UCLA Women's Basketball Hosts Top-Ranked Lady Vols

Dec. 17, 2007

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Gameday Central
DATE: Wed., Dec. 19
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
GAME SITE: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
TICKETS: Reserved - $12/10; GA - $8/6; 310/UCLA-WIN or tickets.ucla.edu
TELEVISION: LA36 (delayed)
VIDEO/AUDIO: uclabruins.com (free)
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)

Bruins Host #1 Tennessee
In their first home game since Nov. 25, the UCLA Bruins (4-5) will play host to top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Tennessee (9-0) on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a free adidas t-shirt upon entry.

This will be the first time UCLA has welcomed the nation's top-ranked team to Pauley Pavilion since the 1991-92 season, when Virginia captured a 77-55 victory on Dec. 28, 1991. The Bruins last played a No. 1 team on Dec. 23, 1999, losing at Connecticut, 106-64.

The Bruins 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.).

Two Bruin players are averaging in double-figures, led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (14.1 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game). Freshman Nina Earl also averages in double digits with a 10.7 mark. Three other members of UCLA's freshman class are just shy of averaging in double figures - Doreena Campbell, 9.3 ppg; Regina Rogers, 9.2 ppg; Darxia Morris, 8.3. UCLA's team scoring average of 75.4 points per game ranks 12th in the nation.

Game Broadcast Delayed On LA36
Los Angeles cable station LA36 will televise Wednesday's game on a delayed basis later in the week. Randy Rosenbloom and Dave Marcus will call the action. LA36 is available throughout Los Angeles on Time Warner Cable and other LA-affiliated cable stations, as well as online at www.la36.org. Check your local listings for air dates and times.

Tickets Selling Fast
Reserved tickets for Wednesday's game are nearly sold out, with just 60 mid-level sideline seats available as of Monday morning. UCLA has pre-sold over 2,800 tickets to the game. Reserved tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for youth. General admission tickets sell for $8 for adults and $6 for youth.

About Tennessee
Tennessee enters the contest 9-0 after besting Gonzaga at home on Sunday by a score of 96-73. This will be just the second true road contest for Tennessee which also played at West Virginia (Nov. 21). Last season's Wooden Award and Honda Award winner Candace Parker leads the Lady Vols with averages of 22.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

Last season, Tennessee posted a record of 34-3 and captured its seventh NCAA Championship. The Lady Vols are coached by Pat Summitt, who is in her 34th season at the helm. Summitt has won seven NCAA titles in her career and is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history. As a player, the former Pat Head was the co-captain of the silver medal-winning 1976 USA Olympic team guided by former UCLA head coach Billie Moore (1977-93). That team also featured Bruin Hall of Famer Ann Meyers.

Tennessee won last year's matchup against the Bruins in Knoxville by a 83-60 score to take a 15-1 lead in the series. Parker led the Lady Vols with 22 points in that contest. The teams first met in the 1978-79 season. The Bruins have played a top-ranked Tennessee team on three previous occasions (Dec. 20, 1986, L 58-81 at Knoxville; Dec. 13, 1987 L 63-89 in Pauley; Dec. 20, 1988 L 50-82 at Knoxville). UCLA's lone win in the series came on Jan. 3, 1981 by a score of 65-62 in a game played at Tennessee. This will be Tennessee's first visit to the UCLA campus since 1999.

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 nine games, while the sixth has played in six. Doreena Campbell joins senior Lindsey Pluimer as the only Bruins to start all nine games. Regina Rogers has started eight games, Darxia Morris six and Nina Earl two. Campbell leads the Bruins assists (29) and minutes played (30.4 average) and is the Pac-10 leader in assist/turnover ratio (2.64) and three-point field goal percentage (.556). Morris owns the team lead in steals with 18. Rogers is the team's top offensive rebounder (24), 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 2007-08 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award nominee, two-time Academic All-District selection and 2006-07 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, has started every game since her freshman season for a total of 101 career starts. 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 1,245 points and also has 608 career rebounds, eight away from moving into the Top 15. Four more blocked shots will move her from eighth to seventh on the career list. Pluimer currently has 70.

Campbell Nationally Ranked
Freshman guard Doreena Campbell has played more like a veteran than a freshman, averaging 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.9 steals and just 1.2 turnovers per game in nine starts. She ranks 13th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (2.64) and is the top-ranking freshman in the nation in that category. Campbell leads the team in three-point field goal percentage (10-18, .556), assists (29) and minutes played (30.4 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 24 and is second in total rebounds (47) and with a 5.2 average.

Her Name Is Earl
Freshman forward Nina Earl has been making a name for herself in her freshman season, ranking second on the Bruin squad in scoring with a 10.7 points per game average. Earl has either led the team or tied for the team lead in scoring in the Bruins' last two games and has scored in double figures six times on the year, with a high of 17 points in a starting role against Cal Poly. Earl leads the team in free throw attempts with 31 and is one of five Bruin players with double-digit steal totals (10).

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

Cougars Prevail
BYU bested the Bruins 68-58 on Nov. 15 in Provo, UT. A 15-0 second-half Cougar scoring run did in the Bruins. Nina Earl and Lindsey Pluimer each scored 13 points to lead the Bruins. Pluimer added nine boards.

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.

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 5 in the current AP rankings - No. 1 Tennessee, No. 4 Maryland and No. 5 Stanford.

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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