Bruins, Cardinal Meet Again In Pac-10 Tournament Semifinals

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March 7, 2004

Bruins, Cardinal Meet Again In Pac-10 Tournament Semifinals - Fourth-seeded UCLA (17-11, winners of eight of its last nine games) will face top-seeded Stanford (22-6) in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament for the second consecutive year. The Bruins advanced to the semifinals after defeating fifth-seeded Arizona State, 70-50. Stanford advanced by defeating California, 80-55.

This Year Against Stanford - UCLA dropped two close decisions to Stanford this season, 78-71 in overtime at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 23 and 63-54 at Maples Pavilion on Feb. 21. In UCLA's home game, Nikki Blue led the Bruins with 25 points. In the road matchup, Noelle Quinn scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Stanford is the only team to have defeated UCLA in its last nine outings, and the Cardinal have eliminated the Bruins from the Pac-10 Tournament in the last two seasons.

UCLA On the Air - Sunday's game will be broadcast live at 3:00 pm on XTRA 690/1150 am and televised by Fox Sports Net and on the internet at Dave Marcus and Michael Sondheimer will be on hand to call the tournament action. Should the Bruins defeat the Cardinal, the Pac-10 Tournament championship game will be broadcast on XTRA 690/1150 am and televised live by Fox Sports Net.

Bruins Finish Regular Season Tied For Third in Pac-10 - With an 11-7 conference record, UCLA finished the regular season tied for third place in the Pac-10 Conference, its highest finish since winning the Pac-10 title in 1998-99. The Bruins exceeded expectations for a second consecutive season, having been picked to finish sixth by the conference coaches and seventh by the media.

UCLA's Pac-10 Tournament History - UCLA entered last year's tournament as the No. 4 seed and defeated Oregon, 71-58 to advance to the semifinal round. Top-seed Stanford then eliminated the Bruins, 69-64. Nikki Blue was named to the all-tournament squad after scoring 30 points and setting a Tournament record with eight steals against Oregon. Lisa Willis also entered the Pac-10 Tournament record books by hitting a single-game record five three-pointers against Stanford.

In the inaugural 2002 tournament, UCLA entered the event as the No. 8 seed and defeated Cal, 46-42, in a first round game. No. 1 seed Stanford bested the Bruins in the quarterfinal round by a score of 96-61.

Sophomore Nikki Blue is UCLA's all-time leading scorer in the Pac-10 Tournament with 56 career points.

The Defense Doesn't Rest - UCLA's defense has been amongst the program's all-time best this season, allowing an average of just 62.6 points per game, a figure which would rank as the third-lowest opponent scoring mark in school history and the lowest since the 1976-77 season (59.7). UCLA has held 14 opponents to 60 points or less this year, and only six opponents have scored more than 66 points in regulation. In addition, the Bruins' current opponent shooting percentage of .408 would rank as the fifth-lowest in school history. At Washington State, the Bruin defense limited the Cougars to an opponent season-low shooting percentage of .267. The Bruins lead the league in steals, averaging 12.54 per game.

The Triple Threat - UCLA boasts one of the finest backcourts in the Pac-10 with its Big Three of Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis, who entered the week ranked amongst the top 10 scorers in the conference (No. 5 Quinn, No. 8 Blue and No. 9 Willis). The trio was also ranked amongst the top 5 in steals (No. 1 Willis, No. 2 Blue and No. 4 Quinn). Against Oregon St. on Jan. 31, Quinn (24), Blue (23) and Willis (21) each scored 20 points. The last time the Bruins had three 20-point scorers in a game, Kristee Porter (22), Jones (21) and Greco (20) scored 20 or more against Washington (Mar. 10, 2001 in Pauley).

In her last nine games, Blue is averaging 6.3 assists (57), including a career-best 11 versus Arizona in Pauley. Her season total of 138 assists is nintth on the all-time school list. She began the tournament ranked second in the conference in steals (3.07), third in assists (4.96), eighth in scoring (14.5) and 14th in rebounding (5.6). Her total of 86 steals is the second-most ever in a season by a UCLA sophomore behind Willis and is the eighth-best total in UCLA history.

Quinn, in her last nine games, has averaged 21.8 points (196), 9.2 rebounds (83), 3.0 assists (27) and 2.3 steals (21) while shooting 45% from the field (70-155) and 89% from the line (48-54). She has six double-doubles, including one triple-double, in the nine games. Quinn has been all over the UCLA record books as of late. At Cal on Feb. 19, she became the first Bruin to record a triple-double (21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) since Erica Gomez (2/24/96 v. USC) and the first player in the Pac-10 this year. Her 21 points gave her six-straight games with 20 or more points to set a new Bruin freshman record (Ann Meyers previously held the record with four straight in 1974-75). The last Bruin, in any class, with more than five-straight 20+ games was Natalie Williams, with eight, in 1992-93. Against Arizona on Feb. 12, Quinn poured in a career-high 31 points, the fourth-best freshman total in school history. She had also connected on 30 straight free throws before missing her first attempt at Stanford but has hit 47 of her last 51 free throws. Earlier this season Quinn had three straight double-doubles (first Bruin to do so since Kisa Hughes did it twice in 1995-96). She was also the first Bruin to record three-straight double-figure rebound games since Janae Hubbard in 1998-99. Quinn, who has had double-doubles in seven of her last nine games and who has scored in double figures in the last 19 straight games, ranks seventh on the all-time UCLA freshman single-season scoring list with 401 points. She needs 21 points to tie Hall of Famer Ann Meyers for sixth. In the Pac-10, she enters the tournament ranked fifth in scoring (16.0) and rebounding (7.5), fourth in steals (2.25) and tied for ninth in assists (3.00).

In her last nine games, Willis has made 29 of 58 shots from three-point range (.500) and averaged 17.0 points a game (153). She has set a new school single season record for three-points made, which is 67 and counting, and moved into third place on the school career list with 113. Second place is Melanie Pearson with 115. Willis, who had a streak of at least one made three-point shot in 18 straight games snapped in the regular season finale against USC, connected for a career-high six threes at Cal. She started the tournament ranked first in the Pac-10 in made three-pointers (2.44/g) and steals (3.33), seventh in three-point FG percentage (.384), ninth in scoring (14.4) and 12th(t) in rebounding (5.6). She has 95 steals overall, which is a UCLA sophomore record and the fifth-best total in UCLA history.

Odds and Ends - The Bruins have outrebounded or tied 14 of the last 19 opponents ... UCLA began the tournament leading the Pac-10 in steals (12.52) and turnover margin (+3.96) ... UCLA has made 138 three-point shots this season, the second-most in school history (made 147 last season) ... The Bruins shot a season-high 56.6% at Cal ... Over the last nine games, the Bruin team has converted 145-178 free throw attempts (.815) ... The current season free throw percentage of .704 ranks as the sixth-best mark in school history ... Five Bruin losses have come at the hands of nationally ranked teams from Texas, Purdue, Michigan St. and Stanford (twice).

Pitts Out 3-6 Weeks - Sophomore forward Julia Pitts had successful surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her left knee on Feb. 12 and was expected be out for 3-6 weeks.

A Look at the Cardinal - Stanford ended the regular season in a tie with Arizona for the championship but claimed the No. 1 seed in this year's tourney. Stanford lost in the finals of the initial Pac-10 tournament in 2002. Last season, Stanford defeated Arizona in the championship game.

This year, the Cardinal finished the regular season leading the Pac-10 in scoring margin, three-point field goal percentage, rebounding offense, scoring defense, free throw percentage, field goal percentage defense, three-point field goals made and defensive rebounds. Senior guard/forward Nicole Powell ended the regular season leading the Pac-10 in rebounding (11.4) and was second in scoring (20.1).

Stanford leads the series with UCLA, 32-19, and has won the last 10 meetings, including both this season. UCLA last beat the Cardinal on March 3, 2001 by a score of 64-61 in Pauley Pavilion. The last time the Bruins defeated the Cardinal away from Pauley came on Jan. 16, 1999 by a score of 80-72 in Maples Pavilion.

Game Recaps:

Last Game
Bruins Streak Past ASU, 70-50 - UCLA's defense held Arizona State scoreless for stretches of 6:40 to end the first half and 8:37 in the second half as the Bruins pulled away to a 70-50 win in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. Noelle Quinn led UCLA with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Nikki Blue and Lisa Willis added 14 points apiece.

Stanford Games
No. 10 Stanford Stops Six-Game Bruin Win Streak -
Stanford used a second-half burst to take a 14-point lead, held on while UCLA cut the lead to three, and snapped UCLA's six-game win streak with a 63-54 victory. Noelle Quinn had her seventh double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Lisa Willis added 16 points.

No. 6 Stanford Tops Bruins - No. 6 ranked Stanford needed overtime to best the Bruins, 78-71. UCLA led 32-28 at the half, but Stanford opened the second half with an 18-4 run. The Bruins came back to tie the game up at 52. Neither team then led by more than two points for the final 6:25 of regulation. Nikki Blue led UCLA with a season-high tying 25 points, and Lisa Willis added 20.

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