UCLA Women Head To Arizona

Jan. 13, 2009

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GAME #15 DATE: Jan. 15, 2009
OPPONENT: Arizona State
SITE: Wells Fargo Arena
TIP-OFF: 11:00 a.m. MT (10 a.m. PT)
AUDIO: uclabruins.com
TALENT: Dave Marcus

GAME #16 DATE: Jan. 17, 2009
SITE: McKale Center
TIP-OFF: 2:00 p.m. MT (1:00 p.m. PT)
AUDIO: uclabruins.com
TALENT: Dave Marcus

Bruins Hit Road For Arizona
UCLA (11-3, 2-1) will travel to Arizona this week and play on Thursday morning against Arizona State (10-6, 2-2) at 11 a.m. MT/10 a.m. PT. The Bruins will complete the trip to the Desert with a game on Saturday afternoon against Arizona (7-8, 0-4) at 2 p.m. MT/1 p.m. PT.

The Bruins dealt USC an 87-75 setback in last week's lone outing. The Bruins put together a series of runs during the contest, including a decisive 14-2 spurt midway through the second half which broke open a close game. Doreena Campbell led UCLA with 20 points, and Chinyere Ibekwe added 17 points with 10 rebounds. UCLA outrebounded USC, 55-38, and had 28 second-chance points.

Arizona State swept a pair of games in the state of Oregon last week, winning 61-36 in Corvallis and 81-53 in Eugene. Arizona dropped both games on the trip, losing 68-55 to Oregon and 68-43 to Oregon State.

The Series With ASU
UCLA leads the series with Arizona State by a 41-23 margin. However, ASU has won the last five meetings overall in the series and the last five contests played in Tempe. The last time UCLA won at ASU was on Jan. 16, 2003 (60-58, Nikki Blue had 30 points). The Sun Devils won the last game played in the series, 73-67, on Feb. 28, 2008 in Pauley Pavilion. Tierra Henderson and Nina Earl paced UCLA with 12 points each in that game. ASU won the earlier meeting in Tempe by a score of 62-59 on Dec. 28, 2007. Darxia Morris led UCLA with 14 points.

The Series With Arizona
UCLA leads the series with Arizona by a 41-19 count. The Bruins have captured five of the last six meetings, including the last three played in Tucson. UCLA bested the Wildcats 80-70 in the most recent meeting, played on March 1, 2008 in Pauley. Lindsey Pluimer led UCLA with 18 points. Nina Earl came off the bench for 17 points. The Bruins earned a 68-59 win in Tucson on Dec. 30, 2007. Earl recorded her first career double-double with 23 points and 10 boards.

Earl averaged 20 points on 61% shooting from the field against the Wildcats a year ago.

Sister Act 2
Saturday's battle between UCLA and Arizona will mark just the second between sisters Chinyere Ibekwe and Ify Ibekwe, who happen to be two of the top three rebounders in the Pac-10 Conference. Chinyere, a senior at UCLA, ranks third in the Pac-10 with a rebounding average of 8.6. She is also averaging 8.6 points per game. Ify, a sophomore at Arizona, leads the conference and is sixth in the nation in rebounding with a 12.5 average. She also ranks second in the Pac-10 in scoring with a 15.7 points per game average.

Chinyere owns team bragging rights in this sibling rivalry, as the Bruins won the only game the two sisters played against each other, last season in Pauley Pavilion. Ify had 16 points and 10 rebounds in a starting role, while Chinyere came off the bench and scored five points with four rebounds. UCLA also won in Tucson last year, but Ify did not play due to an eye injury.

UCLA Off To Great Start
The Bruins won as many as nine pre-season non-conference games for the first time since 1986-87, the first year for Pac-10 Conference women's basketball. The best previous total during that stretch was eight wins in the Elite Eight season of 1998-99.

Bruins Bang Boards
UCLA has been exceptional on the rebounding front, beginning the week with an average of 45.8 rebounds per game to lead the Pac-10 Conference (Jan. 12 rankings). UCLA also leads the Pac-10 and is second in the nation in rebound margin with a +13.6 mark. The Bruins rank first in the conference in offensive rebounds with 19.2 per contest.

The Bruins won the battle on the boards in the first nine games and versus 13 of their first 14 opponents. UCLA has recorded 50+ rebounds in seven of the 14 games, including a season-best 55 against USC on Jan. 11.

Senior Chinyere Ibekwe has led UCLA in rebounding in nine of the team's 14 games, posting five double-digit totals (14 vs. CSUF, a career-high 15 vs. CSUN, 12 vs. Nevada, 12 at Rice, 10 v. USC). She began the week ranked third in the conference in rebounding (her sister Ify Ibekwe from Arizona is the Pac-10 leader) with an average of 8.6.

Defense Delivers
UCLA has held its opponents to an average of 62.1 points per game this season (sixth in Pac-10). USC became just the fourth team to score more than 64 points against the Bruins this season, and UCLA has gone 1-3 in those games --- USC was the first win (87-75), and the Bruins have lost to Oregon,73-56, at Maryland, 88-65, and at Texas Tech, 72-62.

When Rice scored 64 points in a meeting earlier this season in Houston, it snapped a streak of five straight opponents being held under the 60-point mark. 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.

Sharing the Scoring Load
In 14 games, the Bruins have had seven different scoring leaders. Sharing the honors of high scorer have been Moniquee Alexander (12 v. Fullerton), Doreena Campbell (20 v. USC, 12 v. Oregon, 16 at Rice, 18 v. San Diego, 25 at Maryland), Nina Earl (15 v. Oregon State, 12 v. Kansas, tied with Nzekwe; 12 at Cal Poly), Chinyere Ibekwe (15 v. Pepperdine), Darxia Morris (10 v. Nevada), Christina Nzekwe (12 v. Kansas, tied with Earl; 13 v. CSUB, tied with Campbell), Erica Tukiainen (16 v. Texas Tech, 16 v. CSUN). The Bruins have had four games in which all active players have scored.

Bruins Leaving The Friendly Confines
This week's road games will only be the fifth and sixth road games for the Bruins this year. UCLA has played away from home just four times, going 2-2 with wins at Cal Poly and Rice and losses at Maryland and Texas Tech. The Bruins are 9-1 in Pauley Pavilion.

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 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 $200,000.

Family Four-Pack
For all Pac-10 home games, UCLA is offering a Family Four Pack ticket deal. Fans can purchase four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for just $44. To order tickets, visit the UCLA Central Ticket Office or call 310-UCLA-WIN.

UCLA Amongst Nation's Best
In the latest NCAA rankings (Jan. 12), the Bruins are second in rebound margin (+13.6). UCLA is also 28th nationally in scoring offense (74.1 points per game) and 23rd in steals (11.5 average).

Pac-10, Top-10 Ranked Bruins
In games through Jan. 11, Chinyere Ibekwe ranked third in the Pac-10 conference in rebounding with an 8.6 mark and third in offensive rebounds with a 3.7 average. She was fifth in defensive rebounding (4.9), ninth in blocked shots (0.9) and ninth in field goal percentage (.495).

Doreena Campbell was 11th in scoring (12.1), fifth in assists (3.9), fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.4) and third in FT shooting percentage (.875).

Christina Nzekwe was sixth in steals (1.7), seventh in offensive rebounding (2.7), 12th in field goal percentage (.469) and T-16th in rebounding (5.5).

Darxia Morris was seventh in assists (3.5) and 11th in assist/turnover ratio (1.0).

Nina Earl was fifth in steals (1.7) and 15th in fg percentage (.454).

As a team, the Bruins began the week first in rebounding (45.8), first in rebound margin (+13.6), first in offensive rebounds (19.2), first in steals (11.5), third in scoring (74.1), third in defensive rebounds (26.6), third in three-point fg percentage (.336), fourth in rebounding defense (32.2), fourth in turnover margin (+2.8), fourth in blocked shots (3.4), fifth in scoring margin (+12.0), fifth in field goal percentage (.421).

Game 14: USC Recap
The Bruins used a series of runs, including a decisive 14-2 run midway through the second half, to help hand USC an 87-75 setback in Pauley. Doreena Campbell led three Bruins in double digits with 20 points. The Bruins went from down 58-55 with 10:06 left to up 69-60 during the big run, and the Trojans never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Campbell Honored As Pac-10 Player Of The Week
Sophomore guard Doreena Campbell picked up her first career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor after leading UCLA to an 87-75 win over USC on Jan. 11. Campbell led the Bruins in scoring with 20 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds in the win. She also had four assists and one steal. Campbell was also named the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week, for the second time this season.

Dixon Transfers To UCLA
Former McDonald's All-American Jasmine Dixon has transferred from Rutgers to UCLA and will be eligible to compete for the Bruins after the completion of the 2009 Fall Quarter.

Dixon, a 5-11 guard from Long Beach, CA (Long Beach Poly HS), played in five games for Rutgers this season and averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds. She had been one of the nation's most highly-honored high school players in her senior season of 2008. She was named first-team prep All-American by Parade Magazine, USA Today, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, EA Sports and ESPN HoopGurlz. In addition, Dixon was tabbed as the 2008 Gatorade California Player of the Year and the LA Times Girls' Basketball Player of the Year. She was listed as the sixth-best player in the nation by All-Star Girls Report and was rated the seventh-best guard and the 26th-best player overall in the class of 2008 by HoopGurlz.com. She went on to play in the 2008 McDonald's All-American game.

Dixon helped lead Long Beach Poly HS to three straight California Division I State titles. She averaged 14.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.2 assists per game in her senior season. The new Bruin was named the Southern Section Division I-AA Player of the Year by the Southern California Interscholastic Coaches Association and was twice named the California Federation Division I Player of the Year.

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.

Looking Ahead
UCLA returns to Pauley Pavilion next week to host Washington State on Jan. 22 and Washington on Jan. 24.

Making the Grade
Three members of the Bruin squad made the UCLA Athletic Director's honor roll (3.0 of better with at least 12 graded units) during the Fall 2008 quarter. Junior Allison Taka continues her streak of making the Director's Honor Roll in every quarter of her academic career. Junior Erica Tukiainen has received her sixth honor roll distinction, and freshman Rebekah Gardner earned honors in her first quarter.

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