UCLA Hosts No. 10 California Sunday At 12:30 pm

Jan. 5, 2008

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Gameday Central
DATE: Sun., Jan. 6
OPPONENT: #10 California (12-2, 3-0)
GAME TIME: 12:30 pm
GAME SITE: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
AUDIO/VIDEO: uclabruins.com (free)
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)
LIVE TV: Fox Sports Net
TALENT: Jim Watson (play-by-play), Tracy Warren (color)

UCLA Hosts #10 CaliforniaUCLA (7-7, 2-1 in the Pac-10) will play host to its fourth top-10 ranked opponent of the season on Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. when it welcomes 10th-ranked California (12-2, 3-0) to Pauley Pavilion for a nationally televised (Fox Sports Net) contest. The Bruins have already hosted then-No. 2 Stanford (W, 69-56), then-No. 1 Tennessee (L 82-70) and then-No. 3 Maryland (L 79-75). The battle against the Golden Bears will be the seventh game out of the last eight (all but Arizona) in which the Bruins will have squared off against a team which advanced to the post-season in 2006-07.

UCLA has won three of its last four games and has limited opponents to just 59.3 points per game in those four contests (UC Riverside - 60, Arizona State-62, Arizona - 59, Stanford - 56).

California moved into first place (tie) in the Pac-10 when it downed USC on Friday night by a score of 57-52. Last week, the Golden Bears 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 7.6 rebounds per game). Freshman Nina Earl also averages in double digits with an 10.8 mark. Three other members of UCLA's freshman class are just shy of double digit averages - Darxia Morris, 9.6; Doreena Campbell, 9.0 ppg; and Regina Rogers, 8.0 ppg. UCLA entered the week averaging 72.8 points per game to rank second in the Pac-10.

Bruins Shoot Down #2 Cardinal
UCLA snapped second-ranked Stanford's nine-game winning streak on Friday night with a 69-56 win. It marked the first time the UCLA women's basketball program has ever defeated a team ranked higher than fourth in the Associated Press poll.

The Cardinal connected on just four of its first 13 shots from the field and fell behind 17-6 with 11:57 to play in the first half. The 11-point margin, reached three times, was UCLA's largest in the half, and they settled for a 38-34 advantage at the break.

Stanford misfired on its first seven shots of the second half as the Bruins ran off 12 unanswered points to take a 50-34 lead with 15:40 to play. UCLA led 57-42 at the 10:44 mark when the Cardinal went on an 8-0 run to narrow the margin to 57-50 with 8:20 on the clock. A seven-point margin (three times) was as close as the Cardinal would get down the stretch.

Darxia Morris led UCLA with 20 points, one shy of her career high, and handed out five assists. Lindsey Pluimer added 13 points and a team-best eight rebounds. The Cardinal, which entered the contest averaging a Pac-10 best 76.9 points per game, was held 20 points below that mark, while shooting just 29.6% from the field. UCLA has now captured wins in three of its last five meetings with Stanford.

About California
California has won eight of its last nine games, with its only loss during that stretch coming to No. 3 Rutgers, 56-51. Cal bested USC on Friday by a 57-52 margin behind a 21-point, 13-rebound effort from Devanei Hampton.

Junior Ashley Walker entered the week ranked 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 ranked 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 14 games, while one has played in 13 and the other 10. Doreena Campbell has made 13 starts, Darxia Morris 11, Regina Rogers eight, and Nina Earl four. Campbell leads the Bruins in assists (51) and minutes per game (29.9) and entered the week as the Pac-10 leader in assist/turnover ratio (2.14). Morris owns the team lead in steals with 37 and began the week ranked 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 seven 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 106 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 both career scoring with 1,312 points and rebounds with 643. With a blocked shot at Arizona, Pluimer moved into a tie for seventh on UCLA's career list with 74. With her next 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 10.8 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 began the week ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, connecting on 50.9% of her shots and is currently second on the team in three-point field goal percentage at 45.5% (5-11).

Mo Better
Sophomore center Moniquee Alexander has shown big improvements lately, earning starts in the last six games, She had five rebounds against No. 2 Stanford. 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 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game and has played in all 14 games with seven overall starts.

Campbell Nationally Ranked
Guard Doreena Campbell has played more like a veteran than a freshman, averaging 9.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.92 assists, 1.5 steals and just 1.69 turnovers per game in 13 starts. She entered the week ranked 13th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio and was the top-ranking freshman in the nation in that category. Campbell is first on the team in assists (51) and minutes per game (29.9). 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 last 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 (11).

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 37 and Henderson 31 which ranked them second and fourth, respectively, in the Pac-10 rankings at the beginning of the week. Morris is second on the team in assists with 44 while averaging 9.6 points per game. Henderson has long been known as the Bruins' defensive sparkplug, but she has also upped her offensive game this year, averaging 7.1 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 eight different starting lineups in the 14 games this year and have used the same lineup in three consecutive games just once.

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