UCLA Women's Basketball Summer Prospectus
July 29, 2004
Triple Threat Back for More - UCLA returns one of the finest backcourts in the nation with its Big Three of juniors Nikki Blue and Lisa Willis and sophomore Noelle Quinn, who combined to average 45.4 points, 18.7 rebounds, 8.4 steals, 10.2 assists a game in 2003-04 as the Bruins posted a 17-13 record and a third place (tied) finish in the Pacific-10 Conference ... The threesome finished the year with each player ranked amongst the Top 10 scorers in the Pac-10 conference (No. 6 Quinn-15.9, No. 7 Blue-15.2, No. 10 Willis-14.3) ... The trio also ranked amongst the Top 5 in the league in steals (No. 1 Willis-3.3, No. 2 Blue-2.9, No. 4 Quinn-2.2) ... In addition, they each ranked amongst the Top 15 in the conference in rebounding (No. 6 Quinn-7.7, No. 12 Blue-5.6, No. 15 Willis-5.4).
Incoming Recruits - Head coach Kathy Olivier signed two standouts for the 2004-05 season. Lauren Pedersen, a 5-10 guard from Brea-Olinda, CA High School, averaged 14.7 points per game last season. She helped lead her team to the CIF-Southern Section II-A championship and the Division II Southern California Regional semifinals. Lindsey Pluimer, a 6-3 forward from San Clemente, CA High School, averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last season. She was named a McDonald's All-American and played in the annual All-Star game. Pluimer was also selected the CIF-SS Division I-A Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. She was invited to the U.S. Women's Junior National team trials this summer.
Nikki Blue - Finished last season by scoring an NCAA-tournament school record total of 33 points against Minnesota ... Her two-year scoring average of 15.9 points per game ranks as the eighth-best ever a UCLA ... Selected to back-to-back Pac-10 All-Tournament teams ...Two-time first-team All-Pac-10 pick ... Her season total of 148 assists last year tied for seventh on the all-time school list ... Her total of 89 steals was the seventh-best in school history and ranked her 28th in the nation in steals per game (3.0) ... She finished the year ranked among the conference leaders in steals-2nd (2.97), assists-3rd (4.93), scoring-7th (15.2) and rebounding-12th (5.6) ... Had 12 games when she totaled at least 14 points and five assists ... Averaged 6.4 assists per game over the last 10 contests of the regular season.
Noelle Quinn - The Pac-10 Freshman of the Year averaged 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game over the last 11 contests of the season while shooting 87% from the free throw line ... On Feb. 19 at Cal, she became the first Bruin to record a triple-double (21 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) since Erica Gomez in the 1995-96 season ... Her 21 points in that contest gave her six-straight games with 20 or more points to set a school freshman record (Ann Meyers held the old mark at four) ...The last Bruin with more than five straight 20+ point games was Natalie Williams with eight in 1992-93 ... Quinn scored 31 points vs. Arizona on Feb. 12, the fourth-best freshman total in school history ... She connected on 30 straight free throws during the season to fall just shy of the school and Pac-10 record (32 by Michelle Greco in 2002-03 is school record; 33 is Pac-10 mark) ... Named Pac-10 Player of the Week twice during the month of February ... Scored in double digits in the final 21 games of the year and the led the team with 24 double digit games on the season ... Led the team with eight double-doubles.
Lisa Willis - Averaged 16.1 points per game over the last 11 contest of the season ... Led the Pac-10 Conference and ranked 11th in the nation in steals (3.3) per game ... Set a school single-season record for three-point shots made with 70 and moved into second place on the school career list with 116 treys ... Her total of 100 steals, a sophomore record, tied for the third-highest total in UCLA history ... The 100 steals also tied for the third-most ever by a Pac-10 conference player ... Her two-year three-point shooting percentage total of .359 is the fifth-best of all-time at the school ... Scored a career-best 31 points at California and recorded eight steals (tied for eighth-best all-time at UCLA) ... Had 13 games last season when she totaled at least 15 points and five rebounds ... Made at least three treys in 11 contests last season ... Totaled at least four steals in 11 games a year ago.
Team Headlines - The Bruins went 17-13 overall last season and return seven players who saw action in at least 18 games each, including five with starting experience from a year ago ... UCLA won seven of its last eight conference games to finish in a tie for third in the Pac-10 with an 11-7 mark (its highest conference finish since winning the Pac-10 title in 1998-99) ... The team advanced to the NCAA tournament for the eighth time overall last season and the first time since the 2000 tournament... UCLA's defense allowed 63.8 points per game in 03-04 to rank as the third-lowest mark in school history and the lowest since the 1976-77 season (59.7) ...The Bruins ranked tied for seventh nationally in steals (12.3), and the total of 369 steals ranked as the eighth-best total in school history... Opponents scored 60 points or less in 13 games, and the Bruins gave up more than 66 points in regulation just seven times ... The opponent shooting percentage of .410 ranked as the fifth-lowest in school history ... The team finished the season outrebounding 14 of the last 21 opponents ... The total of 150 made three-point shots was the most in school history ... UCLA led the Pac-10 in steals and turnover margin ... Over the last 11 games, the team shot 81% from the free throw line ... The season free throw percentage of .707 ranks as the fifth-best in school history ... The 11 home wins marked the most since the 1998-99 team won 13 ... The 8,094 fans attending the USC game marked the second-highest total attendance ever at a regular season Bruin contest.
Individual Headlines - Noelle Quinn and Nikki Blue each earned first-team all-conference honors ... Quinn became just the third Bruin freshman to be named first-team all-conference (joining Maylana Martin in 1996-97 and Nikki Blue in 2002-03) and only the eighth in conference history ... Quinn was also named Conference Freshman of the Year, becoming the fourth Bruin to earn the honor (Maylana Martin-1997, Erica Gomez-1996, Molly Tideback -1989) ... Lisa Willis, the only Bruin to start all 30 games, earned honorable mention all-conference honors in her first season as a starter.
Pitts' Rehab on Track for Return in Fall - Forward Julia Pitts has been rehabbing her injured knee and is on schedule to return to the court in time for the start of practice in October. Pitts suffered a torn meniscus in her left knee last season and had surgery on Feb. 12, 2004. She is expected to make a full recovery. Pitts played in 18 games last season and started nine times.
Bruins Sign Top Recruiting Class - Head coach Kathy Olivier signed two standouts for the 2004-05 season - Lauren Pedersen, a 5-10 guard from Brea-Olinda High School, averaged 14.7 points per game last season. Her team won the Century League with a perfect 10-0 mark and finished with a 26-5 overall record. She scored a high of 27 points versus Canyon High School and had a team-high 15 in a win over San Clemente High. Pedersen helped lead her team to the CIF-Southern Section II-A championship and the Division II Southern California Regional semifinals. She was selected the CIF-SS II-A Player of the Year, the MVP of the Century League and to the All-Orange County team the past three seasons. As a junior, she averaged 13.9 points, 5.2 assists, 4.6 steals and 4.0 rebounds per contest. She was ranked by one publication as one of the top 60 recruits in the nation.
Coach Olivier says --- 'Lauren has a great knowledge and sense of the game and uses it to excel. She anticipates well and is a serious scoring threat from the perimeter. She will play the one or two guard position for us.'
Lindsey Pluimer, a 6-3 forward from San Clemente, CA High School, averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last season. Her team won the South Coast League with a 10-0 mark and posted a 23-5 overall record. She scored at least 20 points in 20 games as a senior, including a school record total of 42 in a game against Canyon Springs. Pluimer set school records for career scoring (2,584 points), single-season scoring (764), most rebounds in a season (364), most blocks in a season (136) and highest scoring average. She was named a McDonald's All-American and played in the annual All-Star game. Pluimer was also selected the CIF-SS Division I-A Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. She was a fourth-team Parade Magazine All-America pick. This summer, she was selected to tryout for the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Trials. As a junior, she averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots per game. She was considered by some publications to be among the top 35 recruits in the nation.
Coach Olivier says -- 'Lindsey has played against a high level of competition for a long time. I expect that she will be ready to step in and contribute right away at a forward position. Lindsey can score down low and from the perimeter. Her long arms are a great asset on defense.'
'We are very excited to add this pair of highly skilled recruits to our group of returning players. We competed with many of the other top programs across the country and came out on top. Each of these players will be able to make their mark individually and with the team.'
Quoting Coach Olivier on the Bruin Team -
'The excitement from our finish to last season has not gone away,' said UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier. 'We jelled as a team about midway through last season and came on strong during the final 10 games to secure an NCAA bid. It was fun to watch the team grow comfortable with their roles last season and start to enjoy consistent success. Now we feel there is an excellent opportunity to build on it and have a really special season in 2004-05. '
'This team will have as much athletic talent as we have ever had in my time at UCLA and also has experience on its side. We will miss the leadership and production of Jamila Veasley, Whitney Jones and Gennifer Arranaga, but we add a couple of outstanding recruits. The two newcomers come from highly successful programs and will fit in nicely with our veterans. In addition, we expect Julia Pitts to return to health and give us a lift on the inside.'
'I am counting on the junior class, as a whole, to provide points, defense and leadership once again this season. They gained a lot from their successes of last year. Lisa Willis stepped it up in a big way, both offensively and defensively. Nikki Blue proved last season that she is a complete player who can lead a team in any number of ways. Noelle Quinn became one of the steadiest, spectacular freshmen in Bruin history and provided leadership beyond her years.'
'Once again we are playing a high-quality pre-season schedule which includes games with Texas, Purdue, Illinois, Ohio State and a trip to the Miami, FL tournament. There is no better way to help prepare for what I see as one of the most competitive Pac-10 races in years. The conference tournament should once again be one of the most exciting events in the nation.'
TOMORROW | 7:30pm PTLive