Women's Basketball Hosts Third-Ranked Maryland On Sunday

Nov. 21, 2007

Gameday Central
DATE: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007
OPPONENT: Maryland
OPPT. LOCATION: College Park, MD
OPPONENT CONF.: Atlantic Coast Conf.
GAME SITE: Pauley Pavilion
GAME TIME: 2:00 p.m.
TICKETS TO UCLA HOME GAMES: $12 adults/$10 youth (Reserved), $8 adults/$6 youth (GA), UCLA Central Ticket Office (310-UCLA-WIN)
TV: Fox Sports Net
TALENT: Jim Watson (play-by-play), Mary Murphy (color)
AUDIO/VIDEO: uclabruins.com
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)
WEB: uclabruins.com

Bruins Host #3 Maryland
UCLA (3-0) will host third-ranked Maryland (6-0) on Sunday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion at 2 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on FSN. UCLA has won its first three games to start a season for the first time since the 1993-94 campaign.

The Bruins began the 2007-08 regular season with a non-conference victory at Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, Nov. 14 by a score of 81-69. Senior forward Lindsey Pluimer led five Bruins in double digits with 16 points in the win. UCLA captured its home opener with a 79-71 decision over Rice University on Nov. 18. Freshman Doreena Campbell led four Bruins in double figures with 14 points. Five Bruins scored in double digits in a 107-83 win over Cal Poly SLO on Nov. 20. Freshman Darxia Morris scored 21 points to lead the attack.

Gameday Promotions
The first 500 fans in attendance on Sunday will receive a free UCLA drawstring backpack, and the first 50 UCLA students will receive free pizza. In addition, UCLA will be holding a food drive to benefit the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank at this game. Fans who bring a canned food item to the game will receive a free t-shirt, courtesy the UCLA Transportation Department. Collection bins will be located at Gates 1 and 2 of Pauley Pavilion.

About Maryland
Maryland, which is coached by Brenda Frese in her sixth season, went 28-6 a year ago and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins roster features several players who were on the 2006 NCAA Championship squad, including four players who started in the championship game - forwards Laura Harper and Marissa Coleman, center Crystal Langhorne and guard Kristi Toliver.

Toliver leads the team with a 17.3 points per game average. Coleman (13.5 ppg), Harper (13.3 ppg) and Emery Wallace (10.0) are also averaging double figures.

The Terrapins have started out the season 6-0, with three wins over ranked teams (No. 6 Oklahoma, 76-66; No. 23 Notre Dame, 75-59; No. 4 LSU, 75-62). Maryland plays at UC Santa Barbara on Friday before facing the Bruins in the last game of a five-game, nine-day stretch.

Maryland leads the overall series with UCLA, 3-2, but the teams have only met once in the last 25 years. UCLA won that meeting back on Dec. 30, 1995, by an 82-70 count in Pauley Pavilion.

First Starts
Four of the five players to earn the starting nod from coach Kathy Olivier in the opener at Cal State Northridge made their first collegiate starts.Sophomores Erica Tukiainen and Moniquee Alexander made their first career starts at Northridge. Tukiainen appeared in all 32 games last season off the bench. Alexander saw action in 31 games last season, but did not start a contest.

True freshmen Darxia Morris and Doreena Campbell each merited a starting assignment in their first collegiate games. It was the first time a Bruin team has started as many as two true freshmen in the first game of a season since the 2002-03 season when Julia Pitts and Nikki Blue were in the starting lineup at Hawaii. The last time the Bruins put out a starting lineup that included more than two freshmen in the starting lineup in the season opener was in the 1996-97 opener against St. Mary's when four freshmen, including three true freshmen, took the floor for the jump (true freshmen - Melanie Pearson, Maylana Martin, Carly Funicello; redshirt freshman Takiyah Jackson).

In game two against Rice, the Bruins started three freshmen - center Regina Rogers and guards Campbell and Morris. Rogers made her first career start in the Rice game.

Another freshman received her first starting assignment in game three against Cal Poly, as Nina Earl joined two other classmates (Rogers and Campbell) in the starting lineup.

The Bruins have utilized three different starting lineups in all three games this year.

UCLA Runs Past Cal Poly
UCLA scored over 100 points for the first time since 2002 and cruised to a 107-83 victory over Cal Poly on Tuesday evening in Pauley Pavilion. Freshman guard Darxia Morris scored a collegiate-best 21 points off the bench to lead five UCLA players in double figures. She was joined by senior forward Lindsey Pluimer (18 points, eight rebounds), freshman forward Nina Earl (17 points in her first career start), freshman guard Doreena Campbell (12 points, six assists, six rebounds) and freshman center Regina Rogers (10 points).

UCLA Sweeps Past Rice
UCLA used a balanced attack with four double digit scorers to earn a 79-71 decision over Rice University on Nov. 18. Freshman guard Doreena Campbell led the Bruins with 14 points. Lindsey Pluimer added 12 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. The Bruins led 38-33 at the half and opened up as much as an 11-point second half advantage. Regina Rogers scored 12 in her first career start, and freshman Nina Earl came off the bench to add 11 points.

Bruins Open With Win At CSUN
UCLA used five players in double digits to outscore Cal State Northridge in the 2007-08 season opener by a 81-69 margin. Senior forward Lindsey Pluimer led the Bruins with 16 points and added nine rebounds. Three Bruin freshmen scored in double digits as Doreena Campbell totaled 14 points with seven steals, Nina Earl added 13 points, and Darxia Morris chipped in with 12 points. Sophomore guard Erica Tukiainen scored 10 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds. The Bruins went on a 12-0 run to end the first half with a 14 point lead, 41-27, and held a double-digit lead for most of the second half.

2007-08 Outlook
Head coach Kathy Olivier welcomes back seven letterwinners (three starters) from last year's team and perhaps the deepest and most highly-regarded recruiting group in school history. The list of returnees includes three of the top five scorers, the top two shot blockers, two of the top three assist makers, three of the top four in steals, and two of the top three in rebounding average. There are three returning starters in the mix, and each ranked among the Pac-10 leaders in at least one statistical category in the 2006-07 season.

Leading returning scorer Lindsey Pluimer (15.5 ppg) tops the list of returning starters which includes forwards Chinyere Ibekwe (32 starts in 2006-07) and guard Tierra Henderson (31 starts in 2006-07). Pluimer ranked amongst the top 10 in the conference last season in six categories, including scoring with the ninth-best mark. Ibekwe ranked 11th in shooting percentage (.503) and offensive rebounds (2.78). Henderson led the team and ranked fourth in the conference in steals (2.09).

A group of four sophomores, including guards Erica Tukiainen, Allison Taka and Alexis Olivier, as well as center Moniquee Alexander, are also returning.

UCLA adds six freshmen in a class which was rated fourth-best in the nation by All-Star Girls Report and tied for eighth-best by HoopGurlz.com to the mix. The group includes forward Candice Brown of Bishop Amat HS from Riverside, CA; guard Doreena Campbell of Edison HS and Alexandria, VA; forward Nina Earl of Diamond Ranch HS and Pomona, CA; guard Darxia Morris from Pasadena, CA Muir HS; forward Christina Nzekwe from Seattle, WA Chief Sealth HS; Regina Rogers from Seattle, WA Chief Sealth HS.

Challenging '07-08 Schedule
The Bruins will play host to the past two NCAA championship teams when it welcomes 2005-06 title holder Maryland on Nov. 25 and 2006-07 champ Tennessee on Dec. 19 to Pauley Pavilion.

The Bruins will battle five teams which won their conference or conference tournaments a year ago - Tennessee (SEC), BYU (Mountain West), UC Riverside (Big West), Stanford (Pac-10), Idaho State (Big Sky).

Nine opponents advanced to play in the NCAA Tournament in 2007 - Maryland, Idaho State, BYU, Tennessee, UC Riverside, Arizona State, Stanford, Cal, Washington. The Bruins could face four more opponents who played in the WNIT in 2007 - Rice, Nevada, San Diego, Oregon. Beginning on the first of December with a game against Idaho State, the Bruins could face 10 teams in an 11-game stretch which advanced to post-season play during the 2006-07 season.

Three UCLA opponents are currently ranked in the Top 5 in the current national rankings - No. 1 Tennessee, No. 3 Maryland and No. 5 Stanford.

Pre-Season Prognostications
The Pac-10 women's basketball coaches picked UCLA to finish fifth in the conference in the annual pre-season poll. Stanford, with eight first-place votes, was the solid choice to finish first. The Cardinal (79 points) were followed by Arizona State (one first-place vote, 71), California (one first-place vote, 68), USC (56), UCLA (44), Oregon (34), Arizona (31), Oregon State (16), Washington State (10). The Pac-10 media picked UCLA to finish sixth, behind Stanford, Arizona State, California, USC and Washington. Trailing UCLA were Oregon, Arizona, Oregon State and Washington State.

CSTV.com selected UCLA as one of its five sleeper teams 'nobody wants to see on their schedule', and women's basketball expert Debbie Antonelli also called UCLA the 'surprise team out of the Pac-10' on the Shootaround with Beth and Debbie podcast.

Pluimer Powers Bruins
UCLA's lone senior, forward Lindsey Pluimer, will lead the 2007-08 Bruins. Pluimer, a two-time Academic All-District selection and a 2006-07 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, has started every game since her freshman season for a total of 95 career starts. In her career, she has averaged 12.3 points and 5.9 rebounds and has improved her scoring average every season, jumping to an average of 15.5 points during her junior season. Pluimer is one of just seven Bruins to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 60 blocked shots for a career, and she is one of 16 Bruins to have scored at least 1,000 points and pulled down at least 500 rebounds for her career.

Pluimer is set to move up considerably in the UCLA record books. She currently ranks tied for 19th in career scoring with 1,146 points and is three points away from tying Jackie Joyner for 18th place. Pluimer also has 565 career rebounds and needs 51 more to move into the Top 15. Eleven more blocked shots will move her from eighth to seventh on the career list. Pluimer currently has 63.

What's Returning?
56% of the total field goals made (525-943); 59% of the games started (95/160); 51% of the minutes played (3304/6422); 56% of the rebounds pulled down (635/1145); 40% of the three-point field goals made (52/131); 38% of the assists handed out (172/453); 62% of the steals made (151/244); 71% of the blocked shots made (64/90).

Name Game
Two Bruins had name changes during the off-season. Guard Erica Latimer is now going by Erica Tukiainen (her mother's last name). Assistant coach Maylana Martin was married in August and is now going by Maylana Douglas.

First To 100 Jerseys
Several Bruin teams will be wearing special jerseys or patches in 2007-08 to commemorate UCLA being the First to 100 NCAA Championships. The women's basketball team will don the new jerseys that have a different-colored 'C' in UCLA. The 'C' signifies the Roman numeral for 100.

Looking Ahead
The Bruins make a short trek to Malibu on Wednesday, Nov. 28 for a non-conference game against Pepperdine at 7 pm before embarking on their first true road trip of the year at the Nugget Classic in Reno on Dec. 1-2. UCLA will play Idaho State in the opener on Dec. 1 and will then face the winner of the Nevada/Southern game on Dec. 2.

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