Pac-10 Co-Leader UCLA Hosts Washington Schools

Dec. 30, 2002

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UCLA Hosts Washington (Fri.) and Wash. State (Sunday) - UCLA (7-4, 2-0 in the Pac-10) will play its first conference home games this weekend when Washington and Washington State visit Pauley Pavilion. The Huskies (9-1, 1-0) and Bruins meet first on Friday, Jan. 3 at 7:00 pm. The Cougars (0-9, 0-1) are UCLA's second opponent on Sunday, Jan. 5 at 2:00 pm.

Broadcast Info - UCLA's games against the Washington schools will be broadcast on KTDD (1350 am) and KBET (850 am), as well as on the internet at Tony Luftman and Stacey Nuveman will call the action, with Michael Sondheimer joining the broadcast for Sunday's game.

Series Info - The Bruins trail Washington 23-11 in the all-time series with the Huskies. UCLA has lost three of the last four to UW in the series which dates back to 1985. The Bruins lead Washington State 26-6 in the all-time series, which dates back to 1987 UCLA has won three of the last four meetings in the overall series with the Cougars and has won all 13 meetings played in Pauley Pavilion.

About The Opponents - Washington has won eight games in a row after losing at Texas Tech in the second game of the season. The Huskies defeated Washington State 77-69 last Saturday in Pullman, in the conference opener for both teams. Senior Loree Payne leads four Husky players in double figures with a 16.0 ppg mark (fourth in the Pac-10). Washington State is 0-9 entering the week and has lost 32-straight games, dating back to last year. Bianca McCall leads the Cougars with 11.3 scoring and 7.8 rebounding marks.

Bruin Team Notes - UCLA is averaging 78.5 points per game this season after scoring at a 59.0 clip in 2000-01 ... The Bruins shot a season-best 55.4% in the wins over both Cal State Northridge and Oregon ... The 93 points scored in the win at Oregon was the most by a Bruin team in a Pac-10 game since UCLA totaled 93 points in a win over Washington St. in March of 2001... This is the best Bruin start in the conference since it won its first six conference games to begin the 1999-2000 season ... The Bruins have held opponents under .450 shooting in all seven wins.

Bruins In Pac-10 Standings - Michelle Greco ranks first in the conference in scoring with a 19.3 average and is fifth in free throw percentage (.797), third in steals (2.55) and sixth in assist/turnover ratio (1.48).

Nikki Blue is sixth in scoring with her 15.6 mark, 10th (t) in assists (3.45) and 10th in steals (1.82).

Lisa Willis ranks in three categories - three-point FG percentage (seventh, 43.8%), three-point FG made (third, 1.91) and steals (seventh, 2.00).

Jamila Veasley ranks ninth (t) in blocked shots with a 0.73 average.

As a team, the Bruins top the standings in steals with a 12.27 average and rank second in scoring offense with 78.5 points per game. UCLA among the leaders in turnover margin (third, +5.64), assist/turnover ratio (third, 0.93), and field goal percentage (third, 4.50).

Freshmen Make Big Contributions - The Bruin freshman class of Nikki Blue, Lisa Willis, Julia Pitts, Emma Tautolo and Ortal Oren have accounted for 44% of UCLA's scoring load so far this season. Blue, Pitts and Willis rank in the Top Four on the team in scoring. Blue ranks second behind scoring leader Michelle Greco at 15.6 points per game and is first on the team with 38 assists and second in rebounding with a 5.2 average. Pitts, prior to her injury, averaged 10.0 points per game and led the team in rebounding with a 5.9 average. Willis is UCLA's top three-point shooter with 21 treys (44% from beyond the arc) and averages 7.9 points. Tautolo and Oren average 2.8 and 3.0 points, respectively.

Greco Aims For Record Books - Senior guard Michelle Greco will look to keep climbing the UCLA scoring charts in 2002-03. She entered the season ranked No. 15 on the career points chart with 1,158 and has moved into the top-10 (see chart on p. 3 of above PDF). In addition, Greco looks to challenge Denise Curry's long-standing career free throw percentage mark of .818. Greco entered the season with a career free throw percentage mark of .813 (218-268).

Blue Impressive All Around - Freshman guard Nikki ranks first or second on the team in many statistical categories - scoring (2nd, 15.6 points), rebounding (2nd, 5.2), assists (1st, 38), minutes played (2nd, 27.8) and three-point shots made (2nd, 9).

Pitts Out For Season - Freshman forward Julia Pitts will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and a torn LCL in her left knee. Pitts suffered the injury in the first half of the UCLA's game against Baylor on Dec. 19. She will have surgery on Monday, Dec. 30. Pitts averaged 10.0 points and a team-best 5.9 rebounds per game. She had started UCLA's first eight games of the season.

Greco, Blue Earn Pre-Season Honors - Senior guard Michelle Greco and freshman guard Nikki Blue earned pre-season honors in 2002-03. Greco was selected by the media to the pre-season all-conference team for the second consecutive year. She was also named to the Women's Basketball News Service pre-season All-America second team, joining Stanford's Nicole Powell (first team) as the only two Pac-10 honorees. Blue was selected by Women's College as one of 21 'Freshmen of Impact' for 2002-03 and was also named to the Women's Basketball News Service pre-season All-Freshman team.

Pac-10 Tournament - The 2002-03 season will conclude with the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament to be played at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA on March 7-10. All conference schools will participate in the tournament, with the winner receiving the conference's automatic bid to the 2003 NCAA tournament. The team that finishes the regular season atop the Pac-10 standings, based on the results of the double round robin play, is the conference champion.

Game Time Change - The tip-off time for the January 26 home game against California has been changed from 2:00 pm to 12:00 pm.

Past Game Summaries:

Bruins Complete Oregon Road Sweep - Michelle Greco scored a game-high 29 points as UCLA rallied to defeat Oregon State, 58-54. The Beavers held the lead for most of the first half until UCLA tied the contest with six seconds remaining on a Greco layup. UCLA claimed the lead halfway through the second half and held on to win. The Bruins forced 26 Beaver turnovers to overcome lackluster shooting (34.5% on the day).

UCLA Notches Big Win At Mac Court - The Bruins recorded a huge 93-68 victory over Oregon, handing the Ducks their worst loss on Mac Court in 12 years. UCLA jumped out to a 27-7 lead in the first half and were never seriously challenged. The Bruins shot 55.4% from the field and forced 19 Duck turnovers. Nikki Blue tied her career-high with 26 points and also added five assists. Whitney Jones, in just her second start of the year, shot 10-12 from the field and recorded a double-double with a career-high tying 24 points and 10 rebounds. Jamila Veasley also set a career-high in scoring with 12 points.

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