(1) UCLA 70

(25-9, 15-3 Pac-12)

(9) Nebraska 83

(32-1, 16-0 Big 12)

    9:35 PM ET, March 23, 2010

    1 2 T
    #1UCLA 30 4070
    #9NEB 35 4883

    Top Performers

    UCLA: D. Campbell 15 Pts, 4 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Nebraska: D. Kelley 22 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Kelley scores 22, Griffin totals double-double as Huskers advance

    Associated Press

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Nebraska's first trip to the final 16 was met with more relief than excitement. The Cornhuskers have never been part of the national elite before, but they're acting and reacting as if they belong.

    Dominique Kelley scored a career-high 22 points, Kelsey Griffin added 18 points and 14 rebounds and top-seeded Nebraska took apart UCLA 83-70 in the second round of the NCAA women's tournament on Tuesday night.

    More On UCLA

    UCLA started Tuesday night's second-round matchup with No. 1-seeded Nebraska well enough. But before their imaginations could soar and wonder about the possibility of reaching the Sweet 16, the Bruins' offense stopped cooperating, writes Blair Angulo. Blog

    The Cornhuskers (32-1) advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time in program history to play No. 4 seed Kentucky in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday.

    "I just kept telling the girls that I'm not ready to stop playing with them," Kelley said.

    Darxia Morris and Doreena Campbell each scored 15 points and star Jasmine Dixon managed 13 points for the No. 8 seed Bruins (25-9) following early foul trouble, but the momentum and chaos created by their defensive pressure didn't last past the first 10 minutes. UCLA lost for the first time in 19 games this season when scoring 64 points or more.

    "We're kind of used to it," Griffin said. "We've been playing with a pretty big target on our back all year, even though we try to ignore it. Teams come out fired up to play us, and we're used to them making big runs."

    Griffin, who recorded her 2,000th career point in the first round, got past 1,000 career rebounds to become only the second Nebraska women's player to reach both of those marks.

    A few thousand Huskers fans chanted "Go Big Red!" and cheered their team on a 16-0 run early in the second half that broke the game open, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers from Cory Montgomery. She had her own cheering section from hometown Cannon Falls, a 45-minute drive south from the University of Minnesota campus.

    "Nebraska fans are awesome. They're so loud," Griffin said. "I'm hoping a lot of 'em come out to Kansas City ... even though we're basketball, not football."

    The Cornhuskers expressed concern about handling UCLA's defensive pressure, and that wasn't just coach speak.

    The Bruins swarmed Griffin with their aggressive matchup zone nearly every time she caught the ball on the block, and often she simply had to throw the ball at the backboard and hope for a foul call.

    Nebraska started playing some hard-nosed defense after a slow start, though, and the Bruins showed they were just as vulnerable to the pressure. Dixon's second foul sent her to the bench for the balance of the half with 10:23 left, and the Bruins wilted.

    They even picked up a technical foul for having six players on the court after a substitution miscommunication midway through the first half while they clinged to a two-point lead.

    "We want our defense to look like we have six players on the floor, but we don't want it to be where we get a technical," coach Nikki Caldwell said, managing a smile.

    Nebraska has insisted all along the seed number doesn't matter, that winning is the goal rather than proof it belongs with the game's elite. Though the Bruins were a formidable second-round opponent, all the other No. 1 seeds breezed into the round of 16 without even a first-half speed bump: Connecticut won by 54, Stanford by 29 and Tennessee by 28.

    UCLA is on the rise, too, trying to escape Stanford's long shadow with young, snazzy-dressed Caldwell injecting an energy and confidence into the program since arriving last season. Dixon, a sophomore who transferred from Rutgers, will return to lead a team that now truly knows what March is like.

    "I'm so proud and happy that I got to be part of coach Nikki's program," senior starter Erica Tukiainen.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 70 83
    FG Made-Attempted 28-62 (.452) 25-45 (.556)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-13 (.385) 8-15 (.533)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-10 (.900) 25-38 (.658)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 12 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 9 19

    Game Leaders

    PointsD. Campbell 15D. Kelley 22
    ReboundsM. Walker 9K. Griffin 14
    AssistsD. Campbell 6L. Moore 11
    StealsM. Walker 3L. Moore 1
    BlocksM. Walker 1K. Griffin 2


    » Mar 23, 2010 @NEB 83, UCLA 70Recap | Box Score