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Published Time: 24.03.2024 - 09:05:07 Modified Time: 24.03.2024 - 09:05:07

UC Irvine guard Deja Lee (13) drives next to Gonzaga forward Yvonne Ejim (15) during the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, March 23, 2024. Gonzaga, gonzaga basketball, gonzaga vs kansas



UC Irvine guard Deja Lee (13) drives next to Gonzaga forward Yvonne Ejim (15) during the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, March 23, 2024.

Young Kwak / AP

The Bulldogs started 0-for-10 from the 3-point line and managed just 10 points in the first quarter, their lowest output in any quarter this season.

Brynna Maxwell, the Zags’ top outside shooter, shook off a slow start and sank two 3s and a long jumper to fuel a 21-2 run to end the first half and start the third quarter.

Kayleigh Truong and twin sister Kaylynne each had five assists for the Zags, who are in their seventh straight NCAA Tournament and are one win away from their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2015.

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It was the first time Gonzaga hosted NCAA Tournament games on its home floor since 2013.

“Our Zags fans bring a lot of energy, but today especially with the student section just being filled,” Ejim said of the sellout crowd of 6,000. “I think especially when we went on our runs, we felt the energy, especially when we come back on defense. Everyone is cheering, everyone is clapping, not only around us but on our team, too, and I think that really fed into the intensity that we kept up throughout the game.”

Nevaeh Parkinson scored 18 points and Moulayna Johnson Sidi Baba added 15 for UC Irvine.

The Anteaters (23-9) were in their first NCAA Tournament since 1995 and raced out to a 17-6 lead. Parkinson hit back-to-back buckets during the stretch, and UC Irvine’s physical defense flustered the Zags early.

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The Bulldogs mounted a 10-0 run to slow the Anteaters’ early momentum and took their first lead midway through the second quarter.

UC Irvine coach Tamara Inoue was proud of her team’s start and how the Anteaters hung with Gonzaga more than the last time they played here – a 102-38 loss in 2016, her first season on the job.

“I think we’re on a little bit of an improvement from that to this game today,” Inoue said.

The Zags will get either another test from a Pac-12 school in the Utes or face the Jackrabbits for the second time this season. Gonzaga beat SDSU by 25 in December.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness


As the dust settles from the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament, we bid farewell to the would-be Cinderellas who couldn't pull off the upset and take stock of your tattered bracket.


The start of spring means more daylight, cherry blossoms and breaks from school. And for sports fans, it's time to fill out brackets for the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments that start this week.

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