UCLA Women To Battle USC At Sports Arena Saturday

Jan. 17, 2006

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Cross-Town Rivals Face Off Saturday At 1 pm -- The UCLA women's basketball team, winners of three of its last four games, (10-7, 5-3 in the Pac-10) will battle cross-town rival USC (12-5, 6-2) on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 1 pm in the Sports Arena. The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.

Lexus Gauntlet Points On The Line -- Five points towards the annual Lexus Gauntlet battle are on the line for the winner of Saturday's game. The Lexus Gauntlet is a year-long, all-sport competition between UCLA and USC. UCLA won last year's Lexus Gauntlet Trophy with a dominating 70-40 victory. USC entered the week leading this season's battle, 25-10, with the men's basketball teams playing on Wednesday for five points.

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.

In addition, the Bruins' next three home games will be available on live streaming video on UCLA All-Access via UCLABruins.com. The subscription fee for UCLA All-Access is $6.95/month.

Willis, All-Time Pac-10 Steals Leader, Ranks Fifth in the Nation -- With her first of four steals against Arizona two weeks ago, Lisa Willis became the Pac-10's all-time leader in the category. Willis was tied for first with USC's Tammy Story (1989-92) on the Pac-10 career steals list and now has 323. Willis' average of 3.9 steals per game ranks fifth in the nation entering this week's action.

By The Numbers (Team) -- The combined record (as of 1/17) of the opponents UCLA has lost to this season is 81-27 ... The Bruins have led at the half in all 10 wins this season ... Eight of the Bruins' 10 wins have come in Los Angeles (2-0 at LMU, 6-1 in Pauley Pavilion ), with the two road wins coming at Clemson and at Washington State ... UCLA has won all seven games this season in which it has outrebounded the opponent ... In the 10 games it has won, the Bruins have shot .496 from the field (314-633), while opponents have shot .388 in the games (233-600) ... In the seven losses, the Bruins have shot .407 from the field (192-472), while the opponents have shot .475 (211-444) ... Five of UCLA's seven losses have been by single-digit margins ... In those five games, the Bruins lost by a combined total of 34 points (6.8 average) ... UCLA's combined margin of victory in the 10 wins is 185 points (18.5 points/game) ... UCLA entered the week ranked ninth in the nation in scoring offense (78.9), 20th in field goal percentage (.458), tied for 14th in assists (17.5) and tied for 22nd in steals (11.6).

By The Numbers (Players) -- Lisa Willis entered the week ranked 34th in the nation in scoring (18.6) and fifth in steals per game (3.9) ... Nikki Blue was 30th in the nation in assists (5.4) ... With 24 points and six assists against Washington, Blue hit two milestones, surpassing the 1,600-point and 500-assist plateaus ... Blue is only the eighth UCLA woman to score over 1,600 career points (she now has 1,608) and the fourth to record 500 assists (now 505) ... Blue moved ahead of Dora Dome into eighth place on the all-time Bruin scoring list and leapfrogged into 26th on the all-time Pac-10 list (25th is Teresa Palmisano of Cal-1610, 24th is Megan Franza of Washington-1612, 23rd is Elizabeth Pickney of Arizona-1620, 22nd is Jennifer Azzi of Stanford-1634, 21st is Trisha Stevens, Stanford-1649) ... Blue is also moving up the Pac-10 career steals chart, checking in at No. 4 with 298 ... With 12 more steals, Blue could surpass the Pac-10 career leader heading into the season, Tammy Story, putting her and Willis at 1-2 all-time ... Ortal Oren has hit 5-10 three-point shots and has scored at least two points in each of her last 11 games ... Chinyere Ibekwe is shooting 23-for-40 from the field in her last eight games and is averaging 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in Conference play ... Tierra Henderson is shooting .889 (8-9) from the field in her last six games.

About USC -- USC enters the week in second place in the Pac-10 with a 6-2 league record, having won its last four games. The Trojans are 7-1 this season at home with the lone loss coming to top-10 ranked Ohio State. Junior Shay Murphy, this week's Pac-10 Player of the Week, has scored in double figures in the last 11 straight games. USC leads the Pac-10 in rebounding offense (41.9) and is tied for first in steals (11.65). The Trojans rank 19th in the nation with 7.1 made three-point shots per game.

The Series With USC -- USC leads the all-time series by a count of 35-27. The two teams have split the season series in each of the last three seasons, with the home team winning each time. The last time the Bruins won at USC was on Feb. 20, 1999, by a score of 82-64.

Lisa Willis scored 25 points in last season's 80-77 loss at USC on Feb. 26. The Bruins missed some critical free throws down the stretch, and Nikki Blue's last second-shot attempt to tie the game failed to drop. In the first meeting of last season on Dec. 28, UCLA led by as many as 14 in the first half before surviving a series of last-second shots by the Trojans to post a 62-61 win in Pauley. Noelle Quinn led four Bruin starters in double figures with 16 points.

Jan. 14 - Bruins Down Cougars - UCLA posted a 73-63 win at Washington State behind 23 points and 10 rebounds by Noelle Quinn. UCLA led 34-31 at the half and gradually built the lead up during the second half. Lisa Willis and Lindsey Pluimer each added 12 points.

Jan. 12 - #25 Washington Races Past UCLA -- UCLA was unable to capitalize on season-high efforts from Nikki Blue (24 points) and Lindsey Pluimer (19 points), falling to 25th-ranked Washington, 96-75. The Huskies, who won their 12th straight home game, outrebounded the Bruins by a 49-33 margin and used a 20-2 run early in the second half to pull away.

Blue, Willis Up For Senior CLASS Award -- Senior guards Nikki Blue and Lisa Willis are amongst 30 players up for the 2005-06 Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award. The award is given annually to the nation's senior player-of-the-year for NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball.

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, Willis Garner Pre-Season Honors -- Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis were all selected as pre-season Naismith Trophy nominees. Blue and Quinn were also amongst 30 players chosen to the pre-season Wooden Award watch list, and Blue was named as one of 25 pre-season candidates for the State Farm Wade Trophy for Division IA Player of the Year. In addition, the Women's Basketball News Service selected Blue to its All-America first team and Quinn to its third team, and Blue (for the third time) and Quinn (for the second time) were named to the pre-season All-Pac-10 team.

Pre-Season Prognosticators -- The Bruins were picked No. 16 by the Lindy's Magazine, No. 21 by ESPN.com and No. 22 by the Women's Basketball News Service. In the pre-season Pac-10 polls, the media picked the Bruins to finish second and the coaches selected UCLA to finish fourth.

The Triple Threat -- Coach Kathy Olivier returns 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. 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 surgery (arthroscopic) 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.

Willis Wins Gold -- Lisa Willis, the school's all-time three-point shot leader, 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 in a 87-57 win over Sutherland. Willis scored 34 points in an 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, with Lisa leading the way at 22.5, Noelle at 20.5.

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