Women's Basketball At USC On Saturday In Lexus Gauntlet Showdown

Feb. 3, 2003

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UCLA to Meet USC at Sports Arena on Saturday - UCLA (12-8, 7-4 in the Pac-10) will square off with USC (10-12, 5-6) on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 4:00 pm at the Sports Arena. Both teams are coming off road splits at Washington. UCLA defeated Washington State on Thursday by an 86-70 score for its fourth conference road win of the season. USC also defeated the Cougars, 89-36, on Saturday. Neither team fared well against No. 25 Washington - USC lost to the Huskies on Thursday, 94-76, while the Bruins fell 111-77. Nikki Blue led UCLA over the weekend, scoring 26 against WSU and a career-high and school freshman record 35 against UW.

Radio/TV Broadcast Info - The game will be broadcast live on the internet at www.uclabruins.com. and also aired on the radio at Fox Sports 1150 am and 690 am, KTDD (1350 am) and KBET (850 am). Tony Luftman and Michael Sondheimer will call the action.

Bruin Team Notes - Nikki Blue set a UCLA freshman scoring record with 35 points in the loss at Washington (old mark 33 by Maylana Martin vs. Washington in 1997) ... Her 32 shot attempts tied the school record held by Rehema Stephens (1991 vs. Virginia) ... Over the last six games, Blue has averaged 23.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.0 steals per game ... Michelle Greco, with 271 career steals, ranks tied for sixth in Pac-10 history in the category ... Greco's eight steals in the Stanford game tied her for the eighth-best performance in school history ... She made her first nine free throw attempts against Cal to extend her consecutive made free throw streak to 32 and set a school record ... The Bruin senior is on track to finish among the all-time UCLA leaders in 11 stat categories ... Greco has made 38 of her last 41 free throws entering the USC game ... Bruin freshmen are accounting for 42% of the team's scoring this season ... UCLA is averaging 76.2 points per game this season after scoring at a 59.0 clip in 2001-02 ... Only five opponents this season have shot over 45.1% against the Bruins (Hawaii, Baylor, Arizona, Washington and Stanford, all losses) ... UCLA is shooting 43% from the field this season after registering just a 34% mark last year ... Free throw shooting is also improved (70% from 64%) ... The Bruins have held opponents under .450 shooting in all 12 wins ... Washington became just the fourth opponent (Baylor, Arizona, Stanford) 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 ... The 6-0 conference start was the best Bruin start in the conference since it won its first six conference games to begin the 1999-2000 season ... The crowd of 6,172 at the USC game was the ninth-best home crowd in school history in Pauley.

The Series - The Bruins trail in the series with USC, 25-32. The Trojans have won three of the last four meetings, but UCLA enjoys a 5-4 advantage in the last nine contests. UCLA won the first meeting of the series, 72-64, in Pauley Pavilion on January 12. Michelle Greco led the Bruins in scoring (28), rebounding (seven), assists (three) and blocks (one). UCLA has lost its last three meetings played at USC.

Lexus Gauntlet Trophy - This weekend's meeting with USC will be the second women's basketball matchup in the year-long Lexus Gauntlet Trophy competition. UCLA earned the first five points awarded to women's basketball after the Bruin win in January, and Saturday's winner will receive the other five points. The Lexus Gauntlet Trophy will be awarded to the institution that wins the most head-to-head competitions in all sports between the schools. Currently, the Trojans and the Bruins are tied at 27.5 points. For more information on the Trophy, go to the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy page, at www.gauntlettrophy.com.

Climbing The Charts - Michelle Greco and Natalie Nakase are climbing their way up the UCLA record books and are poised to surpass some all-time UCLA greats this week. Greco needs three more steals to move into a tie for second place in the career steals list with Nicole Anderson. Greco is also five steals away from moving into fourth on the Pac-10's all-time career steals list. Nakase, with 341 assists, needs just 12 more to tie Hall of Famer Denise Curry for eighth on the school career list.

No. 25 Huskies Run Past Bruins - No. 25 ranked Washington jumped out to a 22-2 lead and never looked back in handing the Bruins an 111-77 defeat in Seattle. Nikki Blue led the Bruins with 35 points, a new school freshman scoring record. Michelle Greco added 29 points for the Bruins.

Bruins Shoot Past Washington State - The Bruins used 50% shooting and 26 points from Nikki Blue to pave the way for an 86-70 win over Washington State. Blue hit 12 of her 17 shots from the field and led the Bruins in rebounding with six and steals with four. The freshman was joined in double figure points by Michelle Greco, 16, and Gennifer Arranaga, 12.

Bruins In Pac-10 Standings (entering the week) -
*Michelle Greco entered the week ranked first in the conference in scoring with a 19.6 average. She also ranked first in steals (3.20) and was third in free throw percentage (.833).
*Nikki Blue was ranked third in scoring entering the week with her 17.1 mark, seventh in assists (3.50) and fourth in steals (2.15).
*Lisa Willis ranked eighth in three-point FG made (1.50) and 10th(t) in steals (1.85).
*Jamila Veasley ranked sixth in blocked shots with a 0.80 average.
*Natalie Nakase ranked fourth in assist / turnover ratio at 1.75.

As a team, the Bruins topped the standings in steals with a 13.45 average and turnover margin (+6.30). UCLA was also amongst the leaders in scoring offense (2nd, 76.2 ppg), field goal percentage (4th, .430), three-point field goal defense (3rd, .320), scoring margin (4th, +7.2), assist/turnover ratio (3rd, 0.89) and field goal percentage defense (4th, .414).

Pitts Out For Season - Freshman forward Julia Pitts will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL in her left knee. Pitts suffered the injury in the first half of the UCLA's game against Baylor on Dec. 19.

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 balloting 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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