Women's Basketball Rolls Past North Carolina State, 74-54

March 21, 2010

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Jasmine Dixon and UCLA were just too tough for North Carolina State to handle.

Dixon powered UCLA with 17 points and 11 rebounds, leading the No. 8 seed Bruins to a 74-54 victory on Sunday over No. 9 seed North Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament.

Erica Tukiainen was the catalyst from the outside with 12 points on three 3-pointers, and UCLA (25-8) pulled away down the stretch in the second half with a flurry of steals and fast-break layups. The Bruins went 14 for 15 from the free throw line and beat up the Wolfpack on the glass.

UCLA will play top-seeded Nebraska in the second round on Tuesday at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

Marissa Kastanek led North Carolina State (20-14) with 21 points and Nikitta Gartrell added 13 points. Ten of Gartrell's points came in the 13 minutes, though, and she finished with five turnovers.

UCLA's only losses since mid-January are to Pac-10 rival and No. 1 seed Stanford.

UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell, the Pac-10 coach of the year, guided her team to a 15-3 conference record and a reappearance in the most recent Associated Press poll for the first time since November 2006. One of famed Tennessee coach Pat Summitt's proteges, she took over the Bruins program last season.

N.C. State coach Kellie Harper is from the Summitt academy, too, in her first season in charge after succeeding the late Kay Yow. The Wolfpack similarly exceeded preseason expectations, making a late run to reach the tournament, but Harper's squad was overmatched in this one.

Gartrell got the Wolfpack off to a strong start, grabbing a rebound with one hand and spinning a putback off the glass as she fell to the floor. Sitting up and staring straight at the TV camera, Gartrell showed a determined glare and shouted, 'And one!'

She made the free throw for a 19-10 lead with 7 1/2 minutes left in the first half. North Carolina State led by nine points a little later, too, right after Caldwell called out a missed 3-pointer by Tukiainen by yelling, 'Hey, what are we doing? Get the ball inside!'

The Bruins got the message, increasing their aggression and attacking the Wolfpack inside where they were more vulnerable.

North Carolina State committed four turnovers over the final 3 minutes of the half and UCLA flipped the game over with a 14-0 run that stretched 90 seconds into the second half.

Dixon kept the Bruins on track, deftly using her moves and her muscle in the lane to lengthen the lead and spur her team on toward the second round.

Amber White turned a steal into a layup to cut UCLA's advantage to 41-37, but that was as close as the Wolfpack came. The Bruins responded with a 16-2 spurt to seal it inside of the 8-minute mark.

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