Bruins Travel to Bay Area to Battle Pac-10 Leaders

Jan. 28, 2008

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Gameday Central
GAME 21: Thursday, Jan. 31
OPPONENT: No. 10 California (17-3, 8-1)
GAME TIME: 7:00 pm
GAME SITE: Haas Pavilion (11,877)
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Jamila Veasley (color)

GAME 22: Saturday, Feb. 2
OPPONENT: No. 7 Stanford (17-3, 7-2)
GAME TIME: 2:00 pm
GAME SITE: Maples Pavilion (7,233)
TALENT: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Jamila Veasley (color)

UCLA Takes On Pac-10 Leaders
UCLA (11-9, 6-3 and tied for fourth in the Pac-10) will travel to the Bay Area to play at Pac-10 leader California (17-3, 8-1, ranked No. 10 by Associated Press) on Thursday night at 7 p.m. and at Stanford (17-3, 7-2 and tied for second place, ranked No. 7 by AP) on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm.

Bruin Bytes
UCLA had limited its last nine opponents to 65 points or under in regulation before Oregon State registered 70 points last Saturday - UC Riverside, 60; Arizona State, 62; Arizona, 59; Stanford, 56; California, 65; Washington, 57; WSU, 56; USC, 64; Oregon 59. 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 its last three games, UCLA has recorded 44 steals and forced 76 turnovers. Doing the most damage in those games have been Nina Earl (11 steals), Tierra Henderson (9) and Doreena Campbell (9), who have combined for 29 steals in that stretch.

The Bruins ranks first in the Pac-10 in rebounding (44.1), steals (10.95), offensive rebounds (15.65) and defensive rebounds (28.45); second in scoring (70.7 ppg) and third in field goal percentage defense (.380), rebound margin (tied at +4.0); turnover margin (+1.95).

Two Bruins are averaging in double-figures, led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (14.7 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game). Freshman Nina Earl also averages in double digits with an 10.1 mark. Two other members of UCLA's freshman class are just shy of double digit averages - Darxia Morris, 9.8 and Doreena Campbell, 8.6 ppg.

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 two NIT participants (San Diego, Oregon).

About California
California completed the first half of the Pac-10 schedule with an 8-1 record and sits alone in first place in the conference. The Golden Bears are coming off their first conference loss of the season, a 72-52 decision at Stanford last Saturday. Cal leads the Pac-10 in five team categories: scoring defense (54.0), field goal percentage defense (.345), three-point fg percentage (.384), rebounding defense (32.4) and rebounding margin (+8.2). Junior forward Ashley Walker leads the conference in rebounding (9.4) and is third in scoring (16.3).

UCLA leads the overall series with the Golden Bears, 39-12. Cal won the season's first matchup in overtime by a score of 73-70. UCLA has dropped the last two meetings played in Berkeley, last winning, 85-70, in January of 2005.

Last Time Against California
Tenth-ranked California needed overtime to best the Bruins, 73-70, in Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 6. UCLA used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to secure its first lead of the game after trailing by seven, 37-30, at the half. Freshman guard Darxia Morris keyed the rally with six points in that 10-0 run. However, she went down with a knee injury at the 5:39 mark, and the Bruins could manage just one field goal over the last 5:31 of the contest. Cal was able to knot the score at 65-all on a pair of free throws with 1:45 to play in regulation. Neither team scored down the stretch, and the game went into overtime.

Lindsey Pluimer's three-point shot with 3:54 to go in the extra period gave UCLA a 68-66 lead. A Cal basket tied the score, before Nina Earl put the Bruins ahead, 70-68, with a field goal at the 2:44 mark. Cal tied it up at 70 on a basket with 2:18 to play. The Golden Bears took a one-point lead on a free throw with 42 seconds remaining and upped it to 73-70 on two more free throws with 22 seconds on the clock. Tierra Henderson misfired on a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds of the game.

About Stanford
Stanford finished the first half of the Pac-10 schedule by winning its last five conference games (longest current streak in the Pac-10), including a showdown with Cal (72-52) last Saturday in Maples Pavilion. UCLA handed the Cardinal a 69-56 loss in this year's first meeting in Pauley Pavilion. The Cardinal leads the Pac-10 in seven team categories: scoring (75.7), scoring margin (+18.4), field goal percentage (.459), blocked shots (4.5), assists (17.0), turnover margin (+3.75) and assist / turnover ratio (1.26). Senior guard Candice Wiggins entered the week leading the conference in scoring (18.2 ppg).

Stanford leads the series, 38-22, but UCLA has won three of the last five meetings. The Bruins have not won in Maples Pavilion since an 80-72 verdict in January of 1999.

Last Time Against Stanford
UCLA snapped second-ranked Stanford's nine-game winning streak on Jan. 4 with a 69-56 win. It marked the first time the UCLA women's basketball program had ever defeated a team ranked higher than fourth in the Associated Press poll.

Stanford misfired on its first seven shots of the second half as the Bruins ran off 12 unanswered points to take a 50-34 lead with 15:40 to play. UCLA led 57-42 at the 10:44 mark when the Cardinal went on an 8-0 run to narrow the margin to 57-50 with 8:20 on the clock. A seven-point margin (three times) was as close as the Cardinal would get down the stretch.

Darxia Morris led UCLA with 20 points, one shy of her career high, and handed out five assists. Lindsey Pluimer added 13 points and a team-best eight rebounds. The Cardinal, which entered the contest averaging a Pac-10 best 76.9 points per game, was held 20 points below that mark, while shooting just 29.6% from the field.

Bruin Comeback Does In Beavers
UCLA rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to deal the Beavers a 74-70 loss on Saturday in Pauley Pavilion. Tierra Henderson's career-high 16 point effort helped lead the way. Lindsey Pluimer added 18 points and eight rebounds.

Bruins Rally For Win Over Ducks
UCLA rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to best Oregon 63-59 in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins forced 29 Duck turnovers, 18 in the second half, and used a 19-2 run in later stages of the contest to pull out the win. Lindsey Pluimer led all scorers with 19 points. Doreena Campbell and Tierra Henderson combined for eight of UCLA's 12 second-half steals.

Think Pink
The WBCA's (Women's Basketball Coaches Association) initiative is a global, unified effort for the nation's coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in the communities and beyond. In 2007, it was estimated that there would be over 180,000 new cases of breast cancer.

The UCLA women's basketball team will host a 'Think Pink' game on Sunday, Feb. 10 against Washington. The game begins at 1:30 pm and will be televised by ESPN2. The Bruins will wear special white and pink uniforms to bring further attention to the cause. Those uniforms will later be auctioned off online, 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 t-shirts promoting breast cancer awareness to the first 500 fans in attendance. Fans can also receive two-for-one general admission tickets by bringing in a special flyer, which can be downloaded HERE.

Morris Back In Business
UCLA freshman Darxia Morris returned to action in the win over Oregon (Jan. 24) and came off the bench to score eight points in 20 minutes of action. She added 10 points and three assists versus Oregon State (Jan. 26). Morris sat out three games after spraining her right knee in the second half of the Cal game on Jan 6.

Morris, a freshman guard from Pasadena, CA (Muir HS), was injured during 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 currently averaging 9.8 points (third on the team), 2.29 steals (began the week third in the Pac-10 Conference) and 2.9 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 20 games, while a fourth has seen action in 19 games. Doreena Campbell has made 19 starts, Darxia Morris 12, Nina Earl 10, and Regina Rogers eight.

Earl ranks second on the team in scoring with a 10.1 points per game average. Campbell leads the Bruins in assists (64) and is eighth in the Pac-10 (3.37/g). She ranks third in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.60) and second on the team in minutes (30.4). Morris is third in the Pac-10 in steals with an average of 2.29. Rogers ranks second on the team in rebounding and is tied for 16th in the Pac-10 with a 4.9 average. Candice Brown leads the team with a .522 (12-23) field goal percentage. Five freshmen have been on the court at the same time for the Bruins in numerous 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. 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 20 games this year and have used the same lineup in three consecutive games just three times.

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 112 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 1,411 points and is 11th in rebounds with 675 and seventh in blocked shots with 79.

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 10.1 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 45.5% of her shots from the field. and is currently third on the team in three-point field goal percentage at 27.8% (5-18).

Campbell Strong All-Around
Guard Doreena Campbell has been a standout for the Bruins in all categories, averaging 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals and just 2.1 turnovers per game in 19 starts. She ranks No. 3 in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.60). Campbell is first on the team in assists (64) and second in minutes per game (30.4). 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, earning starts in the last 12 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 10 games, she is averaging 4.8 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 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and has played in all 20 games with 13 oveall 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 tied for 16th 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 first and second on the team in steals, with Henderson totaling 43 and Morris 39. Henderson ranks fifth in the Pac-10 (2.15), and Morris is ranked third (2.29) in the Pac-10 in steals per game. Morris is second on the team in assists with 49 while averaging 9.8 points per game. Henderson has long been known as the Bruins' defensive sparkplug, but she has also upped her offensive game this year, averaging 7.4 points and leading the team in scoring with a career-high 16 in the comeback win over Oregon State. She also poured in 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.

Four of UCLA's opponents are currently ranked in the Top 10 in the AP rankings - No. 2 Tennessee, No. 5 Maryland, No. 7 Stanford, No. 10 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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