Bruins Wrap Up Washington Trip In Pullman Saturday

Jan. 11, 2008

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Gameday Central
GAME 17: Sat. Jan. 12
OPPONENT: Washington State (3-12, 0-4)
GAME TIME: 2:00 pm
GAME SITE: Friel Court (11,566)
UCLA RADIO TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Jamila Veasley (color)

UCLA At WSU Saturday
UCLA (8-8, 3-2 in the Pac-10) wraps up its Washington road trip at Washington State (3-12, 0-4) on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 2 pm. The Bruins are coming off a 59-57 victory at Washington, while the Cougars lost to USC, 62-58, after leading 38-27 at the half. UCLA is looking for its first Pac-10 road sweep since beating the Oregon schools in 2006.

Bruin Bytes
UCLA has limited its last six opponents to an average of just 59.8 points per game in regulation in those six contests (UC Riverside - 60, Arizona State - 62, Arizona - 59, Stanford - 56, California - 65, Washington - 57). The two losses have come by a total of six points to a pair of ranked teams (No. 9 Cal, No. 25 Arizona St.) which sit atop the Pac-10 standings with the only unbeaten records in the league after two weeks of play.

In Conference games, the Bruins are holding opponents to a Pac-10 low 33.7% shooting from the field.

Two Bruin players are averaging in double-figures, led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (14.1 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game). Freshman Nina Earl also averages in double digits with an 10.4 mark. Three other members of UCLA's freshman class are just shy of double digit averages - Darxia Morris, 9.9; Doreena Campbell, 9.0 ppg; and Regina Rogers, 7.8 ppg. UCLA averages 71.6 points per game to rank second in the Pac-10.

Since Dec. 8, the Bruins have faced seven NCAA Tournament teams (BYU, defending NCAA champion Tennessee, UC Riverside, Arizona State, Stanford, California and Washington) and one NIT participant (San Diego).

Morris Out With Knee Sprain
UCLA freshman Darxia Morris will sit out her second-straight game after spraining her right knee in the second half of the Cal game last Sunday. Morris did not make the trip to Washington, and doctors will re-examine her knee early next week after the swelling has gone down to more accurately determine the extent of the injury. Morris, a freshman guard from Pasadena, CA (Muir HS), was coming off a weekend in which she scored 20 points in an upset win over No. 2 Stanford and added 14 points, including 12 in the second half, against No. 10 Cal. She is averaging 9.9 points (third on the team), 2.47 steals (second in the Pac-10 Conference) and 3.0 assists (tied for eighth in the Pac-10) per game. She had started in the last six games and in 12 games overall this season.

About Washington State
Washington State has lost six-straight contests since posting a 78-72 overtime win over San Jose State on Dec. 16. On Thursday, the Cougars led USC at the half, 38-27, but were outscored by 15 in the second half and lost by a score of 62-58. Four Cougar players were in double-figures, led by Katie Calderwood's career-best 13 points. Junior guard Katie Appleton leads WSU in scoring with a 12.7 average, while Heather Molzen ranks second with a 7.0 average.

UCLA leads the series, 37-6, and has won the last 14 meetings since a 74-52 loss in Pullman, WA on Jan. 6, 2001. In the last contest in Pullman last Dec. 29, UCLA's Noelle Quinn blocked a three-point attempt at the buzzer to preserve the 74-71 win. Quinn was one rebound shy of the triple-double with 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. The Cougars' Colleen Betteridge scored a team-high 16 points in the game. In the Jan. 28 contest in Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins used 59% second-half shooting to help overcome a double-digit deficit and record a 73-70 win. Tierra Henderson helped lead the Bruin comeback, scoring 10 points with a career-high seven assists, and Lindsey Pluimer led all players with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

UCLA Escapes Seattle With 59-57 Win
UCLA withstood a late rally by the host Huskies and came away with a 59-57 road win on Thursday night. After leading at intermission, 29-24, the Bruins jumped out to a 13-point lead (45-32) in the second half but then went cold, going scoreless for over five and a half minutes. Freshman Christina Nzekwe broke the drought with a free throw at the 7:04 mark, stopping a 6-0 UW run that cut the lead to four. With the Bruins up by one with nine seconds to play, Washington took the ball up the court for the final possession, and Andrea Plouffe's three-pointer missed just before the buzzer sounded. Lindsey Pluimer led a balanced Bruin attack with 16 points.

Seattle's Best
Bruin freshmen and Seattle natives Regina Rogers and Christina Nzekwe played their first collegiate games in their hometown on Thursday. Both were key figures in the Bruins' 59-57 win over Washington. Nzekwe scored a season-high tying eight points, including six in a pivotal stretch in the second half, and added seven rebounds and a career-high four steals. Rogers added six points with three rebounds.

Rogers and Nzekwe were teammates at Chief Sealth HS in Seattle and won two State championships. Both have played in every game for the Bruins this season, with Rogers making eight starts in 16 games. Rogers now averages 7.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, while Nzkewe averages 3.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals. Both average over 13 minutes per game (Rogers - 17.0, Nzekwe - 13.5).

They are the ninth and 10th UCLA players hailing from the state of Washington.

Bruins Come Up Short In OT Vs. Cal
Tenth-ranked California needed overtime to best the Bruins, 73-70, in Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 6. UCLA used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to secure its first lead of the game after trailing by seven, 37-30, at the half. Freshman guard Darxia Morris keyed the rally with six points in that 10-0 run. However, she went down with a knee injury at the 5:39 mark, and the Bruins could manage just one field goal over the last 5:31 of the contest. Cal was able to knot the score at 65-all on a pair of free throws with 1:45 to play in regulation. Neither team scored down the stretch, and the game went into overtime. Lindsey Pluimer's three-point shot with 3:54 to go in the extra period gave UCLA a 68-66 lead. A Cal basket tied the score, before Nina Earl put the Bruins ahead, 70-68, with a field goal at the 2:44 mark. Cal tied it up at 70 on a basket with 2:18 to play. The Golden Bears took a one-point lead on a free throw with 42 seconds remaining and upped it to 73-70 on two more free throws with 22 seconds on the clock. Tierra Henderson misfired on a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds of the game.

Bruins Shoot Down No. 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.

Fresh Faces
The Bruin freshmen, ranked as the No. 4 recruiting class by, have been as good as advertised, playing pivotal roles on the team. Three of the six freshmen have played in all 16 games, while two have played in 15 and the other 11. Doreena Campbell has made 15 starts, Darxia Morris 12, Regina Rogers eight, and Nina Earl six. Campbell leads the Bruins in assists (53) and minutes per game (31.0) and ranks second in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.77). Morris owns the team lead in steals with 37 and ranks second in the conference with a 2.47 steals average. Rogers ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.0 average), and Candice Brown leads the team with a .625 (10-16) field goal percentage. Five freshmen have been on the court at the same time for the Bruins in several games this season.

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 nine different starting lineups in the 16 games this year and have used the same lineup in three consecutive games just once. UCLA has started three freshmen in most games this season.

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 108 career starts. At Washington on Thursday, she became only the fifth Bruin to total at least 1,300 points, 650 rebounds and 75 blocked shots for a career, joining Ann Meyers, Necie Thompson, Natalie Williams and Maylana Martin. She is also one of just 13 Bruins to have scored at least 1,000 points and pulled down at least 600 rebounds.

Pluimer currently ranks 14th on UCLA's career scoring list with 1,344 points and is 13th in rebounds with 654 and seventh in blocked shots with 75. She needs just 20 more points to move into a tie for 13th with Anne Dean on the career scoring chart.

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 a 10.4 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 has connected on 46.5% of her shots from the field and is currently third on the team in three-point field goal percentage at 41.7% (5-12).

Campbell Nationally Ranked
Guard Doreena Campbell has played more like a veteran than a freshman, averaging 9.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals and just 2.0 turnovers per game in 15 starts. She entered the week ranked 38th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio. Campbell is first on the team in assists (53) and minutes per game (31.0). She recorded seven steals in the season opener at Cal State Northridge and had a career-high of eight assists at Arizona State. Campbell missed her only game of the season at Arizona while nursing a sprained ankle. She registered a career-high seven rebounds v. Cal in a career-best 38 minutes of action and matched her minutes played best at Washington while recording a new career-high with eight rebounds.

Mo Better
Sophomore center Moniquee Alexander has shown big improvements lately, earning starts in the last eight games, She had five rebounds against both No. 2 Stanford and No. 10 California and led the team with nine rebounds, including four offensive boards, at Washington. In her last six games, she is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game. 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. She averages 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game and has played in all 16 games with nine overall starts.

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 (5.0 average) and blocks (11). Her rebounding average is 18th in the conference.

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 rank them second and sixth, respectively, in the Pac-10 rankings. Morris is second on the team in assists with 45 while averaging 9.9 points per game. Henderson has long been known as the Bruins' defensive sparkplug, but she has also upped her offensive game this year, averaging 6.8 points and leading the team in scoring with a career-high 15 at Pepperdine. At Arizona, Henderson and Morris 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).

Making The Grade
Five members of the Bruin squad made the Director's Honor Roll (3.0 or better with at least 12 graded units) in the Fall Quarter - senior Lindsey Pluimer, sophomores Allison Taka and Alexis Olivier, and freshmen Doreena Campbell and Christina Nzekwe. Pluimer and Taka earned GPAs of 3.5 or above.

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. UCLA has now hosted teams ranked No. 1 (Tennessee), No. 2 (Stanford) and No. 3 (Maryland) at the time of the game this season.

In all, the Bruins have battled 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. The Bruins just finished an 11-game stretch that saw them matching up with nine teams that advanced to post-season play in the 2006-07 season.

Four of UCLA's opponents are currently ranked in the Top 10 in the AP rankings - No. 2 Tennessee, No. 4 Maryland, No. 7 Stanford, No. 9 California.

Bruins Vs. The Ranks
The Bruins' last victory against a nationally ranked opponent came on Jan. 4, 2008 against No. 2-ranked Stanford (69-56). It marked the first time the Bruin program has ever defeated a team ranked higher than fourth in the Associated Press poll. UCLA had defeated a team ranked as high as fourth on multiple occasions, the last time came on Nov. 28, 2004 in a 63-60 win over #4 Texas.

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