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The Sports Report: The best UCLA basketball team is still in the tournament

Michaela Onyenwere
Michaela Onyenwere
(Tomas Ovalle / Associated Press)

Howdy everyone, my name is Houston Mitchell, proprietor of this here newsletter. Let’s get right to the news.

March Madness

UCLA advanced in the NCAA tournament on Saturday with a resounding 89-77 win over Tennessee. Wait, some of you are saying. UCLA didn’t make the tournament. Are you talking about the NIT? No, I’m not. What about the CBI? No.

I’m talking about the much-overlooked women’s tournament. There, the Bruins are alive and well.

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The Bruins foiled a second-half comeback bid as Michaela Onyenwere had 22 points and 15 rebounds to lead the way.

Tennessee is the lone program to compete in every NCAA tournament since the event was first held for women in 1982. The Lady Vols finished 19-13, failing to reach 20 wins for the first time since 1975-76.

“I didn’t think we executed our game plan to the level I (wanted),” coach Cori Close said. “We told them it was all going to be about defense. We scored 89, so it shows how much I know. The reality is, we’re going to have to play a little more consistently.”

Especially under their own basket.

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“Defense is our anchor,” Onyenwere said. “During the fourth quarter we stayed poised. We realized that we weren’t playing defense as hard as we could. Once we ramped that up, it kind of went in our favor.”

Click here to see the women’s bracket that includes all of Saturday’s scores.

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A look at the second-round results and schedule for the men’s tournament:

First Round

West Regional (read game stories here)

No. 1 Gonzaga 83, No. 9 Baylor 71 (read this game story here)

No. 2 Michigan 64, No. 10 Florida 49

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No. 4 Florida State 90, No. 12 Murray State 62

South Regional

No. 3 Purdue 87, No. 6 Villanova 61 (Read game story here)

Midwest Regional (Read game stories here)

No. 2 Kentucky 62, No. 7 Wofford 56

No. 5 Auburn 89, No. 4 Kansas 75

East Regional (read game stories here)

No. 3 LSU 69, No. 6 Maryland 67

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No. 2 Michigan State 70, No. 10 Minnesota 50

Today’s second-round TV schedule

All Times Pacific

East Regional

No. 1 Duke vs. No. 9 Central Florida. 2:15 p.m., CBS

No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 12 Liberty, 4 p.m., TBS

Midwest Regional

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Washington, 11 a.m., CBS

No. 3 Houston vs. No. 11 Ohio State, 5 p.m., TNT

West Regional

No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 6 Buffalo, 3 p.m., TNT

South Regional

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 10 Iowa, 9 a.m., CBS

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 9 Oklahoma, 4:15 p.m., truTV

No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 13 UC Irvine, 6 p.m., TBS (read how these teams matchup here)

A big aspect of the men’s tournament is people betting on the games. To read what it is like in Las Vegas this time of year, read this story by Arash Markazi.

Dodgers-Angels

Last year around this time, the Dodgers were preparing for the exhibition Freeway Series coming off a disappointing World Series. Meanwhile, a lot of buzz around the Angels centered on a big off-season signing (Shohei Ohtani).

It’s all different this year, because this year, the Dodgers are preparing for the Freeway Series coming off a disappointing World Series. Meanwhile, a lot of buzz around the Angels centered on a big off-season signing (Mike Trout).

Wait, that’s not different at all. It’s virtually the same thing. Forget I said anything and go read this Freeway Series preview by Maria Torres.

Also, the Dodgers are leaving Arizona with some bullpen questions.

Can the Dodgers be the first team since 1923 to win the World Series after losing the previous two? Find out here.

Trout remaining an Angel for 12 more years begins to sink in.

UCLA gymnastics

The UCLA women’s gymnastics team won the Pac-12 championship on Saturday. You can read about it here. Here’s an excerpt:

“UCLA won the Pac-12 championship on Saturday the only way it knows how.

“With joy.

“It was there in Kyla Ross’ grin as she tumbled and danced on the floor, and when Katelyn Ohashi beamed to the Beyoncé music in her new routine. It radiated from the Bruins at a practice the day before, as they winked at each other and did jazz hands while rehearsing their beam routines. And it pulsed beside the uneven bars as Margzetta Frazier bounced from side to side, dancing to an Oregon State gymnast’s floor music, “Ice Ice Baby.”

“We have all really prepared well and come together. ... And we didn’t have to try,” Ohashi said. “We really do love each other that much, and it was so much fun to be out there with every single one of us.”

“Amid the exuberance came a season-high score of 198.4, UCLA’s 19th conference championship and its second straight. Next up: the NCAA Regionals April 4-6.

“The gymnastics is a mirror,” coach Valorie Kondos Field said, “of our culture.”

“She emphasized that with team meetings entering the Pac-12 championships and watched it come to fruition Saturday.”

Odds and Ends

American champion Nathan Chen wins gold at figure skating world championships…. From South L.A. to the NBA: Allen Crabbe gives back to keep his family’s school open…. Lakers’ JaVale McGee playing all-out to finish season, as witnessed by a career night against Nets…. Clippers have turned into road warriors, and it could pay off this trip…. U.S. men’s national team looks to flip the script on perception of American soccer…. USC is getting up to speed during spring practice…. The Kings defeated the Ducks, 4-3, in a shootout…. LAFC defeated Real Salt Lake, 2-1.

Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)

Sacramento at Lakers, 6:30 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, 710 ESPN

Clippers at New York, 9 a.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570

Dodgers at Angels, 5 p.m., Sportsnet LA, FSW, AM 570, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1893: Baseball Hall of Famer George Sisler

1943: Baseball player Jesus Alou

1944: Baseball player Denny McLain

1951: Golfer Pat Bradley

1959: Sprinter/NFL player Renaldo Nehemiah

1966: WNBA player Penny Toler

1973: NHL player Philippe Boucher

Died on this date

2009: Baseball Hall of Famer George Kell, 86

2016: Soccer player Johan Cruyff, 68

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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