PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Freshman Kiki Rice scored 18 points and Gina Conti added 16 to help No. 20 UCLA hold off Marquette 66-58 in overtime to win the Battle 4 Atlantis championship Monday.
Senior Charisma Osborne had just nine points after two big tournament games, but she was named the tournament’s most valuable player after joining with Conti and senior Camryn Brown to make down-the-stretch plays that guided the Bruins (6-0) to the title.
Osborne shot just 4 of 16, but she scored the first basket of OT on a tough runner to put the Bruins ahead to stay. That was part of a game-closing flurry that saw Osborne, Conti and Brown combine to score eight of UCLA’s last nine baskets starting from late in the third quarter.
Brown finished with just four points but had six rebounds and five steals, including one for a runout basket for a 57-53 lead in OT.
Chloe Marotta scored 15 points to lead the Golden Eagles (5-1), though Jordan King had just 10 points before fouling out early in overtime.
The Bruins and Eagles threw the second-ever Atlantis women’s tournament off its projected course with upsets. First there was Marquette beating No. 3 Texas in Saturday’s first round, then UCLA followed with a romp against No. 11 Tennessee in Sunday’s semifinals.
A year after a 1-vs-2 matchup between South Carolina and Connecticut for the title, this year’s championship paired two unranked teams at tipoff — though the Bruins entered the new AP Top 25 during the game and played the second half as a ranked team.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles were picked to finish sixth in the Big East, but beating Texas and then Gonzaga in the semifinals brought them close to cracking the AP Top 25. This tough three-day performance might push them over the hump next week.
UCLA: The Bruins entered Atlantis with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class starting to settle into the college game, along with strong play from Osborne. But this was a reminder of the value of veterans to guide talented youngsters like Rice, the nation’s No. 2-ranked recruit.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles host Saint Francis on Sunday.
UCLA: The Bruins host Jackson State on Friday before making a trip east to play at No. 1 South Carolina next week.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25