No. 23 UCLA Hosts UC Irvine On Wednesday
Nov. 28, 2005
Bruins Host UC Irvine Wednesday -- The 23rd-ranked (AP) UCLA women's basketball team (2-2) will host UC Irvine (0-4) in a mid-week matchup on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 pm in Pauley Pavilion.
On Air -- 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. Marcus will be joined on Wednesday by former UCLA water polo star and 2000 U.S. Olympic medalist Natalie Golda.
Bruins Return To AP Rankings -- After upsetting 11th-ranked Georgia, 84-64, and then defeating Charlotte, 87-71, the next day, UCLA jumped into the AP Top 25 at the No. 23 position. It is UCLA's first appearance in the rankings this season (the Bruins were the top unranked team receiving votes in earlier polls this season) and the first since Jan. 17, 2005. The Bruins were ranked by AP for eight weeks in 2004-05.
About UC Irvine -- UC Irvine is coached by Molly Tuter, a former UCLA assistant (1998-2000) who is in her first full season as the head coach. Tuter became the Anteaters' interim head coach after Mark Adams resigned on Dec. 28, 2004. She led the team to the Big West Tournament quarterfinals, and the Anteaters went 8-14 under her direction after starting the year 0-7. Tuter was officially hired as the head coach on Mar. 14, 2005. This season, the Anteaters are off to an 0-4 start and are allowing an average of 88 points per game. Angie Ned, a pre-season All-Big West selection, leads UC Irvine in scoring with a 9.5 average.
Looking Ahead -- UCLA will hit the road this weekend for a pair of games against Clemson (1-5) and 20th-ranked Oklahoma (5-1). The Bruins will first visit Clemson, SC to face the Tigers on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 pm ET before traveling to Norman, OK to take on the Sooners on Monday, Dec. 5 at 7 pm CT. Both games will be audio broadcast live on UCLABruins.com via UCLA All-Access.
Willis Named Pac-10 Player of the Week -- Senior guard Lisa Willis earned her first career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this week, being selected after her Tournament MVP performance at the LMU Thanksgiving Classic. Willis averaged 25 points in the tournament and shot an astounding 71.4% (20-28) from the field during the two games. She connected on 60% (6-10) of her three-pointers in the tournament. With 1,192 career points, she needs just eight more to total 1,200 in her career, a total only 14 other UCLA women have ever reached.
UCLA Wins LMU/Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic -- The Bruins won the Loyola Marymount/Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic after defeating Charlotte, 87-71, in the Championship game. Senior guard Lisa Willis, who was named the Tournament MVP after averaging 25 points in the two games, led all players with 21 points and five steals. Noelle Quinn recorded her second double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Lindsey Pluimer and Amanda Livingston also scored in double-figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Bruins shot over 50% for the second consecutive game, hitting 33-62 shots from the field (53.2%). They also won the battle of the boards, 40-30. Senior guard Nikki Blue was also named to the All-Tournament team.
Bruins Stun Georgia With 84-64 Beating -- With all five starters scoring in double figures, the Bruins rolled to an 84-64 upset victory over 11th-ranked Georgia in the first game of the LMU/Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament. Lisa Willis led all players with 29 points, and the Bruins shot 54.5% from the field while holding the Lady Bulldogs to just over 40% (40.9%). UCLA used big scoring spurts to take the clear advantage in the game, going on an 11-2 run to end the first half and outscoring Georgia 12-2 to start the second half. The Lady Bulldogs never got closer than 18 points after that run.
BYU Bests Bruins in Home Opener -- Nikki Blue led four Bruins in double figures with 19 points, but it was not enough to best BYU, which handed UCLA a 71-67 setback in the home opener. Neither team led by more than nine points in the contest in which there were 11 lead changes and five ties. The Cougars controlled the boards, 52-27, to help offset 26 turnovers. UCLA misfired on four three-point attempts in the final 40 seconds which would have tied the game at 70 and fell to 0-2 on the year.
Bruins Fall to Defending National Champs in Season Opener -- Baylor defeated the Bruins, 93-85, in Waco, TX despite 22 points from Lisa Willis and 20 from Noelle Quinn. Baylor led for almost the entire game, but not by more than six points in the first half and had a 47-43 advantage at the break. The Lady Bears opened up their first double-digit lead of the contest, 79-69, at the 5:03 mark of the second half and built it up to as many as 14, 88-74 with 2:20 to play. UCLA battled back to close the gap to seven, 92-85, on a three-point shot by Willis with 15 seconds remaining. UCLA then the stole the ball in the Baylor backcourt, but a Tierra Henderson three-point attempt did not fall, and UCLA was forced to foul with seven seconds to play. Baylor hit one free throw to make the final score 93-85.
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.
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.
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.
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 from last season's 16-12 team which finished sixth (10-8) 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 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.
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.
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.