UCLA Women's Basketball Opens Season At Defending NCAA Champion Baylor
Nov. 14, 2005
Bruins At Baylor on Nov. 18 -- The Bruins begin the regular season with a game at defending national champion Baylor (1-0, ranked No. 6 by AP and No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll) on Friday, Nov. 18. The game will be nationally televised by FSN, beginning at 5 p.m. Pacific time.
On Air -- The Bruins' Nov. 18 game against Baylor will be televised live on Fox Sports Net at 5 p.m. PT. In Los Angeles, it will air on Fox Sports Net West 2, as well as on Fox College Sports. All of UCLA's games in 2005-06 will be audio broadcast live on UCLA All-Access via UCLABruins.com. Play-by-play announcer Dave Marcus will begin coverage with The Bruins Countdown Show starting five minutes before the hour.
About Baylor -- 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 in 04-05. The Lady Bears lost eight players from last year's championship squad but retain the services of All-American Sophia Young, a 6-1 senior forward who averaged 18.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season.
Baylor opened the season on Nov. 13 with an 84-72 comeback victory over No. 8 Georgia. The Bears rallied from an 18 point deficit in the second half to win their national-best 21st game in a row. Young led the team with a career-high tying 30 points and had 14 rebounds for her 45th career double-double.
Series vs. Baylor -- Baylor leads the all-time series against UCLA, 3-2, and has won the last two meetings, 89-77 in Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 19, 2002, and 92-59 on Dec. 16, 2001 in Waco. UCLA's last victory came on Dec. 17, 1996, 58-55 in Pauley Pavilion.
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 in which UCLA has faced a post-season tournament team in its season opener. In 2003, the Bruins bested UNLV in Pauley Pavilion; 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 in Lubbock, TX; and in 1998, UCLA lost at No. 17 Notre Dame.
Bruins All-Time vs. Defending NCAA Champions -- Friday's game against Baylor will mark the seventh time UCLA has ever played the defending NCAA champion during the regular season. The Bruins have won two of those games against defending NCAA champions, defeating 1984 champion USC twice the following season - 77-73 at home on Feb. 6, 1985 and 57-56 at the Sports Arena on Mar. 7, 1985. Other defending champions UCLA has faced are USC in 1984 and Tennessee in 1987 and 1988.
UCLA-Baylor Game To Feature Three Wooden Award Candidates -- Three of the nation's top 30 players will be showcased on Friday when UCLA faces Baylor. Bruin guards Nikki Blue and Noelle Quinn and Baylor forward Sophia Young are all nominees for the 2005-06 Wooden Award.
Ringel Returns To Home State -- Senior forward Brittany Ringel will make the trip to her home state of Texas for the first time with the UCLA basketball team. Ringel was an all-area player at Trinity Valley HS in Arlington. As a UCLA volleyball player, she played in Austin against the University of Texas as a junior, and the Bruins traveled to College Station in her senior year (2004) for the Texas A&M Invitational. Ringel had not yet joined the Bruin basketball team the last time they played at Baylor in 2001-02, and she was still playing volleyball in 2003-04 when the Bruins played at Texas. This is Ringel's first full-time season with the Bruin basketball team.
Looking Ahead -- UCLA returns home to Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday, Nov. 22 to play against BYU at 7:00 p.m. 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).
Bruins Use Balanced Scoring To Win Both Exhibition Games -- Thirteen of UCLA's 14 uniformed players scored in both exhibition games as the Bruins swept through the pre-season with wins over Love and Basketball (86-75) and Play Mode (103-62). In the win over Love and Basketball, nine players scored seven points or more, with junior guard Noelle Quinn leading the way with 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Lisa Willis, Chinyere Ibekwe and Ashlee Trebilcock scored nine points apiece, and Nikki Blue had seven points with nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. Lindsey Pluimer tied with Quinn for the team lead in rebounds with eight. Against Play Mode, four players were in double-figures for scoring, with Quinn and Willis tied for the team lead with 21 points apiece. Pluimer had 17 points on 5-7 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds, and Amanda Livingston scored 10 on 5-6 shooting. Quinn again led the team in rebounding with nine boards. Willis had six rebounds and was 5-7 from the three-point line.
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.
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. The Bruins finished just out of the Top 25 in both the AP and USA Today polls, earning the most votes outside of the ranked teams.
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. Blue and Quinn were also selected to the pre-season All-Pac-10 team. This is Blue's third consecutive pre-season honor and Quinn's second.
Media Tabs Bruins for Second in the Pac-10 -- The Bruins were selected to finish second in the media poll announced at the annual conference media day. Stanford, with 10 first place votes, was picked to finish first with 127 total points. UCLA had two first place votes and 109 points. USC had one first place vote and 103 points. Arizona State had 101 points followed by Oregon (66), Arizona (59), Cal (43), Washington State (25) and Oregon State (17).
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).
2005-06 Outlook -- Coach Kathy Olivier is set to return one of the nation's finest backcourts with its 'Triple Threat' of Blue, Quinn and 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.
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 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.
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.