UCLA Honors 1978 National Champs and Hosts USC on Sunday

Feb. 12, 2008

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Gameday Central
GAME 25: Sunday, Feb. 17
OPPONENT: USC (15-9, 8-5)
GAME TIME: 2:00 pm
GAME SITE: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
LIVE VIDEO: uclabruins.com
DELAYED TV: LA36 (date TBA)
RADIO: am 1150
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)

UCLA Hosts USC Sunday In Front Of 1978 Championship Team
UCLA (13-11, 8-5 and tied for fourth in the Pac-10) will host Southern California (15-9, 8-5) at 2:00 pm on Sunday in Pauley Pavilion. The game will be broadcast live on am1150. The Bruins have won four straight home contests and six of the last seven.

Sunday is 'I'm Going to College' day at UCLA as area youth will be hosted on campus and introduced to college life by faculty, student-athletes and administrators before enjoying the game. It is also Faculty & Staff Day (four free admissions with Bruin ID or paystub), Bruin Kids Club Day (complimentary admission with Bruin Kids Club ID) and Alumni Appreciation Day (four free admissions with Alumni Association membership card). Popcorn will be on sale for just $1.50 during Sunday's game, and UCLA women's basketball team cards will be given away to the first 1,000 in attendance. In addition, the first 250 students in attendance will receive free pizza.

The Bruins' 1978 AIAW National Championship women's basketball team will be honored at halftime of the game as the 30th anniversary of their Mar. 25, 1978 title win over Maryland approaches.

About The 1978 Championship Team
Each member of the 1978 squad is expected to be in attendance on Sunday, including four UCLA Hall of Famers in head coach Billie Moore and players Ann Meyers Drysdale, Denise Curry and Anita Ortega. Moore, Meyers and Ortega are also members of the Naismith and Women's Basketball Halls of Fame. All team members will be presented national championship rings for the first time ever (at the time, they simply received championship watches).

The 1977-78 Bruins posted a 27-3 overall record, with wins in their final 21 games. The road to the Final Four began with regional wins over Stanford, Long Beach State and UNLV, followed by sectional wins over BYU and Stephen F. Austin to get to the Final Four, which was being held at UCLA's own Pauley Pavilion. More than 17,000 fans were in Pauley Pavilion for Final Four weekend to witness UCLA capture its first women's basketball national title. The Bruins dominated in an 85-77 semifinal win over Montclair State, with three players posting double-doubles (Denise Curry with 22 points/14 rebounds, Ann Meyers with 19 points/14 rebounds and Heidi Nestor with 22 points/10 rebounds). UCLA outrebounded its opponents by a 61-29 count to cruise into the championship game against Maryland.

In the finals, UCLA never trailed in the game and led by as many as 19 points before ending with a 90-74 victory in front of an AIAW National Championship record crowd of 9,351. Ann Meyers recorded another double-double with 20 points/10 rebounds, to go along with nine assists and eight steals. Anita Ortega led all players with 23 points.

Pluimer Named Pac-10 POW
Senior forward Lindsey Pluimer was named U.S. Bank Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week (Feb. 4-10) for her play in the Bruin wins over the Washington schools. Pluimer matched her season-high with 19 points in each game and moved into 10th place on the all-time UCLA rebound list after pulling down six boards in last Friday's win over Washington State.

Bruin Bytes

  • In this week's Pac-10 rankings (2/11/08), Lindsey Pluimer was one of just three players to find their names listed in the top 10 of as many as seven of the 13 different individual categories for all games. Pluimer began the week fifth in scoring, fifth in rebounding, third in free throw percentage, sixth in blocked shots, eighth in offensive rebounds and seventh in defensive rebounds. She joined Stanford's Candice Wiggins (first in scoring, 10th in assists, second in free throw %, sixth in steals, fifth in 3-pt. shots made, first in assist/turnover ratio and 10th in minutes played) and California's Ashley Walker (fourth in scoring, first in rebounding, ninth in field goal %, fifth in free throw %, second in blocked shots, first in offensive rebounds, and third in defensive rebounds).
  • Five freshmen are averaging in double figure minutes played this season (Doreena Campbell-30.7, Nina Earl-24.7, Darxia Morris-22.0, Regina Rogers-16.4, Christina Nzekwe-12.5). As many as three freshmen have been in the starting lineup for 12 games (6-6 record) this season.
  • Pluimer leads the UCLA team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and in rebounding (6.8 rebounds per game). Three members of UCLA's freshman class are just shy of double digit averages - Earl, 9.3 ppg; Morris, 8.7 and Campbell, 8.7.
  • Since Dec. 8, the Bruins have played 12 of their 17 games (9-8 record) against NCAA Tournament teams (BYU, defending NCAA champion Tennessee, UC Riverside, Arizona State, Stanford twice, California twice, Washington twice) and two NIT participants (San Diego, Oregon).
  • In its last seven games, UCLA has recorded 77 steals (11.0) and forced 152 turnovers (21.7). Doing the most damage in those games have been Doreena Campbell (19 steals), Tierra Henderson (16) and Nina Earl (14).
  • The Bruins began the week ranked first in the Pac-10 in rebounding (43.2), steals (10.50) turnover margin (+2.00) and offensive rebounds (15.29); second in scoring (69.7 ppg), defensive rebounds (27.92) and third in field goal percentage defense (.385).
  • This year's opponent shooting percentage of .385 would rank as the third-lowest mark in Bruin history. The 67.3 opponent scoring average would rank seventh-lowest on that list.
  • UCLA's eight Pac-10 conference wins surpass the total of last year's team which finished 7-11 in league play and finished seventh in the standings.
  • The Bruins rebounded with a 47.1% shooting game against Washington State and a 46.2% game versus Washington after recording their two lowest field goal percentages of the season the previous week at Cal (.324) and Stanford (.323). Stanford's 75 points on Feb. 2 were the most scored on the Bruins since Tennessee totaled 82 back on December 19.
  • UCLA had limited nine straight opponents to 65 points or under in regulation before Oregon State registered 70 points on Jan. 26 - UC Riverside, 60; Arizona State, 62; Arizona, 59; Stanford, 56; California, 65; Washington, 57; WSU, 56; USC, 64; Oregon 59. The last time a UCLA team had such a defensive stretch came in the 1974-75 season, when the Bruins limited its first 21 opponents to 63 points or less.

    Lexus Gauntlet Points At Stake
    The winner of Sunday's UCLA-USC game will earn five points in the battle of the Lexus Gauntlet. The Lexus Gauntlet is a year-long all-sport competition between UCLA and USC. UCLA won last year's Lexus Gauntlet with a series-high 72.5 points to 37.5 for the Trojans. USC began the week leading this season's battle, 40-12.5.

    About USC
    USC is also coming off a sweep of the Washington schools this past weekend. The Women of Troy lead the series by a 40-27 count. The teams have split the last four games played in Pauley Pavilion with those four contests being decided by a combined total of nine points.

    USC has won the last two meetings in Pauley by scores of 75-72 (1/13/07) and 77-73 (2/18/06). In last year's battle, Noelle Quinn missed a three-point shot and USC grabbed the rebound as the buzzer sounded in a game played before 7,134 fans. In the 2006 contest, the Trojans hit five free throws in the final 21 seconds after a Quinn three-point shot had put the Bruins in front 73-72 with 50 seconds to play.

    UCLA captured the Dec. 28, 2004 contest by a score of 62-61 as the Bruins survived a bevy of last-second shots by the Trojans. Lisa Willis' basket with 2:35 to play had given UCLA a 62-60 lead. A gathering of 8,094 fans, the third-largest in school history, witnessed the Feb. 29, 2004 game which was won 68-64 by UCLA. Nikki Blue scored 26 points to lead the Bruins, who took a 58-57 lead with 4:26 on the clock and never lost it.

    In this season's first meeting on Jan. 19, UCLA nearly overcame a 21-point second-half deficit, closing to within two with a minute remaining, but late free throws helped USC hold on by a 64-56 score. The Bruins scored 13 unanswered points in a three-minute stretch to cut the gap to two, 58-56. UCLA forced a turnover on USC's next possession, but Christina Nzekwe's jumper missed, and USC was fouled on the rebound. Nadia Parker made one of two foul shots, giving UCLA another opportunity to tie, but Lindsey Pluimer's three-point attempt with five seconds to play was blocked by Parker. Pluimer led the Bruins with 15 points, and Tierra Henderson added 12.

    Bruins Hold Off UW Rally
    The Bruins built up a 22-point first half lead, saw it shrink to three with 1:32 to play, before earning a 75-68 decision over Washington. Lindsey Pluimer matched her season-high with 19 points, but it was freshmen Doreena Campbell and Regina Rogers who hit big shots down the stretch to preserve the win.

    Bruins Down Cougars
    The Bruins used a 10-2 second half run to break open a close game and went on to earn a 68-56 win over Washington State. Lindsey Pluimer tied her season-high with a team-leading 19 points. The Bruin senior also grabbed six rebounds which helped move her into 10th on the all-time UCLA career list. UCLA broke a 39-all tie with the run, which included a pair of baskets by Pluimer.

    Think Pink Jersey Auction
    UCLA is auctioning off its special white and pink jerseys from Sunday's 'Think Pink' game against Washington. Proceeds from the online auction will benefit the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center. All 13 player jerseys are being auctioned at UCLABruins.com, along with a commemorative UCLA 08 Kathy Olivier jersey. The auction ends on Friday, Feb. 15 at 5 pm PT.

    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. Three of the six freshmen have played in all 24 games, while a fourth has seen action in 23 games. Doreena Campbell has made 23 starts Nina Earl 14, Darxia Morris 12, and Regina Rogers 11. Five freshmen are averaging in double figures minutes played. Three freshman have been in the starting lineup for 12 games (6-6 record) this season. Five freshmen have been on the court at the same time for the Bruins in numerous games this season.

    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.

    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.

    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 each game of her career (116). In the game at home versus Washington State, Pluimer moved into 10th on the all-time school rebound list. In the game at Washington, 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 13th on UCLA's career scoring list with 1,472 points, 10th in rebounds with 700 and tied for sixth in blocked shots with 83.

    Pluimer has been named to the first-team CoSIDA / ESPN The Magazine District 8 Academic All-America team. Her name will now be placed on the national ballot with a chance to earn Academic All-America honors.

    Campbell Strong All-Around
    Guard Doreena Campbell has been a standout for the Bruins in all categories, averaging 8.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.57 assists, 1.74 steals and just 2.0 turnovers per game in 23 starts. She began the week ranked No. 2 in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.74), No. 6 in assists (3.57) and 10th in steals (1.74). Campbell is first on the team in assists (82) and tied for first in minutes per game (30.7). With her next assist, she will move into the all-time Bruin top-10 list for the freshman class.

    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-best 38 minutes of action at home versus Cal. She matched her minutes played best at Washington while recording a new career-high with eight rebounds.

    Her Name Is Earl
    Freshman forward Nina Earl ranks second on the team in scoring with a 9.3 average. Earl has scored in double figures nine 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). She has connected on 44.7% of her shots from the field which is second-best on the team.

    Morris Back In Business
    UCLA freshman guard Darxia Morris, from Pasadena, CA (Muir HS), suffered a knee injury during a weekend (Jan. 4, 6) in which she scored 20 points in a win over then-No. 2 Stanford and added 14 points, including 12 in the second half, against No. 10 Cal. She had started the previous six games and in 12 games overall this season.

    Morris sat out two weeks (three games-UW, WSU, USC) of action before returning to the court vs. Oregon (Jan. 24). She came off the bench to score eight points in 20 minutes of action against the Ducks. She is currently averaging 8.7 points (tied for third on the team) and began the week averaging 2.00 steals, which ranked fourth in the Pac-10 Conference.

    Mo Better
    Sophomore center Moniquee Alexander has shown big improvements, earning starts in 12 of the last 15 games. She had five rebounds at home against both then-No. 2 Stanford and then-No. 10 California and led the team with nine rebounds, including four offensive boards, at Washington. Against then-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. On the year, she is averaging 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and has played in 23 games with 14 overall starts. She sat out the Bruins' game at Stanford with a concussion and came off the bench in last week's wins over the Washington schools.

    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 (4.5 average) and blocks (12).

    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 first and second on the team in steals, with Henderson totaling 50 and Morris 42. Henderson began the week ranked third in steals per game in the Pac-10 (2.08), and Morris was ranked fourth (2.00). Morris is second on the team in assists with 58 while averaging 8.7 points per game.

    Henderson has long been known as the Bruins' defensive spark plug, but she has also upped her offensive game this year, averaging 7.5 points and leading the team in scoring with a career-high 16 in the comeback win over Oregon State. She also poured in 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).

    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.

    Challenging '07-08 Schedule
    The Bruins have already played host to the past two NCAA championship teams this season, 2005-06 title holder Maryland on Nov. 25; 2006-07 champ Tennessee on Dec. 19. In fact, UCLA has 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 St., BYU, Tennessee, UC Riverside, Arizona St., Stanford, Cal, and Washington - and three more in the WNIT - Rice, San Diego, and Oregon.

    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 and 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 (1st start) and guards Campbell and Morris. 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 24 games this year.

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