UCLA To Face Love & Basketball In Final Tune-Up For Regular Season
Nov. 5, 2007
DATE: Nov. 7, 2007
OPPONENT: Love & Basketball
SITE: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
TIP-OFF: 7:05 p.m.
TICKETS: $12 adults/$10 youth (Reserved), $8 adults/$6 youth (GA), UCLA Central Ticket Office (310-UCLA-WIN)
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)
Bruins Close Out Exhibition Play Wednesday
Fresh off a 94-82 exhibition win over Team Concept, the Bruins will take on Love & Basketball in their final exhibition game on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 pm. Love & Basketball is comprised of former collegiate standouts from the Southern California area, including USC's Denise Woods and Jessica Cheeks. The team is coached and managed by former UCLA assistant coach Colleen Matsuhara.
UCLA Wins Exhibition Opener vs. Team Concept
Four players scored in double figures, and 10 Bruins scored in all as UCLA defeated Team Concept on Nov. 1, 94-82. Sophomore guard Erica Tukiainen led all players with 19 points while shooting 5-6 from the three-point line. She also added seven rebounds. Senior forward Lindsey Pluimer recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Also scoring in double-figures were freshmen Regina Rogers (11 points) and Nina Earl (10 points). Starters Moniquee Alexander (7 points, 9 rebounds), Darxia Morris (8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Doreena Campbell (9 points, 3 assists, 0 turnovers) also had strong showings. Team Concept, which had three WNBA players on its roster, was led by former Bruin stars Noelle Quinn (13 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) and Nikki Blue (14 points, 5 assists).
Head coach Kathy Olivier welcomes back seven letterwinners (three starters) from last year's team and perhaps the deepest and most highly-regarded recruiting group in school history. The list of returnees includes three of the top five scorers, the top two shot blockers, two of the top three assist makers, three of the top four in steals, and two of the top three in rebounding average. There are three returning starters in the mix, and each ranked among the Pac-10 leaders in at least one statistical category in the 2006-07 season.
Leading returning scorer Lindsey Pluimer (15.5 ppg) tops the list of returning starters which includes forwards Chinyere Ibekwe (32 starts in 2006-07) and guard Tierra Henderson (31 starts in 2006-07). Pluimer ranked among the top 10 in the conference last season in six categories, including scoring with the ninth-best mark. Ibekwe ranked 11th in shooting percentage (.503) and offensive rebounds (2.78). Henderson led the team and ranked fourth in the conference in steals (2.09).
UCLA adds six freshmen in a class which was rated fourth-best in the nation by All-Star Girls Report and tied for eighth-best by HoopGurlz.com to the mix. The group includes forward Candice Brown of Bishop Amat HS from Riverside, CA; guard Doreena Campbell of Edison HS and Alexandria, VA; forward Nina Earl of Diamond Ranch HS and Pomona, CA; guard Darxia Morris from Pasadena, CA Muir HS; forward Christina Nzekwe from Seattle, WA Chief Sealth HS; Regina Rogers from Seattle, WA Chief Sealth HS.
The Bruins will play host to the past two NCAA championship teams when it welcomes 2005-06 title holder Maryland on Nov. 25 and 2006-07 champ Tennessee on Dec. 19 to Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins will battle five teams which won their conference or conference tournaments a year ago - Tennessee (SEC), BYU (Mountain West), UC Riverside (Big West), Stanford (Pac-10), Idaho State (Big Sky).
Nine opponents advanced to play in the NCAA Tournament in 2007 - Maryland, Idaho State, BYU, Tennessee, UC Riverside, Arizona State, Stanford, Cal, Washington. The Bruins could face four more opponents who played in the WNIT in 2007 - Rice, Nevada, San Diego, Oregon.
Beginning on the first of December with a game against Idaho State, the Bruins could face 10 teams in an 11-game stretch which advanced to post-season play during the 2006-07 season.
The Pac-10 women's basketball coaches picked UCLA to finish fifth in the conference in the annual pre-season poll. Stanford, with eight first-place votes, was the solid choice to finish first. The Cardinal (79 points) were followed by Arizona State (one first-place vote, 71), California (one first-place vote, 68), USC (56), UCLA (44), Oregon (34), Arizona (31), Oregon State (16), Washington State (10). The Pac-10 media picked UCLA to finish sixth, behind Stanford, Arizona State, California, USC and Washington. Trailing UCLA were Oregon, Arizona, Oregon State and Washington State.
CSTV.com selected UCLA as one of its five sleeper teams 'nobody wants to see on their schedule', and women's basketball expert Debbie Antonelli also called UCLA the 'surprise team out of the Pac-10' on the Shootaround with Beth and Debbie podcast.
Pluimer Powers Bruins
UCLA's lone senior, forward Lindsey Pluimer, will lead the 2007-08 Bruins. Pluimer, a two-time Academic All-District selection and a 2006-07 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, has started every game since her freshman season for a total of 92 career starts. In her career, she has averaged 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds and has improved her scoring average every season, jumping to an average of 15.5 points during her junior season. Pluimer is one of just seven Bruins to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 60 blocked shots for a career, and she is one of 16 Bruins to have scored at least 1,000 points and pulled down at least 500 rebounds for her career.
Pluimer is set to move up considerably in the UCLA record books. She currently ranks 20th in career scoring with 1,118 points and is 16 points away from 19th. Pluimer also has 583 career rebounds and needs just 33 to move into the Top 15. Fourteen more blocked shots will move her from eighth to seventh on the career list. Pluimer currently has 60.
56% of the total field goals made (525-943); 59% of the games started (95/160); 51% of the minutes played (3304/6422); 56% of the rebounds pulled down (635/1145); 40% of the three-point field goals made (52/131); 38% of the assists handed out (172/453); 62% of the steals made (151/244); 71% of the blocked shots made (64/90).
Two Bruins had name changes during the off-season. Guard Erica Latimer is now going by Erica Tukiainen (her mother's last name). Assistant coach Maylana Martin was married in August and is now going by Maylana Douglas.
After Wednesday's exhibition game with Love & Basketball, UCLA opens up the regular season on the road at Cal State Northridge (13-16 last season, tied for third in the Big West Conference) on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Matadome at 7:00 pm. The Bruins welcome Rice University (19-14 last season, tied for fourth in Conference USA) on Sunday, Nov. 18 in the home opener at 1:00 pm.
UCLA is 22-11 all-time in season openers. The Bruins defeated UC Santa Barbara last season in Pauley Pavilion by a score of 87-62.
First To 100 Jerseys
Several Bruin teams will be wearing special jerseys or patches in 2007-08 to commemorate UCLA being the First to 100 NCAA Championships. The women's basketball team will don the new jerseys that have a different-colored 'C' in UCLA. The 'C' signifies the Roman numeral for 100.
Player Bio Updates
#1 Nina Earl -- Came off the bench to score 10 points and also had five rebounds vs. Team Concept ... Totaled 2,291 points, 906 rebounds, 544 steals in four years at Diamond Ranch HS in Pomona, CA ... Averaged 21.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a senior ... Two-time CIF Player of the Year ... MVP of the City vs. CIF All-Star game.
#2 Tierra Henderson -- Scored seven points and had four assists in the exhibition opener ... Starter in 31 of the 32 games last season ... Ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in steals (2.09) ... Averaged 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds last season ... Her steals total of 67 ranked eighth on the all-time school list for the sophomore class ... Scored in double figures in five games and had 14 contests with at least six points.
Career Highs: Pts. 11 at Cal State Fullerton, 11/30/06; Reb. 8 v. Gonzaga, 11/24/06; Asst. 7 vs. Washington State, 3/2/07; Stls. 7 vs. Gonzaga, 11/24/06.
#3 Darxia Morris -- Starter for the exhibition opener and recorded eight points, five rebounds and four assists ... Played at Muir HS in Pasadena, CA ... Point guard who averaged 14.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists per game as a senior ... Two-time first-team all-CIF selection ... Pasadena Star-News Player of the Year for 2007.
#4 Christina Nzekwe -- Recorded five points and six boards in 13 quality minutes against Team Concept ... Played with fellow Bruin Regina Rogers at Chief Sealth HS in Seattle, WA ... Team won two State titles in 2005 and 2006 ... Averaged 10 points and 11 rebounds per contest as a senior ... Scored 15 points in the State 3A title game ... Honorable mention Street and Smith's All-American.
#5 Alexis Olivier -- Played in the first half of the exhibition game against Team Concept ... Saw action in three games in 2006-07 ... Earned a spot on the Director's Honor Roll in all three academic quarters to date.
Career Highs: Pts. n/a; Reb. n/a; Asst. n/a; Stl. n/a.
#10 Allison Taka -- Hit a three-pointer in seven minutes of play vs. Team Concept ... Appeared in eight games ... Earned a spot on the Director's Honor Roll in all three academic quarters.
Career Highs: Pts. 2, last vs. Washington State, 3/2/07; Reb. 1 v. UCSB, 11/12/06; Asst. 1, last at UC Irvine, 12/4/06; Stls. n/a.
#13 Erica Tukiainen -- Led all players with 19 points (7-12 shooting, 5-6 from three-point range) and also added seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in just 21 minutes ... Versatile wing player who saw action in all 32 games last season off the bench ... The former Erica Latimer took her mother's last name over the summer ... Hit 11 of 27 shots from three-point range ... Had two double digit scoring games (12 v. Cal and 11 v. USC) ... Played at least 10 minutes in 17 contests ... Earned a spot on the Director's Honor Roll in all three academic quarters.
Career Highs: Pts. 12 v. Cal, 12/20/06; Reb. 5 v. Stanford, 2/24/07; Asst. 2, last at Cal, 2/24/07; Stl. 2, last at Cal, 2/24/07; Blk. 1, last v. Arizona State, 3/3/07.
#14 Lindsey Pluimer -- Recorded a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds and also added four assists in the win over Team Concept ... One of seven Bruins to have totaled at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 60 blocked shots for a career ... Has started all 92 games in her Bruin career ... One of 16 Bruins to have scored at least 1,000 points and grabbed 500 rebounds ... Had career highs in scoring average (15.5), assists (58), blocks (27), steals (33), points (495) and rebounds (183) last season ... Ranked in the top 10 in Pac-10 in six stat categories last season ... Enters her senior season ranked 20th on the all-time scoring list and eighth in blocked shots ... Second-team Academic All-America District VIII selection and first-team All-Pac-10 academic selection.
Career Highs: Pts. 27 vs. Sacramento State, 11/25/06; Reb. 13 vs. Washington State, 1/28/07; Asst. 4, last at Stanford, 2/22/07; Stl. 5 at Washington State, 12/29/06; Blk. 3, last v. Washington, 1/26/07.
#21 Doreena Campbell -- Scored nine points with three assists and zero turnovers in a starting role against Team Concept ... All-around guard who can handle the point and off-guard position ... Led her Alexandria, VA Edison HS team to a four-year record of 104-9 ... Finished her career as the No. 5 scored in Virginia HS history (2,237 points) and No. 2 in assists (566) ... Scored in double figures in each of her 113 prep games ... Averaged 19.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 4.3 steals as a senior.
#23 Chinyere Ibekwe -- Started all 32 games in 2006-07 ... Had eight double figure scoring games and six double figure rebounding games ... Ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds (2.78) and 11th in rebounding (6.6) ... Her 212 rebounds led the team last season and were the eighth-highest total ever by a Bruin sophomore ... Her 24 blocked shots ranked fifth on that list ... Will not see action in the first four games of the year (two exhibition games, two regular season games) due to a violation of team rules.
Career Highs: Pts. 21 v. Gonzaga, 11/24/06; Reb. 13 at Arizona State, 11/18/07; Asst. 2, last v. Sacramento St., 1/28/07; Stl. 3 at Tennessee, 11/16/06; Blk. 3 at Tennessee, 11/16/06.
#24 Candice Brown -- Did not play against Team Concept due to knee discomfort ... Member of three CIF Southern Section championship teams and two CIF State championship squads at Bishop Amat HS ... Honorable mention Street and Smith's All-America ... Averaged 12.7 points and 9.1 rebounds as a senior ... Three-year first-team All-CIF selection.
#31 Moniquee Alexander -- Recorded seven points and nine rebounds in a starting role against Team Concept ... Saw action in 31 games last season ... Pulled down at least three boards in 14 games ... Played at least 10 minutes in 16 contests ... Scored at least six points in nine games ... Averaged 3.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Career Highs: Pts. 10 at Arizona, 1/20/07; Reb. 10 vs. UCSB, 11/12/06; Asst. n/a; Stl. 2, last v. Stanford, 12/22/06; Blk. 2 v. Stanford, 12/22/06.
#34 Regina Rogers -- Leading scorer off the bench with 11 points in 15 minutes against Team Concept ... Played with fellow Bruin Christina Nzekwe at Seattle, WA Chief Sealth HS ... Team captured State championships in 2005 and 2006 ... MVP of the 2006 State Tournament ... Averaged 16 points and 14 rebounds as a senior.
Head Coach Kathy Olivier
Set to begin her 15th season as UCLA head coach, Kathy Olivier has energized the program. The former standout player at Cal State Fullerton and UNLV has produced two Pac-10 Players of the Year (Maylana Martin and Natalie Williams), three Pac-10 Freshman Players of the Year (Martin, Noelle Quinn and Erica Gomez), a Pac-10 team championship (1999) and a Pac-10 Tournament championship (2006). She is the only current Pac-10 coach to have as many as three freshmen named first-team All-Conference performers. Over the last 10 years, her teams have finished in the top four of the Pac-10 standings six times, a total bettered by only one other conference institution during that period.
From 1998-2000, she guided UCLA to a school-best three straight NCAA tournament appearances and had the Bruins back in the NCAA Tournament again in 2006.
Interest in UCLA women's basketball has taken off to new levels under Olivier. The only six regular season crowds in Bruin history of over 7,000 fans have come out to support UCLA during her tenure. In fact, the top 13 regular season crowds in school history have come with Olivier at the helm.
She has steadily built the program to reflect her own positive, upbeat and outgoing personality. Olivier has posted a 216-193 overall mark which includes six top-four Pac-10 finishes in the last 10 years. Her teams may favor a running game on offense, but defense is another Olivier strong point. Six of the all-time school top 10 marks for lowest opponent field goal percentages belong to Olivier-coached squads.
Olivier originally joined the UCLA staff in the summer of 1986 as an assistant coach. Olivier began her coaching career at UNLV as a graduate assistant in 1981-82. Following one season at UC Irvine (1982-83), she was hired at USC and was on the Trojan staff for three years (1983-84 through 1985-86) as an assistant. USC, led by sophomore Cheryl Miller, won the NCAA title in Olivier's first year (1984) and reached the championship game in her third season (1986).
The former Kathy Ricks, Olivier was a standout player at Cal State Fullerton and then at UNLV. As a freshman (1977-78) at CSUF, she averaged 15.6 points and 9.2 rebounds and raised her scoring average to 19.3 as a sophomore. As a junior (1979-80) at UNLV, she earned All-America honors while averaging a team-high 16.3 points and 5.7 rebounds. In her final year (1980-81), she led the Rebels in scoring (20.2) and ranked second in rebounding (9.2).