Women's Basketball Heads To Nugget Classic In Reno

Nov. 29, 2007

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Gameday Central
DATE: Sat.-Sun., Dec. 1-2
TOURNAMENT: Nugget Classic
LOCATION: Reno, NV
GAME SITE: Lawlor Events Center (11,536)
TOURNAMENT TEAMS: UCLA, Idaho St., Southern, Nevada (host)
GAME TIMES: Sat - approx. 7:00 p.m.; Sun. - consolation game 2 p.m., champ. to follow
VIDEO: nevadawolfpack.com
AUDIO: uclabruins.com
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Jamila Veasley (color)

Bruins Head To The Mountains
UCLA (3-2) will have its first true road trip of the season, traveling to Reno, NV to play in the Nugget Classic at the University of Nevada Dec. 1-2. On day one, the Bruins will face Idaho State (4-2) at approximately 7 p.m. Nevada, the host school, will meet Southern University (Baton Rouge, LA) in Saturday's first game which starts at 5:15 p.m. All of UCLA's prior road games have been in the greater LA area (Northridge and Pepperdine).

On Sunday, UCLA will face either Nevada (17-15 last year and third in the WAC) or Southern (5-22 last season, 8th in the SWAC). The consolation game is at 2 pm, and the championship game begins at approximately 4 pm. If UCLA plays Nevada on Sunday, the game will be televised on a tape-delayed basis in Reno on KAME-TV.

The Classic marks the beginning of a challenging scheduling stretch which could see the Bruins face seven-straight teams that played in the post-season a year ago - Idaho State (NCAA), Nevada (WNIT), San Diego (WNIT), BYU (NCAA), Tennessee (NCAA champ), UC Riverside (NCAA), Arizona State (NCAA). After a game at Arizona, the Bruins then face three straight opponents which played in last season's NCAA Tournament - Stanford, Cal, Washington.

Five Bruin players are averaging in double-figures, led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (15.6 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game). Four of UCLA's vaunted freshman class also average in double figures - Doreena Campbell, 12.8 ppg; Nina Earl, 10.8 ppg; Darxia Morris, 10.4 ppg; and Regina Rogers, 10.4 ppg.

About Idaho State
Idaho State enters Saturday's game with a 4-2 record after posting a 69-60 win over Utah State on Wednesday night in Pocatello, ID. ISU opened the season with a loss at Wyoming, who is now ranked in the AP Top 25. The Bengals have since beaten Montana Tech and Utah State at home. Idaho State went 2-1 in the Texas Tech Thanksgiving Tournament, losing to the host team before defeating Alcorn State and Kennesaw State.

Last season, the Bengals finished second in the Big Sky Conference but won its conference tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Stanford in the first round. ISU returns four starters from last year's squad, including leading scorer Natalie Doma, a 6-3 center, who is averaging 22.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per contest. Doma totaled 26 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Utah State. Guards Jenna Brown and Andrea Lightfoot each added 15 points against Utah State.

About Nevada
Nevada enters Saturday's game with a 3-2 record and is coming off a 64-55 victory over Stephen F. Austin. Marianne Lombardi recorded a double-double in that game with a career-high 16 points and 13 rebounds. Point guard Dellena Criner leads the team in scoring with a 15.0 ppg average.

Last season, Nevada posted a 17-15 record and advanced to the WNIT, where it lost in the first round.

About Southern
The Jaguars are 0-2 this season with losses to Northwestern State (78-70) and Ohio State (79-38). Senior forward Indi Johnson averages a double-double with 13.5 ppg and 10.0 rpg. Last season, Southern finished with a 5-22 record, with all five wins coming in league play.

Fresh Faces
The Bruin freshmen have been as good as advertised, playing pivotal roles in UCLA's early-season success. Four freshmen average in double figures, and two have started in at least four games (Doreena Campbell - five starts, Regina Rogers - four starts). Campbell leads the Bruins in three-pointers (8) and assists (18), while Rogers leads the team in offensive rebounds (17). Darxia Morris is tied for the team lead in steals with 11. Amongst UCLA's Top 5 in field goal percentage are four freshmen - Candice Brown (3-4, .750), Campbell (25-46, .543), Nina Earl, 23-50, .460) and Rogers (17-37, .459).

First Starts
Four of the five players to earn the starting nod from coach Kathy Olivier in the opener at Cal State Northridge made their first collegiate starts.Sophomores Erica Tukiainen and Moniquee Alexander made their first career starts at Northridge. Tukiainen appeared in all 32 games last season off the bench. Alexander saw action in 31 games last season, but did not start a contest.

True freshmen Darxia Morris and Doreena Campbell each merited a starting assignment in their first collegiate games. It was the first time a Bruin team has started as many as two true freshmen in the first game of a season since the 2002-03 season when Julia Pitts and Nikki Blue were in the starting lineup at Hawaii. The last time the Bruins put out a starting lineup that included more than two freshmen in the starting lineup in the season opener was in the 1996-97 opener against St. Mary's when four freshmen, including three true freshmen, took the floor for the jump (true freshmen - Melanie Pearson, Maylana Martin, Carly Funicello; redshirt freshman Takiyah Jackson).

In game two against Rice, the Bruins started three freshmen - center Regina Rogers and guards Campbell and Morris. Rogers made her first career start in the Rice game. The same group started at Pepperdine.

Another freshman received her first starting assignment in game three against Cal Poly, as Nina Earl joined two other classmates (Rogers and Campbell) in the starting lineup.

The Bruins have utilized three different starting lineups in the six games this year and have used the same lineup in back-to-back games just once.

Waves Crash Over Bruins
Pepperdine scored a 91-79 decision over the Bruins in Malibu on Nov. 28. The Waves hit 30 of 35 free throw attempts on the night and continually held off Bruin rally attempts by converting from the charity stripe. Pepperdine led 71-68 with 4:49 to play before scoring a basket and five free throws to take a 78-68 lead one minute later. The Bruins would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way as the Waves hit 11-12 free throws in the last 2:23 of the contest. Tierra Henderson (career-high) and Lindsey Pluimer each scored 15 points to lead the Bruins. Regina Rogers grabbed 16 rebounds.

Bruins Nearly Upset No. 3 Maryland
UCLA came up short in its upset bid as third-ranked Maryland rallied for a 79-75 win in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins overcame a 13-point first-half deficit with an explosive beginning to the second half and enjoyed as much as a 16-point lead with 6:47 on the clock before Maryland made a decisive 14-0 run. Senior Lindsey Pluimer led UCLA with 17 points, and freshman Doreena Campbell added 15. Regina Rogers contributed 10 points and five boards.

UCLA Runs Past Cal Poly
UCLA scored over 100 points for the first time since 2002 and cruised to a 107-83 victory over Cal Poly on Nov. 20 in Pauley Pavilion. Freshman guard Darxia Morris scored a collegiate-best 21 points off the bench to lead five UCLA players in double figures. She was joined by senior forward Lindsey Pluimer (18 points, eight rebounds), freshman forward Nina Earl (17 points in her first career start), freshman guard Doreena Campbell (12 points, six assists, six rebounds) and freshman center Regina Rogers (10 points).

Challenging '07-08 Schedule
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.

Three UCLA opponents are currently ranked in the Top 6 in the current AP rankings - No. 1 Tennessee, No. 3 Maryland and No. 6 Stanford.

Tennessee Tickets On Sale
Reserved tickets for the highly-anticipated matchup on Dec. 19 between UCLA and top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Tennessee are now available for just $12. Fans who purchase reserved seats in advance can secure the best seats available. This will be Tennessee's first visit to the UCLA campus since 1999. The Lady Vols are coached by Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt, who has won seven NCAA titles in her career and is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history. Future No. 1 WNBA pick and last year's Wooden Award and Honda Award winner Candace Parker leads the Lady Vols, averaging 25.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game at the start of the week.

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 97 career starts. In her career, she has averaged 12.3 points and 5.9 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 17th in career scoring with 1,196 points and is five points away from moving into the Top 15 in scoring. Pluimer also has 573 career rebounds and needs 43 more to move into the Top 15. Eight more blocked shots will move her from eighth to seventh on the career list. Pluimer currently has 66.

Campbell Stays Cool, Calm, Collected
Freshman guard Doreena Campbell has played more like a veteran, averaging 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.0 steals and just 1.0 turnover per game in four starts. Her assist/turnover ratio is an impressive 3.6, and her shooting has been just as good. She leads the team in both field goal percentage (25-46, .543) and three-point field goal percentage (8-14, .571), as well as assists with 18. Campbell recorded seven steals in the season opener at Cal State Northridge.

Rebounding Rogers
Freshman center Regina Rogers totaled 16 rebounds on Wednesday at Pepperdine, including 10 on the offensive end. Her 16 rebounds were the most by a Bruin player since Kristee Porter had 16 boards against Arizona on Jan. 20, 2001,

2007-08 Outlook
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 amongst 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).

A group of four sophomores, including guards Erica Tukiainen, Allison Taka and Alexis Olivier, as well as center Moniquee Alexander, are also returning.

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.

Pre-Season Prognostications
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.

What's Returning?
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).

Name Game
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.

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.

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