Gardner leads No. 22 UCLA past McNeese St, 67-59

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Rhema Gardner scored a career-high 18 points and No. 22 UCLA opened its season with a 67-59 win over McNeese State in the Preseason WNIT on Friday night.

Atonye Nyingifa added 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Moriah Faulk and Thea Lemberger scored 10 points apiece in Cori Close's UCLA coaching debut.

Ashlyn Baggett scored15 points and sister Caitlyn added 12 for McNeese State, which shot 31 percent overall in its opener.

The Bruins outclassed the Cowgirls to start the second half, turning a 13-point lead into a 53-28 advantage in 6 minutes.

UCLA then held off McNeese State's late comeback attempt.