UCLA Hosts Top 10 Teams From Bay Area

Jan. 2, 2008

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Gameday Central
DATE: Fri., Jan. 4
OPPONENT: #2 Stanford (12-1, 2-0)
GAME TIME: 7:00 pm
GAME SITE: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
AUDIO/VIDEO: uclabruins.com (free)
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)

DATE: Sun., Jan. 6
OPPONENT: #10 California (11-2, 2-0)
GAME TIME: 12:30 pm
LIVE TV: Fox Sports Net
TALENT: Jim Watson (play-by-play), Tracy Warren (color)
AUDIO: uclabruins.com (free)
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)

UCLA Welcomes #2 Stanford Friday, #10 California Sunday
UCLA (6-7, 1-1 in the Pac-10) will host its third Top 3 (at the time of the game) opponent this season on Friday, Jan. 4 when the second-ranked Stanford Cardinal (12-1, 2-0) visits Pauley Pavilion for a 7:00 pm game. The Bruins have already hosted No. 1 Tennessee (L 82-70) and No. 3 Maryland (L 79-75). On Sunday, Jan. 6, the Bruins will challenge 10th-ranked California (11-2, 2-0) at 12:30 pm in a game televised live by Fox Sports Net. The battle against the Golden Bears will be the seventh game out of the last eight in which the Bruins will have squared off against a team which advanced to the post-season in 2006-07.

UCLA split its opening Pac-10 series last weekend, losing a tight contest at Arizona State on Dec. 28, 62-59, and defeating Arizona in Tucson, 68-59. Stanford swept the Washington schools over the weekend, blowing out Washington State, 105-47, and Washington, 77-42. California also breezed by the Washington schools, downing the Huskies, 66-40, and the Cougars, 99-44.

Bruin Bytes
Two Bruin players are averaging in double-figures, led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (13.9 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game). Freshman Nina Earl also averages in double digits with an 11.2 mark. Three other members of UCLA's freshman class are just shy of averaging in double figures - Doreena Campbell, 9.1 ppg; Darxia Morris, 8.8; and Regina Rogers, 8.3 ppg. UCLA averages 72.8 points per game to rank second in the Pac-10.

About Stanford
Stanford enters the weekend on a nine-game winning streak. Included amongst those victories is a 73-69 overtime win against then-undefeated and No. 1 Tennessee on Dec. 22.

The Cardinal has two players ranked in the Pac-10's Top 5 in both scoring (No. 2 Candice Wiggins - 17.6, No. 4 Jayne Appel - 15.2) and rebounding (No. 2 Kayla Pedersen - 8.9, No. 3 Appel - 8.6). Stanford leads the conference in scoring offense (76.9 points per game), scoring margin (+20.2) and blocked shots (4.15 average).

Stanford leads the overall series, 38-21, and won both contests last season - 68-59 in Pauley Pavilion and 65-54 in Palo Alto. UCLA's last victory in the series was a big one - an 85-76 overtime win over the Cardinal in the championship game of the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament.

About California
California has won seven of its last eight games, with its only loss during that time coming to No. 3 Rutgers, 56-51.

Junior Ashley Walker ranks in the Top 3 in the Pac-10 in scoring (No. 3 - 17.2 average) and rebounding (No. 1 - 10.2 average). Sophomore Rama N'diaye also ranks in the Top 5 in rebounding (No. 4 - 8.1 average).

UCLA leads the overall series, 39-11, and has won three of the last four games. The two teams split last season, with each winning at home. The Bruins won 77-68 in overtime on Dec. 20, and Cal won 88-69 on Feb. 24.

Fresh Faces
The Bruin freshmen, ranked as the No. 4 recruiting class by HoopGurlz.com, have been as good as advertised, playing pivotal roles on the team. Four of the six freshmen have played in all 12 games, while one has played in 11 and the other 10. Doreena Campbell has made 11 starts, Darxia Morris 10, Regina Rogers eight, and Nina Earl three. Campbell leads the Bruins in assists (45) and minutes per game (29.8) and is the Pac-10 leader in assist/turnover ratio (2.14). Morris owns the team lead in steals with 34 and ranks second in the conference with a 2.62 steals average. Rogers ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.4 average), and Candice Brown leads the team with a .667 (10-15) field goal percentage. Three times in the last six games, five freshmen have been on the court at the same time for the Bruins.

Pluimer Powers Bruins
UCLA's lone senior, forward Lindsey Pluimer, continues to lead the Bruins both on and off the court. Pluimer, a 2007-08 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award nominee, two-time Academic All-District selection and 2006-07 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, has started every game since her freshman season for a total of 105 career starts. 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 just 13 Bruins to have scored at least 1,000 points and pulled down at least 600 rebounds for her career.

Pluimer currently ranks 14th in career scoring with 1,299 points and also has 635 career rebounds, which places her in UCLA's all-time Top 15. With a blocked shot at Arizona, Pluimer moved into a tie for seventh on UCLA's career list with 74. With her next point and blocked shot, Pluimer will join Ann Meyers, Necie Thompson, Natalie Williams and Maylana Martin as the only Bruins to have totaled at least 1,300 points, 630 rebounds and 75 blocked shots for a career.

Her Name Is Earl
Freshman forward Nina Earl has been making a name for herself in her freshman season, ranking second on the Bruin squad in scoring with an 11.2 points per game average. Earl has scored in double figures eight times on the year and set career-highs in both scoring and rebounding when she recorded her first career double-double at Arizona (23 points, 10 rebounds). Earl ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, connecting on 50.9% (58-114) of her shots and is the team leader in three-point field goal percentage at 55.6% (5-9).

Mo Better
Sophomore center Moniquee Alexander has shown big improvements lately, earning starts in the last five games, Against No. 1 Tennessee, Alexander scored a career-high 11 points on 5-5 shooting from the field. She equaled that point total against UC Riverside, scoring 11 points, and pulled down a season-high seven rebounds. Alexander had five rebounds and zero turnovers in the game at Arizona State and shot 4-6 from the field for eight points with four boards in the win at Arizona. Alexander averages 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and has played in all 13 games with six starts.

Campbell Nationally Ranked
Guard Doreena Campbell has played more like a veteran than a freshman, averaging 9.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.75 assists, 1.7 steals and just 1.8 turnovers per game in 12 starts. She was ranked 13th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio last week and was the top-ranking freshman in the nation in that category. Campbell is first on the team in assists (45) and minutes per game (29.8). She recorded seven steals in the season opener at Cal State Northridge and had career-highs of eight assists and six boards at Arizona State. Campbell missed her first game on Sunday at Arizona while nursing a sprained ankle but is available for this week's games.

Rebounding Rogers
Freshman center Regina Rogers totaled 16 rebounds on Nov. 28 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. Rogers was ferocious on the defensive boards at Arizona State, recording 13, along with three blocked shots. She added five more boards at Arizona. Rogers is second on the team in rebounds per game (5.4 average) and blocks (10).

Pride Of Pasadena
Former teammates at Pasadena's John Muir HS, Tierra Henderson and Darxia Morris have paired up once again in UCLA's backcourt. Henderson, a junior, and Morris, a freshman, have started together in five games. They rank 1-2 on the team in steals, with Morris totaling 34 and Henderson 30 to rank second and fourth, respectively, in the Pac-10. Morris also ranks second on the team in assists with 39 while averaging 8.8 points per game. Henderson has long been known as the Bruins' defensive sparkplug, but she has also upped her offensive game this year, averaging 7.2 points and leading the team in scoring with a career-high 15 at Pepperdine. At Arizona, they were the defensive duo, combining for 13 of UCLA's 17 steals on the day (Henderson with a career-high tying seven and Morris with a career-high six).

Henderson and Morris are not the only high school teammates on the Bruin squad - freshmen Christina Nzekwe and Regina Rogers were teammates at Chief Sealth HS in Seattle, WA from 2004-07.

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 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 seven different starting lineups in the 13 games this year and have used the same lineup in three consecutive games just once.

UCLA Gets First Pac-10 Win at Arizona
UCLA earned its first Pac-10 victory of the year, defeating Arizona on the road on Dec. 30, 68-59. Freshman Nina Earl recorded her first career double-double, with career-highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Lindsey Pluimer added 10 points and nine boards. UCLA led from start to finish, jumping out to a 9-2 lead to start the game and enjoying as much as an 18-point advantage. Arizona rallied to trim the lead to five with 3:29 to play, but Darxia Morris made a steal and fed to Earl, who was fouled and converted both free throws to help diffuse the threat.

Bruins Edged Out At ASU
The UCLA women's basketball team was edged out by 24th-ranked Arizona State, 62-59, at Wells Fargo Arena. The game went wire-to-wire, with Darxia Morris making a steal and layup with 1:35 remaining to give UCLA a 59-58 lead. ASU's Sybil Dosty answered with a jumper 15 seconds later for what proved to be the winning margin after UCLA's shots did not fall down the stretch. Morris led UCLA with 14 points and five steals, while Lindsey Pluimer and Doreena Campbell contributed 12 points apiece. Campbell also had career-bests with eight assists and six boards. Regina Rogers added 13 rebounds and three blocks.

Challenging '07-08 Schedule
The Bruins have already played host to the past two NCAA championship teams this season when it welcomed 2005-06 title holder Maryland on Nov. 25 and 2006-07 champ Tennessee on Dec. 19 to Pauley Pavilion.

In all, 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, and Washington - and three more played in the WNIT - Rice, San Diego, and Oregon. Beginning on the first of December with a game against Idaho State, the Bruins are in the midst of a stretch which sees them matching up with nine teams over an 11-game stretch which advanced to post-season play during the 2006-07 season.

Three UCLA opponents are currently ranked in the Top 5 in the current AP rankings - No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 5 Maryland.

Bruins Vs. the Ranks
The Bruins' last victory against a nationally-ranked opponent came last season in a 77-68 win over then-15th-ranked California (Dec. 20, 2006) in Pauley Pavilion. The last time the Bruins bested a Top 10 foe came in a January 8, 2006 win (77-69) over then-ninth-ranked Arizona State in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruin program has never defeated a team ranked higher than fourth in the Associated Press poll (last time came on Nov. 28, 2004 in a 63-60 win over #4 Texas).

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