LOS ANGELES (AP) -- UCLA enters the women's NCAA Tournament with something to prove after a disappointing loss to Oregon in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.
The third-seeded Bruins (24-7) will host 14th-seeded American on Saturday in the first round of the Kansas City Region, the first-ever matchup between the teams.
UCLA made the Sweet 16 the past two seasons and hopes to get deeper in the tournament this year. But the loss to Oregon showed success is not a certainty for the ninth-ranked Bruins.
''I think that the reality is baskets are harder to come by this time of year,'' UCLA coach Cori Close said Friday. ''You know statistically in the NCAA Tournament, everybody's point totals go down by about 10 to 12 points per game. ... You have to be able to rely on your defense.''
The Eagles were among the top defensive teams in the Patriot League, allowing opponents just 57.4 points per game. American (26-6) punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament after earning its second Patriot League title in four years with a 58-49 win over Navy.
Saturday's other game is a matchup between teams that had to fly to Los Angeles even though they're only a three-hour drive from each other's home arenas: sixth-seeded Iowa (24-7) and 11th-seeded Creighton (18-12).
''I saw a tweet that said something about, 'Why don't you two just meet halfway in Des Moines?''' Creighton forward Jaylyn Agnew said. ''But I think it's fun that we are able to come out here and play them.''
The Hawkeyes and Bluejays are familiar with each other from annual preseason scrimmages, although the two teams have not officially met on the court since the 2006-07 season, when Iowa won 75-69. The Hawkeyes lead the series 7-5.
''It's a great opportunity to come out here and play in this venue,'' Bluejays coach Jim Flanery said. ''It's pretty special.''
Some other things to know about the Los Angeles subregional:
KEY STAT: UCLA averages 75.1 points per game, while American scores 64.3. But the Eagles' defense allows five fewer points per game than the Bruins'.
CONTACT SPORT: Earlier this season, while recruiting in Chicago, Bluejays coach Jim Flanery got into a traffic collision with a taxi carrying Iowa coaches Lisa Bluder and Jan Jensen. ''This'll be another collision between Iowa and Creighton,'' Flanery said. ''I hope it turns out favorably for us.''
RARE MATCHUP: The last time American and UCLA met in any sport was in 1985 at the men's soccer national championship final. It's recorded as the longest soccer match in NCAA history after going into eight overtime periods. UCLA won 1-0.
WOODEN'S LEGACY: Two players in the Los Angeles subregional are up for the John Wooden award, commemorating the renowned UCLA coach. UCLA senior Jordin Canada is nominated as well as University of Iowa junior Megan Gustafson, who was named Big Ten Conference Player of the Year.