Bruins Host Oregon Schools Thursday, Saturday

Jan. 22, 2008

Gameday Central
GAME 19: Thursday, Jan. 24
OPPONENT: Oregon (10-8, 4-3)
GAME TIME: 7:00 pm
GAME SITE: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)

GAME 20: Saturday, Jan. 26
OPPONENT: Oregon State (10-8, 3-4)
GAME TIME: 2:00 pm
GAME SITE: Pauley Pavilion (12,819)
AUDIO: am 1150;
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Michael Sondheimer (color)

UCLA Hosts Oregon Thursday, Oregon State Saturday
UCLA (9-9, 4-3 in the Pac-10) will host Oregon (10-8, 4-3) on Thursday, Jan. 24 and Oregon State (10-8, 3-4). The Bruins and Ducks are in a three-way tie with USC for fourth place in the Pac-10 standings, while Oregon State is close behind with a 3-4 Pac-10 record. This weekend wraps up the first half of the Pac-10 schedule. The Bruins have seven home games and four road contests remaining in the regular season.

Saturday's Game On AM 1150
Fans unable to attend Saturday's game can listen to the broadcast on the radio on am 1150. Dave Marcus and Michael Sondheimer will provide the call.

Bruin Bytes
UCLA has limited its last eight opponents to 65 points or under in regulation for an average of just 59.9 points (479) - UC Riverside, 60; Arizona State, 62; Arizona, 59; Stanford, 56; California, 65; Washington, 57; WSU, 56; USC, 64. The last time a UCLA team had such a defensive stretch came in the 1974-75 season, when the Bruins limited its first 21 opponents to 63 points or less.

In Conference games, the Bruins are holding opponents to 34.3% shooting from the field, second-best in the Pac-10. Overall, UCLA leads the Pac-10 in rebounding (44.8), steals (10.44), offensive rebounds (15.5) and defensive rebounds (29.33).

Two Bruin players are averaging in double-figures, led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (14.2 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game). Freshman Nina Earl also averages in double digits with an 10.6 mark. Two other members of UCLA's freshman class are just shy of double digit averages - Darxia Morris, 9.9 and Doreena Campbell, 8.9 ppg. UCLA averages 70.9 points per game to rank second in the Pac-10.

Since Dec. 8, the Bruins have faced seven NCAA Tournament teams (BYU, defending NCAA champion Tennessee, UC Riverside, Arizona State, Stanford, California and Washington) and one NIT participant (San Diego).

About Oregon
Oregon is coming off a weekend sweep at home against the Washington schools, defeating Washington State, 64-45, and Washington, 66-64. Southern California product Taylor Lilley (Newhall/Hart HS) is the only Oregon player averaging in double-digits (12.5 points per game). The Ducks, who are just 1-5 in road games this year, lead the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (74.7%).

UCLA holds a slight lead in the overall series with Oregon, 24-22, but has won three of the last four games, including last year's contest in Pauley Pavilion by a score of 77-70. Oregon won the game in Eugene last year, 76-60.

Chief Sealth HS Reunion
Bruin freshmen Regina Rogers and Christina Nzekwe will face their former Chief Sealth HS teammate Nia Jackson when the Oregon Ducks visit on Thursday. The trio won a pair of State championships at the Seattle, WA school. Both Bruins have played in all 18 games this season, with Rogers averaging 7.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game and Nzekwe averaging 3.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Jackson, a freshman guard, has played in 17 of 18 games for the Ducks, averaging 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

About Oregon State
Oregon State also swept the Washington schools last weekend, downing Washington by a score of 68-64 and Washington State by a score of 60-35. Beaver freshman Talisa Rhea was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after averaging 21.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists over the weekend and setting a school record with eight three-point shots made against the Cougars. Rhea leads the Pac-10 in three-point shots made with an average of 2.39. Other Beavers leading the Conference are senior Ashley Allen with a 17.9 scoring average and junior Mercedes Fox-Griffin with a 4.94 assist average.

UCLA leads the overall series with Oregon State, 32-17, and has won six of the last seven contests. The two teams split last year, with each winning on the road. The Beavers won the first contest on Jan. 5, 56-52, and the Bruins won by a score of 75-65 on Feb. 3.

Bruins Drop 64-56 Decision At USC
UCLA nearly overcame a 21-point second-half deficit, closing to within two with a minute remaining, but USC closed out the game with free throws and won by a 64-56 score on Jan. 19. The Bruins scored 13 unanswered points in a three-minute stretch to cut the lead to two, 58-56. UCLA forced a turnover on USC's next possession, but Christina Nzekwe's jumper missed, and USC was fouled on the rebound. Nadia Parker made one of two foul shots, giving UCLA another opportunity to tie, but Lindsey Pluimer's three-point attempt with five seconds to play was blocked by Parker. Pluimer led the Bruins with 15 points, and Tierra Henderson added 12.

Think Pink
In 2007, it was estimated that there would be over 180,000 new cases of breast cancer. Of these, an estimated 41,000 will die from the disease.

The UCLA women's basketball team, in conjunction with the WBCA, will host a 'Think Pink' game on Sunday, Feb. 10 against Washington in order to increase awareness to the issue of breast cancer. The game begins at 1:30 pm and will be televised by ESPN2. The Bruins will wear special uniforms to bring further attention to the cause. Those uniforms will later be auctioned off in an online auction, with the proceeds going towards breast cancer awareness and research.

All fans attending this game are encouraged to wear pink. To help aid the cause, UCLA will give away special Bruin adidas t-shirts promoting breast cancer awareness to the first 500 fans in attendance. Fans can also receive 2-for-1 general admission tickets by bringing in a special flyer, which can be downloaded HERE.

Morris Slowed By Knee Injury
UCLA freshman Darxia Morris has sat out the last three games after spraining her right knee in the second half of the Cal game on Jan 6. She is listed as day-to-day for this week's games against the Oregon schools.

Morris, a freshman guard from Pasadena, CA (Muir HS), was coming off a weekend in which she scored 20 points in an upset win over No. 2 Stanford and added 14 points, including 12 in the second half, against No. 10 Cal. She is averaging 9.9 points (third on the team), 2.47 steals (first in the Pac-10 Conference) and 3.0 assists per game. She had started in the previous six games and in 12 games overall this season.

Fresh Faces
The Bruin freshmen, ranked as the No. 4 recruiting class by, have been as good as advertised, playing pivotal roles on the team. Three of the six freshmen have played in all 18 games, while a fourth has seen action in 17 games. Doreena Campbell has made 17 starts, Darxia Morris 12, and Regina Rogers and Nina Earl eight each. Campbell leads the Bruins in assists (60) and minutes per game (30.8) and is second in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.62). Morris is the Pac-10 leader in steals with an average of 2.47. Rogers ranks second on the team in rebounding (4.9 average), and Candice Brown leads the team with a .571 (12-21) field goal percentage. Five freshmen have been on the court at the same time for the Bruins in several games this season.

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 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 nine different starting lineups in the 18 games this year and have used the same lineup in three consecutive games just three times. UCLA has started three freshmen in most games this season.

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 110 career starts. At Washington, she became only the fifth Bruin to total at least 1,300 points, 650 rebounds and 75 blocked shots for a career, joining Ann Meyers, Necie Thompson, Natalie Williams and Maylana Martin. She is also one of just 13 Bruins to have scored at least 1,000 points and pulled down at least 600 rebounds.

Pluimer currently ranks 13th on UCLA's career scoring list with 1,374 points and is 12th in rebounds with 664 and seventh in blocked shots with 77.

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 10.6 points per game average. Earl has scored in double figures nine times on the year and set career-highs in both scoring and rebounding when she recorded her first career double-double at Arizona (23 points, 10 rebounds). Earl has connected on 45% of her shots from the field and is currently third on the team in three-point field goal percentage at 31.3% (5-16).

Campbell Strong All-Around
Guard Doreena Campbell has been a standout for the Bruins in all categories, averaging 8.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals and just 2.2 turnovers per game in 17 starts. She entered the week ranked No. 2 in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.62). Campbell is first on the team in assists (60) and minutes per game (30.8). She recorded seven steals in the season opener at Cal State Northridge and had a career-high of eight assists at Arizona State. Campbell missed her only game of the season at Arizona while nursing a sprained ankle. She registered a career-best 38 minutes of action versus Cal. She matched her minutes played best at Washington while recording a new career-high with eight rebounds.

Mo Better
Sophomore center Moniquee Alexander has shown big improvements lately, earning starts in the last 10 games. She had five rebounds against both No. 2 Stanford and No. 10 California and led the team with nine rebounds, including four offensive boards, at Washington. In her last eight games, she is averaging 5.1 rebounds per game. Against No. 1 Tennessee, Alexander scored a career-high 11 points on 5-5 shooting from the field. She equaled that point total against UC Riverside, scoring 11 points, and pulled down a season-high seven rebounds. Alexander had five rebounds and zero turnovers in the game at Arizona State and shot 4-6 from the field for eight points with four boards in the win at Arizona. On the year, she is averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and has played in all 18 games with 11 starts.

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 was ferocious on the defensive boards at Arizona State, recording 13, along with three blocked shots. She added five more boards at Arizona. Rogers is second on the team in rebounds per game (4.9 average) and blocks (12). Her rebounding average ranks 17th in the conference.

Pride Of Pasadena
Former teammates at Pasadena's John Muir HS, Tierra Henderson and Darxia Morris have paired up once again in UCLA's backcourt. Henderson, a junior, and Morris, a freshman, have started together in five games. They rank 1-2 on the team in steals, with Morris totaling 37 and Henderson 35, which rank them first and sixth, respectively, in the Pac-10 rankings. Morris is second on the team in assists with 45 while averaging 9.9 points per game. Henderson has long been known as the Bruins' defensive sparkplug, but she has also upped her offensive game this year, averaging 6.9 points and leading the team in scoring with a career-high 15 at Pepperdine. At Arizona, Henderson and Morris were the defensive duo, combining for 13 of UCLA's 17 steals on the day (Henderson with a career-high tying seven and Morris with a career-high six).

Making The Grade
Five members of the Bruin squad made the Director's Honor Roll (3.0 or better with at least 12 graded units) in the Fall Quarter - senior Lindsey Pluimer, sophomores Allison Taka and Alexis Olivier, and freshmen Doreena Campbell and Christina Nzekwe. Pluimer and Taka earned GPAs of 3.5 or above.

Challenging '07-08 Schedule
The Bruins have already played host to the past two NCAA championship teams this season when it welcomed 2005-06 title holder Maryland on Nov. 25 and 2006-07 champ Tennessee on Dec. 19 to Pauley Pavilion. UCLA has now hosted teams ranked No. 1 (Tennessee), No. 2 (Stanford) and No. 3 (Maryland) at the time of the game this season.

In all, the Bruins have battled 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. The Bruins finished an 11-game stretch that saw them matching up with nine teams that advanced to post-season play in the 2006-07 season with the game at Washington.

Four of UCLA's opponents are currently ranked in the Top 10 in the AP rankings - No. 2 Tennessee, No. 4 Maryland, No. 7 Stanford, No. 8 California.

Bruins Vs. The Ranks
The Bruins' last victory against a nationally ranked opponent came on Jan. 4, 2008 against No. 2-ranked Stanford (69-56). It marked the first time the Bruin program has ever defeated a team ranked higher than fourth in the Associated Press poll. UCLA had defeated a team ranked as high as fourth on multiple occasions, the last time came on Nov. 28, 2004 in a 63-60 win over #4 Texas.

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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