Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Louisiana Tech 88, UCLA 62

Last year's runner-up returns for another try

AP Sports Writer

        LOS ANGELES — Louisiana Tech found the way to San Jose and the NCAA Final Four with offensive rebounds and frenetic defensive pressure.

        Amanda Wilson had 23 points and 12 rebounds as the top-seeded Lady Techsters defeated No. 3 seed UCLA 88-62 in the West Regional final Monday night.

        “We went out there determined not to let our season end,” said Wilson, named MVP of the regional. “We fought and scrapped.”

        Tech's band broke out in a version of “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” as the players celebrated on the floor.

        Tech (30-2) will play Purdue, the Midwest's top seed, on Friday. It's the ninth Final Four for coach Leon Barmore, whose team lost to Tennessee in last year's national title game.

        “I'll take the Final Four over the Oscars any day,” said Barmore, who dropped in on the site of Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony a few miles from the Sports Arena.

        Maylana Martin had 16 points in the first NCAA regional final for UCLA (26-8), which successfully slowed down the tempo early in the game and built a 10-point lead.

        “The momentum shifted late in the first half and we really never got it back,” Martin said. “It wasn't the quickness inside. It was their leaping ability. They had two or three people blocking us out.”

        The Lady Techsters outscored the Bruins 17-4 to end the half ahead 35-32. UCLA committed most of its 13 first-half turnovers in that stretch.

        Monica Maxwell scored six points in the run, including an easy basket inside against UCLA's bigger post players. Maxwell finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

        “She took it to us,” UCLA coach Kathy Olivier said. “She'd just flash in there and do some things we hadn't seen.”

        The Bruins didn't have their usual dominance inside with 6-foot-4 Janae Hubbard and the 6-3 Martin, the Pac-10 Conference player of the year. Hubbard had 10 points and only four rebounds — well off her 21-point, 13-rebound performance in the semifinals.

        “They were quick and aggressive and took it to us as far as second and third shots go,” Olivier said.

        The speedy Maxwell repeatedly found access inside, where she grabbed offensive rebounds and either scored or dished off. Tech controlled the boards, 49-30, with a 27-13 edge offensively.

        “We knew they had an advantage on the inside,” Maxwell said. “My focus was trying to get a hand on some things. It's just a lot of effort.”

        LaCresha Flannigan, who had 11 points, stole the ball and scored for UCLA's last lead, 38-37, early in the second half.

        Then Tech put the game away with a 43-14 run, including stretches in which the Lady Techsters scored nine and 12 straight points, to go up 80-52 with 3:40 remaining.

        “UCLA did get a little tired,” Barmore said.

        UCLA freshman Michelle Greco started at guard in place of Erica Gomez, who sprained her right ankle in a semifinal win over Colorado State. Greco committed four of her team's 24 turnovers. Gomez played 20 minutes.

        UCLA (26-8) — Philman 4-8 2-2 10, Martin 5-12 6-8 16, Hubbard 5-9 0-0 10, Greco 3-11 0-0 6, Flannigan 3-8 5-8 11, Gomez 0-1 6-6 6, Pearson 1-6 0-0 3, Funicello 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-55 19-24 62.

        LOUISIANA TECH (30-2) — Maxwell 9-18 1-1 22, Wilson 11-15 1-2 23, Massey 5-11 2-2 12, Stallworth 5-8 2-3 12, Jackson 4-16 1-1 9, Walker 1-1 0-0 2, Sides 0-0 2-2 2, Lassiter 0-1 0-0 0, Lennox 3-12 0-0 6, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Gilmore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-82 9-11 88.

        Halftime—Louisiana Tech 35, UCLA 32. 3-Point goals—UCLA 1-8 (Pearson 1-5, Philman 0-1, Flannigan 0-1, Gomez 0-1), Louisiana Tech 3-18 (Maxwell 3-9, Lassiter 0-1, Lennox 0-3, Jackson 0-5). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—UCLA 30 (Philman 6), Louisiana Tech 49 (Maxwell 13). Assists—UCLA 8 (Gomez 3), Louisiana Tech 18 (Maxwell, Stallworth 5). Total fouls—UCLA 16, Louisiana Tech 17. A—5,302.


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