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UCLA Defeats Air Force to Reach WNIT Third Round

Mar 20, 2022
II'marI Thomas (Photo: Caren Nicdao)

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA women's basketball team led by as many as 23 points en route to a berth in the WNIT third round, defeating Air Force by a 61-45 score Sunday at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. 

UCLA (16-12) advances to face Wyoming, which topped Tulsa in three overtime periods on Sunday. The UCLA-Wyoming contest will take place in Laramie, Wyo. on Thursday at 5:30 pm PT. 

II'marI Thomas scored a game-high 17 points for the Bruins. Charisma Osborne added 13 points, while Angela Dugalić provided 11 points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals off the bench.

Haley Jones led the Falcons (19-14) with 10 points. She also registered a game-high 12 rebounds. Sunday's meeting was the first between the programs.

The Bruins controlled the paint on both sides of the floor, piling up 38 points down low offensively and blocking 10 shots at the other end.

Six Bruins scored in the opening frame, with Jaelynn Penn's five points leading all players. She drained a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining, capping a 7-0 quarter-closing UCLA run that extended the Bruins' lead to 18-10.

A 7-0 UCLA spurt was also key to the second quarter, as the Bruins pushed their advantage to 28-15. Thomas aided the run by knocking down a pair of shots and scored 10 points in all – on 5-of-5 shooting – across the stanza. A 10-0 scoring spree by UCLA followed to bring its lead to a first-half high 18 points. Thomas totaled 13 points in the game's first 20 minutes and the Bruins entered the break with a 38-23 lead.

Chantel Horvat's third second-chance layup of the game brought the UCLA advantage to 20 with 4:15 to go in the third quarter. Horvat finished with eight points and seven rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. The Bruins held a 49-31 lead at the end of three quarters of play.

Air Force chipped away at its deficit in the fourth quarter, outscoring UCLA by an 11-3 margin during one stretch. Dugalić and Osborne moved into double figures in the game's final minutes, scoring four points and five points, respectively.