UCLA Travels To Rice For Wednesday Contest

Dec. 15, 2008

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DATE: Dec. 17, 2008
SITE: Tudor Fieldhouse
TIP-OFF: 5 p.m. CT (3 pm PT)
AUDIO: uclabruins.com
TALENT: Dave Marcus
WEB: uclabruins.com

Bruins At Rice Wednesday
UCLA (7-1) travels to Houston, TX for a road game at Rice University on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 5 pm CT/3 pm PT. The Bruins have won five straight and are off to their best start to a season since the 1980-81 squad won their first 12 games.

Rice is 3-3 on the season and is coming off of its exam break. The Owls have played five of their six contests at home, including their last game, a 77-72 loss to Texas-Arlington on Dec. 6.

UCLA met Rice for the first time last season and captured a 79-71 decision over the Owls on Nov. 18, 2007. Doreena Campbell led UCLA in that game with 14 points. Rice was paced by returning 5-10 guard Maudess Fulton, who poured in 27 points.

UCLA-Kansas Face Off On FSN Sunday
After the trip to Houston, the Bruins return home for a nationally-televised contest with Kansas (7-1) on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 12 pm. The Jayhawks are led by 5-11 junior guard/forward Danielle McCray, who averages 20.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Game 8: San Diego Recap
UCLA used a 19-2 first half run to break away from San Diego and went on to post a 95-58 win. Doreena Campbell led five Bruins in double digits with 18 points. She also handed out a career-high tying eight assists and led all players with seven rebounds. Nina Earl added 17 points, and Darxia Morris chipped in with 15 points and five assists. Christina Nzekwe (11) and Rebekah Gardner (10) were also in double digits. UCLA shot a season-best 59.6% from the field and had a season-low 14 turnovers.

Game 7: Nevada Recap
UCLA held Nevada to an opponent season-low 25.5% shooting percentage while earning a 62-47 win. Darxia Morris led UCLA with 10 points and six assists. Chinyere Ibekwe pulled down 12 rebounds and added eight points. The 47 points scored by Nevada was the lowest by a Bruin opponent since Arizona State registered 44 points in a Jan. 2005 game.

Shot of A Lifetime
At every home game, one lucky fan will have an opportunity to win an escalating prize of at least $100,000 at every UCLA women's basketball home game in the halftime contest 'Shot of a Lifetime'.

Fans can sign up to participate prior to tipoff inside Gate 16 of Pauley Pavilion, and one contestant will be chosen at random. That lucky fan will have 25 seconds to make (in order) a shot from behind the left elbow, a shot from behind the right elbow, a three-pointer from the top of the key, and a half-court shot. The grand prize for making these four shots in the time limit is at least $100,000. For every game that does not have a winner, the prize value will increase by $10,000. If no one has won the grand prize by the final home game of the season, that game's participant will be shooting for a quarter of a million dollars. The prize is currently at $160,000.

Free Tickets, Full Ride
UCLA students will have an opportunity to win a full $21,000 UCLA scholarship in a promotion called 'Free Tickets, Full Ride'. By attending any of the first 10 regular season women's basketball home games, current UCLA students will accumulate points towards a chance at the scholarship prize. For every game they attend, students will receive 10 points. Attending the Dec. 21 game vs. Kansas and the Jan. 11 game vs. USC will double their cumulative point total. At halftime of the USC game, one student will be randomly drawn as the winner. The more games you attend, the more chances you have to win.

Combo Ticket Package
Fans purchasing two tickets to the UCLA vs. Kansas women's basketball game on Dec. 21 will get the opportunity to buy two tickets for the men's basketball game between UCLA and Notre Dame scheduled for Feb. 7. The price of the combo package is $104. Women's tickets are located in sections 104-105, and the men's tickets are located in section 310.

Dec. 21 Game Promotions
A limited amount of free game program posters will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at each home game. The program poster for the Kansas game features Bruin freshmen Rebekah Gardner and Atonye Nyingifa.

Also on Dec. 21, the first 1,000 Bruin fans through the door will receive a free UCLA Basketball drawstring backpack. The game is also a double your points day for the Free Tickets, Full Ride student promotion, which offers UCLA students a chance at winning a $21,000 scholarship prize.

Nation's Best On Boards
For the third week in a row, UCLA ranks first in the nation in rebound margin (+17.8). The Bruins are not far off the all-time NCAA record margin of +18.3, held by the 1990 Louisiana Tech squad.

In the Pac-10 Conference, the Bruins lead the second-ranked team, Arizona State, by +7.6. UCLA has outrebounded every opponent this season and has recorded 50+ rebounds in five of eight games.

Senior Chinyere Ibekwe has led UCLA in rebounding in six of the team's eight games, posting three double-digit totals (14 vs. CSUF, a career-high 15 vs. CSUN, 12 vs. Nevada). She ranks second in the conference in rebounding (behind her sister Ify Ibekwe from Arizona) with an average of 9.5 and is also second in the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds with an average of 4.1. As a team, UCLA leads the conference in offensive rebounding at 20.6 per contest.

Defense Delivers
UCLA has held its opponents to an average of 58.5 points per game this season and has kept opponents to under 60 points in six of its last seven games, with a low of 47 scored by Nevada. The last five Bruin opponents - San Diego, Nevada, CSU Bakersfield, CSUN and Cal Poly - were held to an average of 52.6 points. The last time UCLA held more than five straight opponents to less than 60 points in a game was in the 1976-77 season, when the Bruins held five and six straight opponents to under 60 points in two different streaks.

The last five opponents have combined to shoot 33.8% from the field (90-266).

Sharing the Scoring
In eight games, the Bruins have had seven different scoring leaders. Sharing the honors of high scorer have been Moniquee Alexander (12 vs. CSUF), Chinyere Ibekwe (15 vs. Pepperdine), Doreena Campbell (18 v. San Diego, 25 at Maryland), Nina Earl (12 at Cal Poly), Erica Tukiainen (16 vs. CSUN), Christina Nzekwe (13 vs. CSUB, tied with Campbell), Darxia Morris (10 vs. Nevada). The Bruins, who rank 13th nationally in scoring with a 77.9 points per game average, have had three games in which all active players have scored.

Pac-10 Ranked Top-10 Bruins
In games through Dec. 14, Chinyere Ibekwe ranks second in the Pac-10 conference in rebounding with a 9.5 mark and second in offensive rebounds with a 4.1 average. She is fifth in defensive rebounding at 5.4 and 10th in blocked shots (0.8). Doreena Campbell is fifth in assists (4.1), fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.8) and fourth in FT shooting percentage (.875). Darxia Morris is fourth in assists (4.2) and seventh in assist/turnover ratio (1.3).Tierra Henderson is seventh in steals (2.1).

As a team, the Bruins are second in scoring (77.9), third in scoring margin (+19.4), first in rebounding (48.5), first in rebounding defense (30.8), first in rebound margin (+17.7) and offensive rebounds (20.6), second in defensive rebounds (27.9), fourth in turnover margin (+4.0) and third in steals (12.4).

Looking Ahead
UCLA ends the month of December with road games at Rice (Dec. 17) and at Texas Tech (Dec. 29) sandwiched around a nationally televised home date with Kansas (Dec. 21). The Bruins open up the Pac-10 Conference schedule against Oregon State on Jan. 2 in Pauley Pavilion.

Challenging Schedule
The Bruins will face a schedule that features seven teams which advanced to post-season play last season. Five appeared in the NCAA Tournament (Maryland, San Diego, Stanford, Arizona State, Cal), and two played in the Women's NIT (Texas Tech, Kansas).

Bruins Sign Two For '09-10
Head coach Nikki Caldwell and staff signed two high school standouts, 6-1 forward/guard Markel Walker and 5-4 point guard Mariah Williams, to letters-of-intent during the early period in November. The class is rated as the nation's 14th-best according to ESPN HoopGurlz.

Walker, rated as the No. 4 high school player in the country on the ESPNU HoopGurlz list for the nation's top 100, averaged 16.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game last season for Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA. She was the 2007-08 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania.

Williams, an All-State selection as a junior, attends Aurora, CO Regis Jesuit High School. She averaged 11.5 points, 4.2 assists and 3.3 steals per game last season while shooting 60% from the field and 43% from three-point range.

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