AUSTIN, Texas — Michaela Onyenwere scored 25 points and third-seeded UCLA was never threatened en route to a 69-48 victory over Wyoming in the opening round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Monday night.
Onyenwere, a 6-foot senior, converted 9 of 17 shots from the field. She has averaged more than 24 points in her last five games, five more than her mark for the season.
Charisma Osborne supported Onyenwere with 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Natalie Chou also scored 15.
Alba Sanchez Ramos led Wyoming with 15 points and 10 rebounds. McKinley Bradshaw scored 13.
Neither team has a starter taller than 6-foot-1, but UCLA (17-5) has more height and dominated in the paint, outscoring Wyoming 34-20.
Wyoming (14-10) had no answer for Onyenwere in the first half. The all-Pac 12 forward scored 15 points — 11 in the first quarter — helping stake the Bruins to a 40-26 lead at the break.
She used her strength to score inside, made mid-range turnaround jump shots and also hit a 3-pointer.
Onyenwere scored eight more in the third quarter, and Chou added six, as UCLA increased its lead to 20 at the end of that period.
UCLA has won nine straight NCAA Tournament first round games, the last six under coach Cori Close. The smallest margin of victory during her tenure was 11 points against American in 2018. Next the Bruins will attempt to advance to the Sweet 16 for the fifth straight time.
MAKING HER WORK
Wyoming’s Quinn Weidemann was named Most Valuable Player of the Mountain West Tournament after averaging 13.5 points and hitting 12 of 22 3-point shots. She helped the Cowgirls win the tournament after they finished seventh during the regular season at 8-8. UCLA seemed aware of that, harassing Weidemann into 1 for 6 3-point shooting and 4 for 16 overall. She finished with 11 points.
UCLA will face No. 6 seed Texas on Wednesday. The Longhorns defeated Bradley 81-62 on Monday.