UCLA Begins Pac-10 Tournament Play Against USC On Saturday
March 4, 2008
GAME 30: Saturday, Mar. 8
OPPONENT: USC (17-12, 10-8)
GAME TIME: 7:15 pm
GAME SITE: HP Pavilion (18,500)
UCLA TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)
UCLA Meets USC In First Tournament Game
UCLA (15-14, 10-8) will play its first game in the State Farm Pac-10 Tournament on Saturday, Mar. 8 against USC (17-12, 10-8). The game will take place at approximately 7:15 pm at HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. It is the first time USC and UCLA have squared off in Pac-10 Tournament play. The teams finished in a tie for fourth place in the Pac-10 conference standings. USC won both regular season meetings to win the tiebreaker for the No. 4 seed.
UCLA's Pac-10 Tournament History -- All-Time Record: 7-5
2007 - San Jose, CA
#7 UCLA 72 def. #10 Washington State 58
(Lindsey Pluimer 15 pts.; Chinyere Ibekwe 7 pts., 9 reb.)
#2 Arizona State 74 def. #7 UCLA 64
(Chinyere Ibekwe 16 pts., Pluimer 12 pts.; Henderson 7 pts., 3 steals)
2006 - San Jose, CA (Pac-10 Tournament Champs)
#3 UCLA 80 def. #6 Cal 63
(Ibekwe 10 pts., 5-7 shooting; Pluimer 9 pts., 4-5 shooting)
#3 UCLA 60 def. #2 Arizona State 59
(Pluimer, Ibekwe 4 pts.)
#3 UCLA 85 def. #1 Stanford 76 ot
(Pluimer 16 pts.; Ibekwe 8 pts.)
2005 - San Jose, CA
#3 Arizona State 73, #6 UCLA 71
(Pluimer 16 pts.)
2004 - San Jose, CA
#4 UCLA 70 def. #5 Arizona State 50
#1 Stanford 70 def. #4 UCLA 66
2003 - San Jose, CA
#4 UCLA 71 def. #5 Oregon 58
#1 Stanford 69 def. #4 UCLA 64
2002 - Eugene, OR
#8 UCLA 46 def. #9 Cal 42
#1 Stanford 96 def. #8 UCLA 61
USC is coming off a home loss on Mar. 1 to Arizona State and finished the regular season with three straight losses. The Women of Troy lead the series with the Bruins by a 41-27 count after winning both of this year's meetings.
First Game Recap: UCLA nearly overcame a 21-point second-half deficit, closing to within two with a minute remaining, but USC finished out the game at the free throw line and won by a 64-56 score on Jan. 19. The Bruins scored 13 unanswered points in a three-minute stretch to cut the lead 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.
Second Game Recap: USC bested the Bruins 49-36 on Feb. 17 in Pauley in a game played before the fourth-largest crowd in women's school history (8,013). The Trojans led 22-12 at the half, holding UCLA to its lowest first-half point total ever in a game played in Pauley Pavilion. After UCLA narrowed the gap to 28-23 in the second half, the Trojans went on a 13-2 run to take control of the contest. The 36 points scored by the Bruins matched the school mark for lowest points scored in a game. Tierra Henderson led UCLA with seven. Doreena Campbell and Regina Rogers tied for team-high rebound honors with eight.
Last Game: Bruins Best Arizona
UCLA jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the early going and went on to post a 80-70 win over Arizona on Senior Day. Lone Bruin senior, Lindsey Pluimer led the way for UCLA with 18 points and 11 rebounds.Tierra Henderson added 10 points and seven assists. Nina Earl came off the bench with 17 points. Doreena Campbell helped UCLA set a season-best mark with four of the team's eight threes on the day for her 12 points.
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 29 games, while a fourth has seen action in 28 games. Doreena Campbell has made 28 starts, Nina Earl 15, Regina Rogers 13, Darxia Morris 12 and Candice Brown 2. Five freshmen are averaging in double figures minutes played. Three freshmen 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, including the regular season finale versus Arizona.
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 fixture in the Bruin starting lineup from day one, is set to become the first UCLA player in the NCAA era to earn a start in every game of her career - now 121 games and counting, which ties her for third on UCLA's all-time list for career starts.
Pluimer currently ranks 13th on UCLA's career scoring list with 1,539 points, 10th in rebounds with 725, sixth in blocked shots with 92 and seventh in 3-point field goals made with 83. She is only the fifth Bruin ever 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. Pluimer leads the Bruins this year in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and three-pointers and ranks in the Pac-10's Top 10 in six of 13 individual categories.
She was named to the 2007-08 CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VIII first team and was a nominee for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. In her career, she has received Pac-10 All-Academic first-team honors twice and CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District honors three times. She will graduate with honors this spring.
Campbell Strong All-Around
Freshman guard Doreena Campbell has been a standout for the Bruins in all categories, averaging 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.43 assists, 1.59 steals and just 2.15 turnovers per game in 27 starts. She ranks No. 6 in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.60), No. 8 in assists (3.43) and No. 19 in rebounding (4.4). Campbell is first on the team in assists (96) and second in minutes per game (30.8). With 96 assists on the year, she currently ranks seventh on the all-time UCLA freshman top-10 list.
Campbell 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 and matched her minutes played best at Washington while recording a new career-high with eight rebounds. She tied that rebounding mark with eight in the home game vs. USC and at Oregon.
Her Name Is Earl
Freshman forward Nina Earl ranks second on the team in scoring with a 9.0 average (20th in Pac-10). Earl has scored in double figures 11 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 42.7% of her field goals, which is tied for best on the team with Regina Rogers.
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 in the home game against the Ducks.
Morris ranks second on the Bruin team in steals (1.69, ranked ninth in the Pac-10) and assists (64 assists) and is fifth in scoring with a 7.3 points per game average.
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 (4.7 average) and blocks (17). She ranks 17th in the Pac-10 in rebounding (4.7). Her 17 blocks rank tied for ninth on the UCLA freshman top-10 single-season list.
Tenacious T On Defense And Offense
Junior guard Tierra Henderson has long been known as the Bruins' defensive sparkplug, but this season, she has also upped her offensive game, averaging 7.8 points per game. In the home win over Oregon State, she led the team in scoring with a career-high 16 points, and she also poured in 15 points at Pepperdine and led the team in scoring in the home game against Arizona State with 12 points. She has scored in double-figures seven times this year. In Pac-10 games, she is shooting .441 (56-27) from the field to rank 10th in the Conference. Her shooting percentage in all games is .423 (90-213), a nearly .100 improvement from a year ago.
Henderson still leads the team in steals and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with a 1.97 average. At Arizona, she tied her career-high in steals with seven. She has had three or more steals 11 times this season.
Finnishing Up At The Line
Sophomore guard Erica Tukiainen has seen marked improvement this season at the free throw line, shooting .800 (32-40) after shooting just .448 (13-29) a year ago. The Bruins' co-captain along with Lindsey Pluimer, Tukiainen has started in 20 of 29 games this season, including 13 of the last 14 games. She has a season and career-high point total of 12 points, set at Washington State.
Sophomore center Moniquee Alexander has shown big improvements, earning starts in 13 of the last 20 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 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and has played in 28 games with 15 overall starts. She sat out the Bruins' game at Stanford with a concussion and came off the bench in the home wins over the Washington schools. She returned to the starting lineup at home against USC and came off the bench in both games in Oregon and vs. Arizona State.
Challenging '07-08 Schedule
The Bruins 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. UCLA 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.
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. At Oregon State and Oregon, Candice Brown earned her first career starts.
The Bruins have utilized 12 different starting lineups in the 29 games this year.
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 is wearing new jerseys that have a different-colored 'C' in UCLA. The 'C' signifies the Roman numeral for 100.
Bruins Think Pink, Raise Money For Revlon/UCLA Breast Center
UCLA did its part in raising breast cancer awareness by participating in an ESPN2-televised Think Pink game on Feb. 10 against Washington. The Bruins wore special white and pink jerseys, which were auctioned online the following week. The Think Pink jersey auction recorded gross sales of $5,052.60. The highest single bid was for $660 for the #13 UCLA jersey. All proceeds will be donated to the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center.