Bruins Host Stanford, Cal In Battle For Pac-10 Women's Basketball Supremacy

Jan. 21, 2003

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Second-Place UCLA Hosts First-Place Stanford - UCLA (11-5, 6-1 in the Pac-10) will complete the first round of conference play by hosting Stanford (14-1, 6-0) and California (6-9, 2-4) this weekend, attempting to reclaim first place in the Pac-10 standings. Fifth-ranked Stanford took over first after sweeping the Washington schools last weekend, while the Bruins split at Arizona. The top two Pac-10 teams will battle on Friday, Jan. 24 at 7:00 pm in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA will face Cal on Sunday, Jan. 26 at Noon.

Cal Game Time Change - The tip-off time for the January 26 home game against California has been changed to 12:00 pm. Previously-printed schedules had listed the game with a 2:00 pm start time.

Radio/TV Broadcast Info - Both games will be broadcast live on the internet at Sunday's game will additionally be aired on the radio at KTDD (1350 am) and KBET (850 am). Tony Luftman will call the action.

Bruin Team Notes - UCLA is averaging 76.4 points per game this season after scoring at a 59.0 clip in 2001-02 ... Bruins have held eight of their last nine opponents under 70 points and have allowed an average of 65.6 points per game this season, 60.1 during conference play ... Only three opponents this season have shot over 45.1% against the Bruins (Hawaii, Baylor and Arizona, all losses) ... UCLA is shooting 44% from the field this season after registering just a 34% mark last year ... Free throw shooting is also improved (68% from 64%) ... The Bruins have held opponents under .450 shooting in all 11 wins ... Arizona became just the second opponent (Baylor) this season which has managed to produce more assists than turnovers versus the Bruin defense ... The Bruins shot a season-best 55.4% in the wins over both Cal State Northridge and Oregon ... 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 lead the Pac-10 in steals (12.62 entering the week), three-point field goal defense (.284) and turnover margin (+6.19) ... The crowd of 6,172 at the USC game was the ninth-best home crowd in school history in Pauley.

About The Opponents - Stanford is the defending Pac-10 regular season champion and has won 27 consecutive league games, dating back to Mar. 3, 2001, and nine in a row overall. The Cardinal is led by junior guard Nicole Powell, who is averaging a double-double with 15.8 points and 10.0 rebounds. Three others are averaging in double figures - Azella Perryman (12.1, with 9.0 rebounds), Kelley Suminksi (11.9) and Sebnem Kimyacioglu (10.4).

California is coming off a 73-61 home win against Washington State. UCLA leads the overall series, 31-8, and has won the last three meetings, holding Cal under 50 points in all three contests.

Bruins Fall at No. 22 Arizona - Arizona stopped the Bruin seven-game winning streak with a 80-61 win over UCLA in Tucson. Arizona got off to a 20-6 lead and enjoyed a 42-23 margin at the half. UCLA battled back and cut the lead to 48-43 at the 12:47 mark, but could not get closer. Nikki Blue led UCLA with 19 points.

Bruins Edge Sun Devils, 60-58 - Behind a career-high 30 points from freshman guard Nikki Blue, UCLA won its seventh-consecutive game after a 60-58 victory at Arizona State. Blue made the big plays down the stretch, putting UCLA ahead 58-57 on a jumper with 44 seconds to play and made a steal on the next ASU possession. Blue totaled 19 of the final 21 Bruin points in the game.

Bruins In Pac-10 Standings -
*Michelle Greco entered the week ranked first in the conference in scoring with a 18.6 average. She also ranked first in steals (2.69) and was fourth (tied) in free throw percentage (.812).
*Nikki Blue was ranked fifth (tied) in scoring entering the week with her 15.4 mark, eighth in assists (3.50) and ninth in steals (1.88).
*Lisa Willis ranked in three categories - three-point FG percentage (seventh, 39.1%), three-point FG made (fifth, 1.69) and steals (sixth-t, 2.00).
*Jamila Veasley ranked seventh in blocked shots with a 0.88 average.
*Natalie Nakase ranked fourth in assist / turnover ratio at 1.70.

As a team, the Bruins topped the standings in steals with a 12.62 average, three-point field goal defense (.284) and turnover margin (+6.19). UCLA is also amongst the leaders in scoring offense (2nd,76.4 ppg), field goal percentage (3rd, .441), scoring margin (3rd,+10.8), assist/turnover ratio (3rd, 0.96) and field goal percentage defense (4th, .397).

Freshmen Make Big Contributions - The Bruin freshman class of Nikki Blue, Lisa Willis, Julia Pitts, Emma Tautolo and Ortal Oren has accounted for 43% of UCLA's scoring load so far this season. Blue ranks second behind scoring leader Michelle Greco at 15.4 points per game and is first on the team with 56 assists and first in rebounding with 87 (5.4 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 27 treys (39% from beyond the arc) and averages 8.5 points. Tautolo and Oren average 2.6 and 4.6 points, respectively.

Greco On CLASS Award Watch List - Michelle Greco has been selected to the CLASS (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) Award Players to Watch List. The award honors the top senior in the nation who best exemplifies great achievement on the court and in the classroom. Ten finalists for the CLASS Award will be selected in February, with ballotting being conducted in March. The male and female award winner will each be announced during the respective men's and women's NCAA Final Four weekends.

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