UCLA Women's Basketball Continues on Road at BYU

Dec. 11, 2007

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Gameday Central
DATE: Sat., Dec. 15
GAME SITE: Marriott Center (22,700)
GAME TIME: 4 pm Mountain Time/ 3 pm Pacific
TV: The Mtn.
TV TALENT: Mike Evans, Andrea Lloyd
AUDIO: uclabruins.com
AUDIO TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Jamila Veasley (color)

Bruins At BYU Saturday
UCLA (4-4) will travel to Utah on Saturday Dec. 15 for the fifth game of a five-game road swing and play at Brigham Young University (4-5). The game will take place at the Marriott Center at 3:00 pm Pacific time.

The Bruins, who are taking finals this week, are in the midst of a challenging stretch of games in which nine of 11 opponents played in the post-season a year ago - Idaho State (NCAA Tournament), San Diego (WNIT), BYU (NCAA Trny.), Tennessee (NCAA champions), UC Riverside (NCAA Trny.), Arizona State (NCAA Trny.), Stanford (NCAA Trny.), California (NCAA Trny.) and Washington (NCAA Trny.).

Four Bruin players are averaging in double-figures, led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (14.3 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game). Three of UCLA's vaunted freshman class also average in double figures - Nina Earl, 10.4 ppg; Doreena Campbell, 10.0 ppg; Regina Rogers, 10.0 ppg. UCLA's team scoring average of 77.6 points per game ranks 12th in the nation.

About BYU
Brigham Young enters the game on Saturday with a 4-5 mark after winning a 72-52 decision over Utah Valley State on Dec. 8. The Cougars are led by senior guard Mallary Gillespie-Carling, who is the lone BYU player scoring in double figures with a 13.6 mark. Six-three senior center Lauren Riley-Varley tops the Cougar rebounders with an 8.4 per game average.

Last season, BYU posted a 23-10 record and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars are coached by former NBA player (Boston, Detroit, Portland, Utah) Jeff Judkins.

UCLA leads the all-time series with BYU, 8-3, but lost the last matchup, played on Nov. 22, 2005, by a 71-67 score in Pauley Pavilion.

Fresh Faces
The Bruin freshmen have been as good as advertised, playing pivotal roles on the team. Five of the six freshmen have played in all eight games, while the sixth has played in five. Doreena Campbell joins senior Lindsey Pluimer as the only Bruins to start all eight games. Regina Rogers has started seven games, Darxia Morris six and Nina Earl two. Campbell leads the Bruins in three-pointers (tied-10), assists (26) and minutes played (31.1 average). Morris is tied with Campbell for the team lead in steals with 16. Rogers is the team's top offensive rebounder (23), and Candice Brown leads the team with a .667 (8-12) field goal percentage.

Pluimer Powers Bruins
UCLA's lone senior, forward Lindsey Pluimer, continues to lead the Bruins both on and off the court. 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 100 career starts. In her career, she has averaged 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds and has improved her scoring average every 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 14th in career scoring with 1,232 points and also has 599 career rebounds, 17 away from moving into the Top 15. Five more blocked shots will move her from eighth to seventh on the career list. Pluimer currently has 69.

Campbell Nationally-Ranked
Freshman guard Doreena Campbell has played more like a veteran than a freshman, averaging 10.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals and just 1.4 turnovers per game in eight starts. She ranks 18th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (2.36) and is the top-ranking freshman in the nation in that category. Campbell leads the team in three-point field goal percentage (10-17, .588), assists (26), steals (16, tied) and minutes played (31.1 average). Campbell recorded seven steals in the season opener at Cal State Northridge.

Rebounding Rogers
Freshman center Regina Rogers totaled 16 rebounds on Nov. 28 at Pepperdine, including 10 on the offensive end. Her 16 rebounds were the most by a Bruin player since Kristee Porter had 16 boards against Arizona on Jan. 20, 2001. Rogers leads the team in offensive rebounds with 23 and is second in total rebounds (44) and with a 5.5 average.

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. The same group started at Pepperdine.

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 four different starting lineups in the eight games this year and have used the same lineup in back-to-back games just twice.

Toreros Best Bruins
A UCLA second-half rally came up short and the Toreros came away with a 63-57 win at San Diego. UCLA trailed 34-26 at the half and by as many as 19 points in the second half. A 21-5 Bruin run sliced the USD advantage to one, at 52-51, with 4:36 to play, but it was as close as UCLA would get. Nina Earl was the lone Bruin in double figures with 12 points.

UCLA Splits At Nugget Classic
The Bruins went 1-1 at the Nugget Classic in Reno on Dec. 1-2, losing the first game to Idaho State, 76-64, and then routing Southern, 79-52, in the consolation game. Against Idaho State, UCLA fell behind early and could not overcome a 19-point halftime deficit. The Bruins pulled to within five with 58 seconds remaining, but the Bengals made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to close out the game. Regina Rogers led UCLA with 12 points, and Lindsey Pluimer had 11 with a career-high tying 13 rebounds. The Bruins brought some of that second-half intensity to the game against Southern, using a 27-2 run over nine and a half minutes to take a 31-11 lead. The Bruins received contributions from all 13 players on the roster and were led by Pluimer, who recorded game-high totals of 19 points and eight rebounds. Nina Earl was also in double-figures with 11 points off the bench. Pluimer was selected to the All-Tournament team.

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, and Washington - and three more played in the WNIT - Rice, San Diego, and Oregon. Beginning on the first of December with a game against Idaho State, the Bruins will face nine 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 rankings - No. 1 Tennessee, No. 4 Stanford and No. 5 Maryland.

Tennessee Tickets On Sale
Reserved tickets for the 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 21.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game at the start of the week. The last time the Bruins welcomed the nation's top-ranked team to Pauley Pavilion was in the 1991-92 season (Dec. 28, 1991-- Virginia 77, UCLA 55).

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; and center 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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