Women's Basketball Kicks Off Five-Game Road Swing At Pepperdine Wednesday

Nov. 27, 2007

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Gameday Central
DATE: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007
OPPONENT: Pepperdine
LOCATION: Malibu, Calif.
GAME SITE: Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104)
GAME TIME: 7:00 p.m.
TICKETS: $8 adults/$5 youth, Call 1-866-WAVE-TIX
VIDEO: pepperdinesports.com
AUDIO: uclabruins.com
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)

Five-Game Road Swing Begins In Malibu Wednesday
UCLA (3-1) will play its first of five-straight games away from home on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at Pepperdine. The game will take place at Firestone Fieldhouse at 7 pm.

The Bruins have had a strong start to the season, winning three of their four games and nearly upsetting third-ranked Maryland in the last contest before falling, 79-75. Five Bruin players are averaging in double-figures, led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (15.8 points and a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game). Four of UCLA's vaunted freshman class also average in double figures - Doreena Campbell, 13.8 ppg; Nina Earl, 11.8 ppg; Darxia Morris, 11.3 ppg; and Regina Rogers, 10.0 ppg.

About Pepperdine
Pepperdine enters Wednesday's game with a 2-2 record, posting victories over Cal State Northridge (70-38) and Cal State Bakersfield (95-77). The Waves' last scheduled game against Mississippi on Saturday was cancelled due to the wildfires. in Malibu.

Senior guard Daphanie Kennedy leads the Waves with a 17.0 points per game average. Miranda Ayim (12.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and Katie Menton (10.8) are also averaging in double figures. Pepperdine is coached by former LA Sparks head coach Julie Rousseau.

UCLA leads the overall series with Pepperdine, 13-2, and has won the last two contests, including a 95-56 rout in Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 8, 2005, and a 74-61 victory in Malibu on Dec. 2, 2004.

First True Road Trip Ahead
After Wednesday's game at Pepperdine, the Bruins will embark 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 Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7 pm and will then face either Nevada or Southern on Sunday, Dec. 2 at either 2 or 4 pm.

Fresh Faces
The Bruin freshmen have been as good as advertised, playing pivotal roles in UCLA's early-season success. Four freshmen average in double figures, one has started in every game (Doreena Campbell), another in three games (Regina Rogers), and two others in two games each (Nina Earl, Darxia Morris). The Bruins are shooting 45.1% from the field as a team, but five freshmen are at the top of the list in field goal percentage - Campbell (.583), Earl (.526), Rogers (.520), Christina Nzekwe (.467) and Morris (.429, tied with Tierra Henderson).

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 the four games this year, with the combo of Nina Earl, Lindsey Pluimer, Regina Rogers, Erica Tukiainen and Doreena Campbell the only one to repeat (vs. Cal Poly and Maryland).

Bruins Nearly Upset Third-Ranked Maryland
UCLA came up short in its upset bid as third-ranked Maryland rallied for a 79-75 win in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins overcame a 13-point first-half deficit with an explosive beginning to the second half and enjoyed as much as a 16-point lead with 6:47 on the clock before Maryland made a decisive 14-0 run. Senior Lindsey Pluimer led UCLA with 17 points, and freshman Doreena Campbell added 15. Regina Rogers contributed 10 points and five boards.

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 Nov. 20 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).

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 6 in the current AP rankings - No. 1 Tennessee, No. 3 Maryland and No. 6 Stanford.

Tennessee Tickets On Sale
Reserved tickets for the highly-anticipated matchup on Dec. 19 between UCLA and top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Tennessee are now available for just $12. Fans who purchase reserved seats in advance can secure the best seats available. This will be Tennessee's first visit to the UCLA campus since 1999. The Lady Vols are coached by Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt, who has won seven NCAA titles in her career and is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history. Future No. 1 WNBA pick and last year's Wooden Award and Honda Award winner Candace Parker leads the Lady Vols, averaging 25.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

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 96 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 18th in career scoring with 1,181 points and is 11 points away from tying Sanda VanEmbricqs for 17th place. Pluimer also has 569 career rebounds and needs 47 more to move into the Top 15. Ten more blocked shots will move her from eighth to seventh on the career list. Pluimer currently has 64.

Campbell Stays Cool, Calm, Collected
Freshman guard Doreena Campbell has played more like a veteran, averaging 13.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals and just 1.0 turnover per game in four starts. Her assist/turnover ratio is an astounding 4.0, and her shooting has been just as good. She leads the team in both field goal percentage (21-36, 58.3%) and three-point field goal percentage (8-12, 66.7%), as well as steals with 10. Campbell recorded seven steals in the season opener at Cal State Northridge.

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.

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.

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.

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