Women's Basketball To Tip Off 05-06 Season With Nov. 6 Exhibition Game

Oct. 31, 2005

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Bruins Face Love and Basketball In First Exhibition -- The Bruins will play for the first time in 2005-06 on Sunday, Nov. 6 in a 2:00 pm exhibition matchup in Pauley Pavilion against Love and Basketball, a group of former local collegiate players. Amongst the players on the Love and Basketball squad are former Bruins Natalie Nakase (2000-03), Marie Philman (1997-2000) and Sandra Van Embricqs (1987-90). Love and Basketball's head coach is former UCLA assistant coach Colleen Matsuhara. Love and Basketball won its first game on its exhibition tour, defeating Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 30, 63-51. The team will also face Long Beach State, Texas Tech and Arizona State prior to playing the Bruins.

Looking Ahead -- UCLA will host Play Mode on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 2:00 pm in Pauley Pavilion for its final exhibition tune-up.

The Bruins could open up the regular season facing four straight teams which advanced to post-season play a year ago (Baylor and Georgia were in the NCAA tournament; BYU and Charlotte played in the WNIT).

The Bruins open the regular season on Nov. 18 at defending national champion Baylor at 5:00 p.m. Pacific in a game that will be televised live on Fox Sports Net. UCLA returns home to Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 22 to play against BYU at 7:00 p.m.

2005-06 Outlook -- Coach Kathy Olivier is set to return one of the nation's finest backcourts with its 'Triple Threat' of Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis. The threesome combined to average 50.2 points, 19.0 rebounds, 10.5 steals and 11.9 assists a game in 2004-05. Overall, 11 letterwinners (all five starters) are back for the Bruins from last season's 16-12 team which finished 10-8 and sixth in the Pac-10 conference. Three talented newcomers have joined the mix to step up the competition level at several positions.

Blue and Willis ranked fourth and fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring last season. Quinn was on track to join them until she was sidelined by a knee injury in mid-January. The pair ranked first and second in the conference in steals. Willis was ranked sixth in the nation in steals and Blue checked in at 11th. Willis ranked No.1 in the Pac-10 in three-point field goals made and tied for 25th in the nation. Blue was second in the conference in assists and 12th in the nation in that category.

Quinn, who had been selected Pac-10 Player of the Week three times earlier in 2004-05, saw her season end early when she landed awkwardly on her knee while driving the lane for a shot against Arizona. She underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left knee a few days later and sat out the remainder of the year. The Bruins went 5-7 the rest of the way.

Forwards Amanda Livingston and Lindsey Pluimer are the other returning starters. Livingston ranked eighth in the conference in offensive rebounds and ninth in field goal percentage. Pluimer earned first-team All-Pac-10 All-Freshman honors. She ranked sixth in the conference in rebounding and 18th in scoring.

Seniors Emma Tautolo and Ortal Oren will look to expand their roles at forward and guard, respectively. Senior volleyball standout Brittany Ringel is concentrating solely on basketball for the first time in her career.

Juniors Consuelo Lezcano and Shaina Zaidi each return with a year of experience under their belts. Lezcano saw action in 26 games and showed outstanding promise. Zaidi was in action for 13 games last season and provides another solid ballhandling option.

Redshirt junior forward Julia Pitts returns after taking last year off to recover from multiple knee surgeries. Sophomore guard Lauren Pedersen started 11 games down the stretch and finished third on the team with 20 three-point shots.

Coach Olivier welcomes three outstanding newcomers to the team. Parade Magazine All-America guard Ashlee Trebilcock (Hart HS) averaged 22.1 points per game as a prep senior. Guard Tierra Henderson (Muir HS) averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.0 steals last season. 6-4 post player Chinyere Ibekwe averaged 23.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots a game as a high school senior.

What's Returning ? -- 99% of the total field goals made; 100% of the games started; 99% of the minutes played; 98% of the rebounds pulled down; 100% of the three-point field goals made; 99% of the assists handed out; 100% of the steals made; 98% of the blocked shots made.

Team Notes -- Defensively, the team ranked 11th nationally in steals per game (11.96). The opponent shooting percentage of .400 ranked as the fourth-lowest in school history. UCLA led the the Pac-10 in steals and turnover margin for the second year in a row.

Offensively, UCLA netted a school record .717 of its free throws. The team made 148 three-point shots, the second-best total in school history, and shot .340 from beyond the arc, the fifth-best school mark. The scoring average of 72.0 points per game rated as the 18th-best total in the nation.

Willis Wins Gold -- Lisa Willis, the school's all-time three-point shot leader with 186, earned a gold medal as a member of the USA team at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey this past summer. Willis totaled 13 points, including three three-pointers in the gold medal game against Serbia-Montenegro. She also had 13 points and grabbed five rebounds in the semifinal win over Russia. Willis scored eight points in the quarterfinal round win over Taiwan. She totaled eight points and five steals in a win over China. The senior had eight points in the opening round win over the Czech Republic.

Bruins Enjoy Summer in Australia -- The Bruins spent June 24-July 2 in Australia and went 3-1 on its tour. Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis each scored 22 points to lead the way for the Bruins in a 87-57 win over Sutherland. Willis scored 34 points in the overtime win against the Junior National team. Willis had 21, Lindsey Pluimer added 19 and Quinn totaled 16 in a 83-70 win over Bankstown. Quinn led the Bruins with 27 points in a 81-72 loss to Townsville. Willis and Quinn each averaged 20-plus points per game in Australia, with Willis leading the way with a 22.5 ppg average. Quinn averaged 20.5 ppg.

Bruins in the Pre-Season Polls -- The Bruins were picked No. 16 by the Lindy's College Basketball Magazine (ranked opponents are Georgia-4, Baylor-5, Stanford-11, Oklahoma-20, USC-21,Arizona State-24). The Women's Basketball News Service selected UCLA No. 22. ESPN.com has UCLA at No. 21.

Blue, Quinn Garner Pre-Season Honors -- Nikki Blue was selected to the first team and Noelle Quinn to the third team by the Women's Basketball News Service. Blue was selected as one of 25 candidates for the State Farm Wade Trophy for Division IA Player of the Year. Blue and Quinn were among 30 players chosen to the pre-season Wooden Award watch list.

Coaches Pick Bruins To Finish Fourth In Pac-10 -- The Pac-10 women's basketball coaches picked UCLA to finish fourth in the conference in the annual pre-season poll. Stanford, with nine first-place votes, was the solid choice to finish first. The Cardinal (81 points) were followed by USC (one first-place vote, 70), Arizona State (62), UCLA (60), Oregon (43), Arizona (42), Washington (36), California (30), Washington State (16) and Oregon State (10).

UCLA In Season Openers -- UCLA is 21-10 all-time in season openers. The Bruins lost last season's opener against TCU (65-60) in the first round of the Miami Jam tournament. This year's opener with Baylor (defending national champion) marks the eighth consecutive year UCLA has faced a post-season tournament team in its season opener. In 2003, the Bruins bested UNLV in Pauley; in 2002, the Bruins lost at Hawaii; in 2001, the Bruins defeated Liberty at the Michigan State tournament; in 2000, the Bruins lost to No. 5 Duke in Albuquerque, NM; in 1999, the Bruins defeated No. 8 North Carolina 69-65 in Lubbock, TX; and in 1998, UCLA lost at No. 17 Notre Dame, 99-82.

Bruins to Open Season In Texas at Baylor -- UCLA will meet defending national champion Baylor in Waco, TX to open the 2005-06 season. Baylor went 33-3 last season and defeated Michigan State, 84-62, for the NCAA title. In the tournament, the Lady Bears bested Illinois State, Oregon, Minnesota, North Carolina, LSU and Michigan State on their run to the championship. Baylor won its last 20 games of the season and all 14 home contests it played last season.

Home-Opener -- UCLA will host Brigham Young on November 22 in the home opener. BYU went 19-11 last season and advanced to play in the NWIT, where it lost a first-round matchup with Gonzaga.

San Jose to Host Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament -- The 2005-06 season will conclude with the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament to be played once again this season at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA on March 3-6. All conference schools will participate in the tournament, with the winner receiving the conference's automatic bid to the 2006 NCAA tournament. The team that finishes the regular season atop the Pac-10 standings is the conference champion.

Challenging Schedule Ahead For Bruins -- Once again, UCLA's schedule will be a challenging one, as the Bruins could play the first four games of the regular season against teams which advanced to post-season play last season (Baylor, Georgia - NCAA and Charlotte, BYU - WNIT). The Bruins will face local teams from UC Irvine, Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara. A two-game road trip takes them to Clemson and Oklahoma. In addition, the Bruins will face the usual Pac-10 Conference foes.

Player Bio Updates

#00 Ortal Oren -- Saw action in 28 games last season with her first two career starts (at Ohio State, at Stanford) and averaged 3.6 points and 2.0 rebounds.

#1 Ashlee Trebilcock -- Averaged 22.1 points per game as a prep senior ... Earned second-team Parade Magazine All-America honors ... One of 20 high school seniors invited to the WBCA HS All-America game at the 2005 Final Four ... Invited to try out for the USA Basketball Junior National team.

#2 Tierra Henderson -- Averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.0 steals last season ... Named first-team All-CIF III-A ... Ranked 13th in the Southern Section in steals.

#3 Shaina Zaidi -- Saw action in 13 games last season ... Had a best of 10 points against USC.

#11 Julia Pitts -- Redshirted in 2004-05 after undergoing knee surgery during each of her first two seasons as a Bruin ... Returned to action during the summer tour of Australia ... Saw action in 18 games and was a starter in nine games in 2003-04 ... Averaged 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game ... Scored 13 points against both Fresno State and Cal State Northridge ... Her season came to an early end when she had knee surgery on Feb. 12, 2004 to repair torn meniscus in her left knee ... Starter in all eight games she appeared in as a true freshman and was averaging 10.0 ppg and 3.7 rpg while shooting .674 from the field when she went down with a season-ending left knee injury against Baylor on Dec. 19, 2002.

#14 Lindsey Pluimer -- Starter in all 28 games ... Named to the first-team Pac-10 All-Freshman squad ... Scored in double figures in 14 games ... Her 17 blocked shots and 180 rebounds ranked ninth on the all-time school freshman list ... Had a career-high 22 points against Pepperdine ... Ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in rebounding and 18th in scoring...Invited to trials for the USA Basketball Junior National team.

#20 Lauren Pedersen -- Saw action in all 28 games and averaged 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game ... Starter in 11 games ... Hit 20 three-points shots, third on the team.

#21 Brittany Ringel -- Former starter at outside hitter on the volleyball team ... Will be playing basketball full-time for the first time in her Bruin career.

#22 Consuelo Lezcano -- Saw action in 26 games last season ... Averaged 1.7 points and 1.2 rebounds ... Had best of nine points at Washington State.

#23 Chinyere Ibekwe -- Averaged 23.2 points, 3.7 blocks and 12.9 rebounds per game last season ... Ranked fifth in the LA City in points and blocked shots ... First-team CIF All-City selection.

#31 Amanda Livingston -- Starter in all 28 games ... Ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds (2.44) and ninth in field goal percentage (.470)...Scored a career-best 23 points at Cal.

#32 Nikki Blue -- 2005-06 pre-season Wooden Award All-American ... Named to the 2005-06 pre-season Wade Trophy List ... Earned her third straight first-team All-Pac-10 honors ... Second Bruin to score over 1,300 points and hand out over 400 assists (Ann Meyers) ... Named honorable mention AP All-American after last season ... WBCA/Kodak All-Region 8 selection ... 10th on the all-time Pac-10 list in steals (258) ... Ranked 12th in the nation in assists ... Her 18.8 ppg average in Pac-10 games only led the league...Invited to the trials for the USA Basketball World University Games team...10th on the all-time school scoring list ... Sixth on the all-time school assist list ... Fourth on the all-time school steals list ... Fourth on the all-time school free throw list.

#40 Lisa Willis -- Starter in 58 straight games ... Spent the summer helping the USA win the gold medal at the World University Games ... First-team All-Pac-10 selection ... Ranked sixth in the nation in steals and 25th in the national in three-points shots per game ... Ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in both rebounding and scoring ...Had 26 double-figure scoring games...School's all-time three-point shot leader...Became the first player in school history to post back-to-back 100 steal seasons...18th on the school scoring list.

#44 Emma Tautolo -- Appeared in 27 games last season and averaged 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game ... Has seen action in 77 career games.

#45 Noelle Quinn -- 2005-06 pre-season Wooden Award All-American ... Earned three Pac-10 Player of the Week honors before injuring her knee on January 16 (underwent surgery on Jan. 19) ... Had 27 points and 11 rebounds in win over Texas ... Scored 23 in win over Purdue ... Missed the final 12 games of the season following knee surgery (left meniscus) ... Returned the action for the Bruins in the four-game summer tour of Australia and averaged 20.5 points per contest ... Named honorable mention All-Pac-10...Invited to the trials for the USA Basketball World University Games team.

Head Coach Kathy Olivier -- Now entering her 13th season (owns a 181-164 overall record) as UCLA head coach, Kathy Olivier has energized the program to reflect her own positive, upbeat and outgoing personality. The former standout player at Cal State Fullerton and UNLV has helped to produce two Pac-10 Players of the Year, three Pac-10 Freshman Players of the Year and a Pac-10 team championship. She is the only current Pac-10 coach to have as many as three freshmen named first-team All-Conference performers. From 1998-2000, she guided UCLA to a school-best three-straight NCAA tournament appearances and had the Bruins in the NCAA tournament again last season. Her teams have finished among the top four in the Pac-10 conference in five of the last eight seasons.

Interest in UCLA women's basketball has taken off to new levels under coach Olivier. The only six regular season crowds in school history of over 7,000 fans have come out to support the Bruins during her tenure. Her 2000 squad attracted a school record average of over 3,700 fans per game. Her 1999 Pac-10 championship squad drew a school record crowd of 9,530 for a home win over USC.

While her teams favor a running style on offense, defense has always been an Olivier strong point. Six of the all-time school top 10 marks for lowest opponent field goal percentages belong to Olivier-coached squads.

Quoting the Coach --

'I was proud of the way our starters stepped up their level of play in the absence of Noelle Quinn down the stretch,' says coach Olivier. 'Our returning players know they have to be primed to perform each and every time out if we are to have a special season. I liked the attitude we had on our trip to Australia. It was nice to see the girls come together as a group, both on and off the court. We add some outstanding recruits and welcome the return of Noelle and Julia Pitts to help us complete the puzzle nicely, giving us a little extra on the inside and on the outside.'

'Once again, we are playing a high-quality pre-season schedule which includes a number of games with teams which went on to the post-season (Baylor, BYU, Oklahoma, UC Santa Barbara, Georgia). There is no better way to prepare for the challenge of competing in the Pac-10. I think the league will be even deeper than it was a year ago. The conference tournament will once again be one of the nation's most exciting events.'

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