This post was updated March 25 at 2:45 p.m.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Japreece Dean made sure to shoot Lindsey Corsaro a text Saturday evening.
The senior guard wanted to congratulate Corsaro – a redshirt freshman guard – on a career-high performance in her first NCAA tournament game.
“I thought (she) was great,” Dean said. “I texted (Corsaro) after the game and I was like, ‘We need to see that every time and have that confidence every time you get on the floor.’”
No. 6 seed UCLA women’s basketball (21-12, 12-6 Pac-12) saw all five starters log double-digit scoring in its first-round win over No. 11 seed Tennessee (19-13, 7-9 SEC), and will face No. 3 seed Maryland (29-4, 15-3 Big Ten) in the second round of the NCAA tournament Monday.
“As far as (being) a point guard, it’s amazing having different people step up at different times,” Dean said. “(It) makes our team hard to guard.”
Dean – who UCLA announced will be eligible to play another season next year after transferring from Texas Tech in 2017 – has averaged 16.8 points and 7.1 assists per game in the Bruins’ latest eight contests.
But UCLA hasn’t played Maryland in over a decade.
“It’s crazy because it’s probably one of the only teams I haven’t really seen play,” Dean said. “Because I watch a lot of basketball too, but I have not really seen Maryland play.”
In Maryland’s first-round win over No. 14 seed Radford on Saturday, the Terps scored 40 of its 73 total points from the paint, but also spread the floor to make 50 percent of their 3s in the second half.
The Big 10 regular-season champions are in the NCAA tournament for the ninth consecutive year and have eight Sweet 16 appearances under coach Brenda Frese.
“I know that Maryland has been one of the top teams this year,” said sophomore forward Michaela Onyenwere. “They have great players – players I had played against in (Amateur Athletic Union) back in the day, so I’ve kind of watched their growth.”
Onyenwere has scored 20 or more 16 times this season and became just the fourth player in UCLA history to reach 600 points in a single season.
Maryland guard Kaila Charles – who coach Cori Close said reminds her of Onyenwere – is averaging 16.8 points per game on the season and dropped a career-high 36 points in Maryland’s Big Ten tournament championship game loss to Iowa.
“She is just so versatile,” Close said. “She reminds me in some ways of (Onyenwere), in the fact that she’s explosive. She can hit you in three-level scoring, not maybe as much from the outside, but she’s capable.”
UCLA will have the opportunity to reach its fourth consecutive Sweet 16 appearance after advancing to its first Elite Eight since 1999 last season. The winner of Monday’s matchup will take on No. 2 seed UConn in the Albany regional Friday.
“We’ve come a long way and that we are peaking at a great time,” Dean said. “So I think just having the confidence in ourselves and knowing that we’re a great team as well.”