. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire

USC basketball: Kevin O'Neill reinstated as Trojans' men's basketball coach

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USC men's basketball head coach Kevin O'Neill has been reinstated after a one-game suspension for an altercation he was involved in Thursday night in a hotel lobby with an Arizona booster, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden announced in a statement Sunday morning. 

The quick reinstatement officially debunks rumors that O'Neill was going to be fired, as the website that first reported his altercation, pointguardu.com, alleged Friday and still claimed as of Sunday morning. 

O'Neill was suspended for the first time in his career, he told The Times on Saturday, which forced him to miss USC's semifinal game of the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament at Staples Center against top-seeded Arizona.

The Trojans, coached by associate head coach Bob Cantu in that game, fell to the Wildcats, 67-62

Here are Haden's remarks in the statement: 

“Coach O’Neill and I have talked numerous times these past few days. He has continued to express his regret and embarrassment over the incident that led to his suspension from any remaining games of the Pac-10 Conference Tournament. He understands that his inappropriate actions and resulting suspension from the tournament’s semifinal game and potential championship game put his team in an extremely difficult position. Further, he understands that he let them down as their role model and leader. He has apologized to his team, as well as to me, our administration, our fans and the Pac-10.
 
“It was a difficult lesson for Coach O’Neill. I believe the suspension served its purpose and will eliminate any such inappropriate behavior by Coach O’Neill in the future. Although he has been reinstated, Coach O’Neill knows that he still faces additional institutional discipline and a fine.
 
“Our players were the innocent victims in all this. I was proud of how well they and our assistant coaches responded in our Pac-10 semifinal game. We now need to provide our players with the best chance of moving forward through post-season play. Having their head coach back gives them that opportunity.
 

Continue reading »

Women's Basketball: Stanford defeats UCLA, 64-55, to win Pac-10 tournament

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Second-ranked Stanford overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat seventh-ranked UCLA, 64-55, in the championship game of the Pacific Life Pac-10 women's basketball tournament on Saturday at Staples Center.

Stanford (29-2) extended its winning streak against Pac-10 opponents to 57 games and won its eighth tournament title in 10 years.

UCLA (27-4) appeared on the verge of possibly winning the title for the first time since 2006 when the Bruins took a 30-21 halftime lead.

But Stanford, which had not trailed at halftime since a Dec. 19 loss at Tennessee, came back behind freshman guard Toni Kokenis, who scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half.

More later at latimes.com/sports

-- Gary Klein

Photo: UCLA forward Atonye Nyingifa grabs a rebound alongside Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike in the first half Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Women's basketball: UCLA leads Stanford, 30-21, at halftime of Pac-10 tournament championship game

UCLA did it for 20 minutes.

Can the Bruins hold on for 20 more?

Seventh-ranked UCLA took a 30-21 halftime lead over second-ranked Stanford in the championship game of the Pacific Life Pac-10 women's basketball tournament at Staples Center.

It is the first time that Stanford has trailed at halftime since a Dec. 19 loss at Tennessee. And it could have been an even larger margin for UCLA if the Bruins had capitalized on numerous second chances they created with hustle on the offensive end.

UCLA is playing a scrappy zone defense that has denied Stanford opportunities to get the ball inside to junior forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who scored 32 points in a semifinal victory over Arizona.

Meantime, UCLA guard's Doreena Campbell (nine points) and Darxia Morris (eight points) are doing an excellent job penetrating to the basket for shots and passes. Forward Markel Walker (five points) also has set up teammates with outstanding interior passing.

More later at latimes.com/sports

-- Gary Klein

USC basketball: Top-seeded Arizona beats fourth-seeded USC, 67-62, advances to Pac-10 final

Usc1_350jpg With its NCAA tournament life on the line, USC was without Coach Kevin O'Neill

But the fourth-seeded Trojans, coached by associate head coach Bob Cantu, who hadn't coached a game since 1998, still gave top-seeded Arizona a close game Friday in a Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament semifinal, falling 67-62 at Staples Center. Cantu was filling in for O'Neill, who was suspended by the university on Friday for his involvement in a verbal altercation with an Arizona booster on Thursday night.

No. 16 Arizona (27-6) advances to Saturday's final against the winner of Friday's other semifinal game between seventh-seeded Oregon and third-seeded Washington. Arizona swept Oregon and split two games with Washington this season.

USC trailed, 50-38, midway through the second half before going on an 11-3 run. Arizona responded with a five unanswered point, four of them on consecutive baskets by star sophomore forward Derrick Williams, the Pac-10 player of the year and a one-time USC recruit. 

Then USC scored six straight points before Arizona forward Jamelle Horne hit a three from the right wing. USC's Jio Fontan answered with a layup, but Williams responded with an amazing, two-handed turn-around alley-oop slam on a pass from Solomon Hill with 1:49 left that put Arizona ahead by six points, 63-57.

Fontan hit a three-point jumper with 48 seconds left to make it a three-point game. Williams was fouled with 20.3 seconds left and made both free throws. USC's Donte Smith missed a three on the other end and junior forward Nikola Vucevic added his final basket of the night, a short floater. 

Vucevic had 16 points and 12 rebounds, his 21st double-double of the season. USC senior guard Marcus Simmons scored a career-high 20 points. 

Williams led Arizona with 20 points while teammate Jesse Perry added 11.

USC shot 24 of 55 from the field; Arizona shot 26 of 52.  

USC (19-14) is considered on the bubble for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament, but the Trojans' hopes of such a bid are slim. They're best hope was to win the Pac-10 tournament to secure the conference's automatic berth, or, at the very least, defeat Arizona. 

Continue reading »

USC basketball: Top-seeded Arizona leads fourth-seeded USC at halftime, 33-28

Fourth-seeded USC is playing top-seeded Arizona in a Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament semifinal at Staples Center without its head coach, Kevin O'Neill, who was suspended Friday for the remainder of the tournament.

But even without him, and with USC associate head coach Bob Cantu coaching his first game since 1998, the Trojans are hanging tough against the No. 16 Wildcats, who lead at halftime, 33-28. 

The winner advances to Saturday's final against either the winner of Friday's other semifinal game between seventh-seeded Oregon and third-seeded Washington.

The game has been back and forth for most of the first half, with each team making minor runs here and there.

Arizona sophomore forward Derrick Williams, the Pacific 10 Conference player of the year, scored the final bucket of the half on an emphatic two-handed slam just before the buzzer sounded. He has seven points, one short of his total when USC last played Arizona in February. 

USC is surprisingly being led in scoring by senior guard Marcus Simmons, the Pac-10 defensive player of the year, who has 11 points. Simmons' season high is 12 points against New Mexico State on Nov. 21.

Arizona is shooting 12 for 29 (41.4%) from the field and USC is shooting 12 for 22 (54.5%). 

O'Neill's suspension stems from an altercation he and his wife, Roberta, were involved in Thursday night in a hotel lobby with an Arizona booster.  

-- Baxter Holmes

USC basketball: Kevin O'Neill suspended for the rest of the Pac-10 tournament

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USC just announced that Trojans Coach Kevin O'Neill is suspended for the rest of the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament because of a verbal altercation he and his wife were involved in Thursday night at a hotel with a longtime Arizona booster.

This means that O'Neill will not be coaching the fourth-seeded Trojans as they face top-seeded Arizona in a semifinal game Friday night at Staples Center. Associate head coach Bob Cantu will coach the team Friday. If the Trojans win, Cantu will also coach them in the Pac-10 tournament final.

O'Neill was coach at Arizona for one season (2007-08) and is in his second season at USC.

Here's the statement from USC Athletic Director Pat Haden

"I have talked to Coach Kevin O'Neill and expressed my disappointment in his involvement in an incident last night in which he and his wife engaged in an argument with a supporter of another school.
 
"We have met with various parties who have knowledge of the incident. Based on the information we have gathered, I am immediately suspending Coach O'Neill for the balance of the Pac-10 Conference Tournament. We also have set forth additional discipline that will remain private. 
 
"Coach O'Neill was remorseful and apologetic and accepted responsibility for his actions. He understood that his actions were unacceptable and that they reflect poorly on him, his team and USC. We hold our coaches to very high standards, as they are role models to the student-athletes they lead. Clearly, Coach O'Neill used poor judgment and failed in this situation.
 

Continue reading »

Women's basketball: UCLA advances to Pac-10 tournament final with 63-50 victory over Cal

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UCLA's women's basketball team will get another shot at Stanford.

The second-seeded Bruins cruised over California, 63-50, in a semifinal of the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament at Staples Center to earn their third matchup of the season against the top-seeded Cardinal.

Atonye Nyingfa scored 17 points, and Darxia Morris added 14 for the Bruins, who led 37-23 at halftime and never looked back in improving their record to 27-3.

Two of those losses, however, came against Stanford, and neither was close.

Earlier Friday, Stanford rolled to a 100-71 victory over Arizona.

More later at latimes.com/sports.

-- Gary Klein

Photo: UCLA guard Rebekah Gardner and California guard Layshia Clarendon, left, battle for control of the ball in the first half Friday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

Women's Basketball: Stanford defeats Arizona, 100-71, and advances to Pac-10 tournament final

Stanford forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and her younger sister, Chiney, added 21 points and 13 rebounds as the top-seeded Cardinal routed Arizona, 100-71, to advance to the championship game of the Pacific 10 Conference women's basketball tournament at Staples Center.

Stanford (28-2) had a bye into the semifinals and looked plenty rested en route to scoring the most points in tournament history. It was the third time this season that the Cardinal scored 100 points.

Stanford, which has won 56 consecutive games against conference opponents, plays the winner of Friday afternoon's semifinal between UCLA and California.

Arizona had advanced to the semifinal with victories over Oregon and USC. But the Ogwumikes and the Cardinal were too big and too strong for the Wildcats.

Senior forward Kayla Pedersen added 16 points and six rebounds for Stanford. The Cardinal made 59% of its shots.

Soana Lucet scored 17 points for Arizona (21-11).

More later at latimes.com/sports

-- Gary Klein

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