Women's Basketball Opens Pac-10 Play At USC Dec. 28

Dec. 23, 2003

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Bruins at USC on Sunday in Lexus Gauntlet Matchup - UCLA (4-4 after a 69-56 win over Fresno State on Dec. 21) will battle cross-town rival USC (3-5) on Sunday, Dec. 28 at 2 pm in the Sports Arena in the two teams' Pac-10 opener. The two teams will also be battling for five Lexus Gauntlet points in the year-long 18-sport competition between the two schools. USC currently leads the competition in 2003-04, 22.5-12.5. UCLA won last year's Lexus Gauntlet Trophy after USC won the inaugural trophy in 2001-02.

A Look at the Women of Troy - USC brings a 3-5 record into the Pac-10 opener, having played the eighth-toughest schedule in the nation. The Women of Troy have dropped close contests to No. 1 Connecticut (69-72) and No. 14 Colorado (67-69). Senior Ebony Hoffman leads the team in scoring (15.4 points per game) and rebounding (8.5/game).

The Series with USC - The Trojans lead the all-time series with the Bruins by a 33-25 count. Last year, the teams split a pair of games, each winning on their home court. The Trojans won the last meeting, on Feb. 8 at the Sports Arena, by a score of 72-68. Michelle Greco led UCLA with 28 points. Lisa Willis added 18 points. UCLA won the January meeting in Pauley Pavilion by a score of 72-64. Greco also had 28 points in that contest. Nikki Blue added 12 points.

UCLA on the Radio - All of UCLA's games this season will be radio broadcast live on KIIS 850am in Thousand Oaks and on the internet at www.uclabruins.com. Dave Marcus and Michael Sondheimer will be on hand to call the action.

Bruins Will Host Ohio State on Tuesday Dec. 30 - The Bruins return home to Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 30 to host nationally ranked Ohio State at 7 p.m. The Buckeyes have a record of 7-1 (all seven wins have come at home) and will play at UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 28 prior to meeting the Bruins. Junior guard Caity Matter leads four Buckeyes who are averaging in double figures entering the week with a 15.5 scoring mark. The team enters the week outscoring its opponents on average by 27 points a game while shooting 57% as a team.

Notes - The Bruins shot a season-high 50.8% at CSUN ... Nikki Blue tied her career-high with nine assists at Fresno State ... Lisa Willis has made at least two three-pointers in four games this season with a high of five made at Texas ... Julia Pitts had her first double-figure scoring night of the season with 13 points at CSUN and has made 19 of her last 29 shots ... Pitts scored 13 more against Fresno State ... Whitney Jones made her 63rd career start versus Fresno State ... Three of the four Bruin losses have come at the hands of nationally ranked teams from Texas, Purdue and Michigan State ... The last three losses have been by a combined total of six points

Multi-Sport Stars Jones and Ringel Join the Team - Two-sport athletes Whitney Jones (soccer) and Brittany Ringel (volleyball) have rejoined the Bruin basketball team after completing their fall sports. Jones was a starting midfielder and first-team All-Pac-10 selection for the UCLA women's soccer team, which advanced to the College Cup national semifinals before being eliminated by eventual national champion North Carolina. Jones joined the basketball team Dec. 9th for practice and she saw her first action of the season against Purdue. Brittany Ringel was a starting outside hitter for the volleyball team, which advanced to the Regional Final last Saturday before falling to USC. Ringel, who earned All-Tournament honors at the NCAA Regional, joined the basketball team this past week for practice.

Blue Selected UCLA/MET-Rx Student-Athlete of the Week - Sophomore guard Nikki Blue was named the UCLA/MET-Rx Student-Athlete of the Week for the week of Dec. 15-21 after averaging 14.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 4.3 steals per game in wins over Cal State Northridge and Fresno State and a close loss to No. 24 Michigan State. Blue led UCLA in scoring in both victories, recording 14 points against Northridge and a season-high 23 against Fresno State. She also tied her career-high with nine assists against the Bulldogs and led the team in rebounding against Michigan State (nine) and Fresno State (seven).

Bruins Picked To Finish Sixth/Seventh In Pac-10 - The Pac-10 women's basketball coaches picked UCLA to finish sixth in the conference. Stanford, with eight first-place votes, was the solid choice to finish first. The Cardinal were followed by Arizona (two first-place votes), Washington, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, USC, Oregon State, California and Washington State.

The Pac-10 media also tabbed Stanford for the top spot. Next was Arizona, Washington and Arizona State. USC was picked to finish fifth followed by Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State, California and Washington State.

Blue Named to Pre-Season All-Conference Team by Media - Nikki Blue was selected by the media to the Pre-Season All-Conference team announced at the annual Pac-10 media day in San Jose on Oct. 29. Blue was joined by Stanford's Nicole Powell, USC's Ebony Hoffman, Washington's Giuliana Mendiola and Arizona's Shawntinice Polk.

UCLA Signs Two for Class of 2008 - UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier signed two players, forward Lindsey Pluimer and guard Lauren Pedersen, to National Letters of Intent to enter school in the Fall of 2004. Pluimer, a 6-3 forward from San Clemente, CA High, is considered by some publications to be one of the top 35 recruits in the nation. She was chosen the CIF Southern Section Div. I-A Player of the Year last season as a junior and averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots per game. Pedersen, a 5-10 guard, was a All-CIF Southern Section and Div. II-A first-team pick last year following her junior season. An outstanding perimeter shooter, she averaged 13.9 points, 5.2 assists, 4.6 steals and four rebounds per game as a junior and had been ranked as one of the top 60 recruits in the nation by one publication.

Challenging Schedule Ahead For Bruins - The Bruins could play 17 regular season games against teams which advanced to the post-season last season. Non-conference games will be played against NCAA Tournament teams from Texas, Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State. Pre-season ranked (USA Today) opponents include Arizona (22), Ohio State (15), Purdue (9), Stanford (7) and Texas (3). UCLA's strength of schedule currently ranks 12th in the nation in the WBCA's RPI ratings.

Player Bio Updates

#00 Ortal Oren - Has seen action in all eight games ... Scored a career-best 11 points vs. Fresno State ... Had a career high four boards vs. Michigan State ... Had four points and two assists at CSUN ... Scored six points vs. Illinois ... Had four points vs. UNLV ... Saw action in 11 games last season ... Had a high of nine points against both Washington State and CSUN ... Member of the Israeli Junior National team ... Team won the Israeli School Championships in her senior year. Career Highs: Points - 11 vs. Fresno St., 12-21-03; Rebounds - 4, vs. Michigan State, 12-19-03; Assists - 2, last at CSUN, 12-17-02; Steals - 3, last vs. Wash. St., 1-5-03.

#3 Shaina Zaidi - Saw her first action of the season at Northridge ... Point guard who helped her team win the CIF Division IV-AA Southern Section championship and advance to the CIF State Regional Division IV finals as a senior ... Averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists as a senior ... Adidas Super 60 selection.

#10 Whitney Jones - Had four points and six rebounds vs. Michigan State ... Made her first start of the season at CSUN and had 14 points and six rebounds ... Saw her first action against Purdue and had four points and five boards in 27 minutes ... Starting midfielder on the soccer team who joined the hoops team on Dec. 9 after the team's loss to eventual champion North Carolina in the College Cup semifinals ... Has 63 career basketball starts ... Entered the season ranked 10th on the all-time UCLA free throw list (.736) and fifth in made three-point shots in her career ... Had her fourth career double-double last season with 24 points and 10 rebounds versus Oregon. Career Highs: Points - 24, last at Oregon, 12-27-02; Rebounds - 10, last vs. Stanford, 1-24-03; Assists - 4, last vs. Arizona, 2-14-03; Steals - 5, last at Cal, 2-20-03.

#11 Julia Pitts - Scored 13 points and pulled down a team-high tying seven boards vs. Fresno State ... Scored eight points vs. Michigan State ... Had 13 points in the win at CSUN, including six in the last three minutes as UCLA took over the lead ... Had seven points at St. Mary's ... Scored three points and had four rebounds vs. Illinois ... Had four points and four boards at Texas ... Starter against UNLV and finished with seven points and four boards ... Starter in the first eight games of last season ... Averaged 10.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and shot .674 from the field ... Suffered a left knee injury in the first half of the Baylor game ... Had surgery Dec. 30, 2002. Career Highs: Points - 20 at Georgia, 12-6-02; Rebounds - 11 v. N'western State, 12-1-02; Assists - 4 at Georgia, 12-6-02; Steals - 2, last v. Michigan St., 12-19-03.

#13 Gennifer Arranaga - Had four points and six rebounds vs. Fresno ... Scored three points at Purdue ... Scored eight points in win over Illinois ... Had 11 points and team-best six rebounds in a starting role at Texas ... Had four points, three boards, two assists and three steals vs. UNLV ... Appeared in all 29 games last season and has seen action in the last 68 games in a row ... Sparked the Bruins to wins over Arizona and USC last season ... Named all-tournament at the Las Vegas Shootout. Career Highs: Points - 21 v. Stanford, 2-24-02; Rebounds - 8 v. Stanford, 2-24-02; Assists - 6 v. Oregon St., 12-22-01; Steals - 6 v. Georgia, 12-30-00.

#21 Brittany Ringel - Starter at outside hitter on the volleyball team ... Joined the basketball squad on Dec. 17 after UCLA was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the NCAA volleyball tournament on Dec. 13 ... Sat out last year after playing on the basketball team during her true freshman year of 2001-02.

#22 Consuelo Lezcano - Saw her first collegiate action against Texas ... Exciting freshman who was a volleyball and basketball star at Marathon, FL High School ... Scored over 2,100 points in her prep career ... Averaged 22 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks per game as a senior.

#31 Amanda Livingston - Scored six points vs. Fresno State ... Had four points and a block at CSUN ... Totaled six points, two blocks and four rebounds v. Purdue ... Had five boards at St. Mary's ... Recorded six points and three boards in a starting role against Illinois ... Had four points against Texas ... Came off the bench to score seven points and grab three boards vs. UNLV ... Led her team to the State championship as a senior in the school's first ever trip to the title game ... Averaged 17.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a senior. Career Highs: Points - 7 v. UNLV, 11-23-03; Rebounds - 5 at St. Mary's 12-6-03; Assists - ; Steals - 1, last v. Fresno St., 12-21-03; Blocks - 2 at Purdue, 12-13-03.

#32 Nikki Blue - Led the team with 23 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and six steals vs. Fresno State ... Led the Bruins with nine rebounds v. Michigan State ... Had eight assists and scored 14 points at CSUN ... Named the UCLA/MET-Rx Student-Athlete of the Week for Dec. 15-21 ...Had 20 points and six rebounds v. Purdue ... Scored 17 points and had five assists at St. Mary's ... Led the team with 16 points vs. Illinois ... Had eight points and three steals at Texas ... Led the Bruins with 15 points vs. UNLV ... Also had six rebounds, six assists and six steals ...Named to the pre-season All-Pac-10 team at the 2003-04 conference media day ... Starter in all 29 games last season ... Just the second Bruin ever to be named first-team All-Pac-10 as a freshman ... Selected to the Pac-10's All-Freshman team and to the conference All-Tournament team ... Finished fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring, sixth in assists, second in steals and eighth in assist/turnover ratio ... Set a UCLA freshman scoring record with 35 points against Washington . Career Highs: Points - 35 at Washington, 2-1-03; Rebounds - 12 v. Sacramento St., 11-24-02; Assists - 9, last v. Fresno St., 12-21-03; Steals - 8 v. Oregon, 3-8-03.

#35 Jamila Veasley - Had four rebounds vs. Fresno State ... Tallied three boards at Purdue ... Returned to the starting lineup at St. Mary's and had four rebounds ... Did not play against Illinois due to injury ... Left the Texas contest in the second half with an injured shoulder ... Started the UNLV game, but saw just 10 minutes of action due to foul trouble ... Starter in all 29 games last season and 48 games overall in her career ... Ranked seventh in Pac-10 blocked shots (0.69) last year ... Scored a career-high 12 points in the win last season at Oregon. Career Highs: Points - 12, at Oregon, 12-27-02; Rebounds - 12, v. St. Mary's 12-3-02; Assists - 3, at Oregon, 12-27-02; Steals - 5, v. Ariz. St., 1-17-02; Blocks - 3, v. Wash. St., 1-3-03.

#40 Lisa Willis - Led the team with 13 points vs. Michigan State ... Had 13 points and four assists at CSUN ... Tied her career-highs with 18 points and five steals at Purdue ... Added career-high totals in rebounds (9) and assists (4) ... Had 10 points and six boards at St. Mary's ... Had seven points and three steals vs. Illinois ... Moved into the school's top 10 in three-point shots made ... Had 17 points, including five three-point shots, against Texas ... Made her first career start vs. UNLV and scored 13 points ... Appeared in all 29 games and finished with 46 made three-pointers (second on UCLA freshman list) and on defense with 55 steals ... Seventh in the Pac-10 in three-point shots made (1.59/g) ... Had 11 double figure scoring games and made at least one three-point shot in 21 games as freshman. Career Highs: Points - 18, last at Purdue, 12-13-03; Rebounds - 9 at Purdue, 12-13-03; Assists - 4, last v. Michigan St., 12-19-03; Steals - 5, last at Purdue, 12-13-03.

#44 Emma Tautolo - Had four points vs. Fresno State ... Scored six points and had career-high marks of six rebounds and three assists at CSUN ... Had two points at Purdue ... Had two points and three boards at St. Mary's ... Scored a career-high 10 points vs. Illinois ... Had three points at Texas ... Played against UNLV but did not score ... Appeared in 26 games in '03 ... Averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds ... Had bests of nine points and five rebounds versus Hawaii. Career Highs: Points - 10 v. Illinois, 11-30-03; Rebounds - 6 at CSUN, 12-17-03; Assists - 3 at CSUN, 12-17-03; Steals - 1, last at St. Mary's, 12-6-03.

#45 Noelle Quinn - Sat out the CSUN, Michigan State and Fresno games with a healing stress fracture in her right foot ... She is listed as day-to-day ... Had five rebounds at Purdue ... Totaled 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds at St. Mary's ... Had her first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds vs. Illinois ... Had eight points at Texas ... Scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds vs. UNLV ... In high school, she helped lead her team to three CIF Division III championships, four California Regional Division III crowns and four CIF state championships ... Parade Magazine and McDonald's All-American ... Averaged 22.9 points and 10.1 rebounds as a senior. Career Highs: Points - 12, v. Illinois, 11-30-03; Rebounds - 11, v. Illinois 11-30-03; Assists - 3, v. Illinois, 11-30-03; Steals - 3 v. UNLV, 11-23-03; Blocks - 1, last at St. Mary's, 12-6-03.

# 54 Sissy Pickett - Had four points, a blocked shot and three boards against Fresno State ... Had six points in five minutes of play at CSUN, hitting all three of her shots ... Saw her first action of the season at Texas but did not score ... Saw action in 12 games last season ... Averaged 2.1 points and 1.2 rebounds ... Had six points in the win over St. Mary's ... Career 77% free throw shooter. Career Highs: Points - 13, v. Wash. St., 2-1-02; Rebounds - 6, at Ariz, 2-14-02; Steals - 2, v. Wash. St., 2-1-02.

Head Coach Kathy Olivier - Entering her 11th year as UCLA head coach, Kathy Olivier (152-143) has steadily built the program to reflect her own positive, upbeat and outgoing personality. In 2003, the team posted 12 wins in conference play, a total surpassed by only two other previous UCLA teams. The team improved its scoring average from 59.0 in the 2001-02 season to 73.0 points per game. Olivier has coached the only two Bruins players to be named first-team All-Pac-10 as freshmen (Nikki Blue and Maylana Martin). In 2002, she directed a team which lost its top two scorers in the middle of the season to the second round of the Pac-10 tournament . In 2001, Olivier guided a team which was playing without eight of its top nine scorers from the previous season to a winning home record in Pac-10 play and wins over three nationally-ranked teams.

In 2000, she saw her team reach the NCAA tournament for a school record third straight season. The squad also set a Bruin home attendance record by averaging over 3,700 fans. Maylana Martin became just the third player to ever earn All-Pac-10 honors in four straight seasons.

In 1999, she led her Bruin team to the school's first ever Pac-10 title and an unprecedented second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance for the program. The team totaled the most wins (26) since the 1981 season and advanced further in the NCAA tournament (Regional final) than any previous UCLA team. The team put together back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1970's. In addition, the 1999 Bruin team finished with its highest ranking ever (No. 7) in the USA Today poll. In 1998, she guided UCLA to what was then its best finish ever (tied for second) in the Pac-10, its best winning percentage in the last 17 seasons and the first 20-win season since 1992.

Game Recaps -

Bruins Run Past Fresno - UCLA used a season-high 23 points from Nikki Blue to help run past Fresno State, 69-56, in Pauley. Blue also added a career-high tying nine assists, plus seven rebounds and six steals in the contest. UCLA used a 13-2 run early in the second half to break open a close game and put away the Bulldogs. Ortal Oren added a career-best 11 points off the bench.

No. 24 MSU Holds Off Bruins - UCLA got as close as two points on three occasions in the second half but could not take the lead and dropped a 47-43 decision to Michigan State. The Bruins trailed by three-points and had the ball with 34 seconds to play but could not convert. MSU hit a free throw with 7.6 seconds to play for the final margin. Lisa Willis led UCLA with 13 points.

Bruins Best CSUN - The Bruins scored a season-high 74 points and bested Cal State Northridge 74-66 in Northridge. Nikki Blue and Whitney Jones each scored 14 points to lead the way for UCLA. The Bruins trailed 37-31 at halftime and rallied for their first road win of the season.

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