UCLA Concludes Regular Season In Oregon

March 3, 2009

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GAME #28 DATE: Thursday, Mar. 5, 2009
SITE: McArthur Court
TIP-OFF: 7:00 p.m.
AUDIO: uclabruins.com
TALENT: Dave Marcus, Ralph Irvin

GAME #29 DATE: Saturday, Mar. 7, 2009
OPPONENT: Oregon State
SITE: Gill Coliseum
TIP-OFF: 12:30 p.m.
AUDIO: uclabruins.com
TALENT: Dave Marcus, Ralph Irvin

UCLA Travels to Oregon
The Bruins (17-10, 8-8 in the Pac-10) will conclude the regular season with games at Oregon (9-18, 5-11) on Thurday night at 7 pm and at Oregon State (17-10, 7-9) on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 pm.

UCLA is coming off of a 71-56 win over then No.4-ranked Cal, which lifted them into a tie for fourth place in the Pac-10 race. Junior guard Erica Tukiainen scored a career-high 25 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead the way, and Darxia Morris contributed a season-high tying 18 points and five steals.

About The Ducks
Oregon has dropped its last three games, all on the road, after a 77-69 home win over Washington on Feb. 14. Guards Micaela Cocks (13.4 ppg-8th in conference) and Taylor Lilley (10.3) are the lone Duck players in double digits.

The Series With Oregon
UCLA leads the series by a 25-24 count after losing 73-56 in the first meeting versus the Ducks this season. The Bruins have dropped the last two contests played in Eugene, including a 66-55 decision last year.

In the first contest between the two teams this year, the Ducks shot 56% in downing the Bruins in Pauley on Jan. 4. Lilley scored 21 points to lead four Duck players in double digits. Oregon led 33-26 at the break and was never headed, taking control of the game at 44-33 on a Lilley basket with 14:06 to play. The Bruins cut the margin to three at 44-41 with 11:50 to go, but the Ducks built it back up to 55-43 at the 8:17 mark and took home the win.

The last time UCLA and Oregon met in Eugene, the Ducks scored half of its baskets from three-point land (10 of 20) and came away with a 66-55 win after leading by 30-23 at the break.

UCLA Amongst Nation's Best
In the latest NCAA rankings (Mar. 1), the Bruins are eighth in rebound margin (+9.3), 19th in steals (11.2 average), 71st in scoring average (67.7), 78th in scoring margin (6.6), and 88th in field goal % (.415). Doreena Campbell is 58th in free throw % (.822).

Ibekwe Reaches 600/60
Senior Chinyere Ibekwe grabbed her 600th career rebound against Stanford last week and in doing so became just the eighth player in UCLA history to record 600 rebounds and 60 blocks for a career.

UCLA's 600 rebound/60 block performers
Player (Years) - Rebounds/Blocks
Denise Curry (1978-81) - 1,310/74
Natalie Williams (1991-94) - 1,137/97
Necie Thompson (1981-83) - 940/101
Maylana Martin (1997-2000) - 935/96
Ann Meyers (1975-78) - 819/101
Sandra VanEmbricqs (1987-90) - 811/95
Lindsey Pluimer (2005-08) - 737/93
Chinyere Ibekwe (2006-09) - 607/66

Tukiainen Bears Down
Junior guard Erica Tukiainen had a career game against fourth-ranked California, scoring a game-high and career-best 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting (including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc) to lead the Bruins to a 71-56 upset win. The 6-0 Tukiainen not only got the job done offensively, but she also stepped up defensively against 6-3 All-American post Devanei Hampton, holding her to just 11 points and four rebounds.

More Morris, Please
Sophomore guard Darxia had two strong outings this weekend, pouring in 18 points against both Stanford and California. Against the Cardinal, she came off the bench to score a season-high 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, and in the upset win over Cal, she added another 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting in a starting role and contributed five steals, three assists and a block with just one turnover.

Campbell Leads The Way
Sophomore guard Doreena Campbell has led the Bruins in scoring in 14 games this season, including a stretch of nine consecutive contests from Jan. 4-Feb. 8. Four of her five 20-point games this season have come against Pac-10 opponents (20 vs. USC at home, 20 vs. Washington at home, 20 at USC, 24 at Washington State).

She has a current streak of 14 straight made free throws and had a 12-game double-figure scoring streak snapped last week against Stanford (four pts.).

In games through 3/1, Campbell ranked in five Pac-10 categories - 10th in scoring (13.1), 4th in assists (3.8), 6th in FT% (.822), 9th in steals (1.5) and 6th in assist/turnover ratio (1.3).

Nyingifa Steps Up In Pac-10 Play
Freshman Atonye Nyingifa has stepped up her game in Pac-10 Conference play, averaging 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in conference games. Nyingifa leads the Bruins in Pac-10 games in rebounds (84) and steals (25) and is shooting 47.8% from the field and 74.3% from the free throw line. By contrast, she averaged 3.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in non-conference games. At Washington, she recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with five steals. All three numbers were career-highs.

12 Players, 12 Starters
With Allison Taka's start at Washington, all 12 players on the Bruin roster have started at least one game this season. Only one other Pac-10 school (Washington) has every player on the roster with at least one start. Doreena Campbell and Erica Tukiainen have the most starts with 26 each, while Atonye Nyingifa has the longest streak of consecutive starts with 12.

About The Beavers
The Beavers, who host USC on Thursday, have won their last two games (at UCSB, vs. Oregon) and have victories in their last three Pac-10 home games (Washington, Washington St., Oregon). OSU topped Oregon, 70-41, in its last outing (2/28/09), holding the Ducks to just 10 second-half points.

Senior Brittney Davis (14.1 ppg-4th in Pac-10) and sophomore Talisa Rhea (13.9-6th in Pac-10) have combined to make 102 three-point shots this season.

The Series With Oregon St.
UCLA leads the series by a 35-17 count after rallying for a 60-53 win in the first meeting of this season on Jan. 2 in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins have captured the last four contests played in Corvallis, including the last one, a 55-52 decision on Feb. 21, 2008, in which the Bruins came back from a seven-point deficit with 3:31 to play.

When the two teams tangled earlier this season, UCLA rallied from a pair of 17-point first-half deficits to earn a seven-point win. The Beavers led 19-2 and 23-6 only to see the Bruins catch fire and run off 19 of the game's next 20 points over the final 7:07 of the half.UCLA connected on eight of its last nine shots to end the half with a 25-24 lead. After Oregon closed to within 52-48 with 4:20 on the clock, Moniquee Alexander broke a scoring drought by both teams with a shot in the lane at the 1:24 mark to make it 54-48. The Bruins then secured the game from the free throw line.Earl led UCLA with 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field and five steals. OSU's Alex Mitchell led all players with 24 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field.

Bruins Bang Boards
The Bruins won the battle on the boards in the first nine games of the season and versus 21 of the 27 opponents overall. UCLA has recorded 50+ rebounds in seven of the 26 games, including a season-best 55 against USC on Jan. 11.

Senior Chinyere Ibekwe has led or tied for top rebounder on the team in 10 games, posting five double-digit totals (14 vs. CSUF, a career-high 15 vs. CSUN, 12 vs. Nevada, 12 at Rice, 10 v. USC).

Home Sweet Home
The Bruins finished the regular season with a 13-3 record in Pauley Pavilion this year. It is the most wins a UCLA team has posted in Pauley Pavilion since the 1998-99 team also went 13-3 and ties for the second-most ever by a Bruin team.

UCLA has won more than 13 home games in Pauley just once (13 in 1998-99; 16 in 1980-81; 13 in 1977-78). (note: from 1986 to 1997 UCLA did play some home games in the Wooden Center on campus but never won more than 11 home games).

64-Point Question
The home game against Stanford marked the 10th time this season an opponent has scored more than 64 points against the Bruins. Eight of UCLA's 10 losses, including five on the road, have come when the opponent has scored more than 64 points. UCLA has gone 2-8 in those games --- defeated Washington (74-66) and USC (87-75); and lost to Stanford (58-69), Arizona State (69-66), at USC (87-76), at Stanford (68-51), at Arizona State (68-44), to Oregon (73-56), at Maryland (88-65), and at Texas Tech (72-62). Another loss this season came at Cal, when the Golden Bears scored exactly 64 in a 64-48 win.

Great Start
This year's squad became just the third UCLA team to have won at least 14 games by Feb. 1 on the calendar --- the 1998-99 team won 17; the 1980-81 team won 19.

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 1998-99.

Defense Delivers
The Bruins have held 13 opponents to less than 60 points this season. UCLA surrenders an average of 61.1 points per contest on the year, which would be the third-best mark in school history and the best since the 1976-77 team gave up 59.7 and the 1975-76 squad allowed 60.0.

In beating Arizona (1/17) and Washington State (1/22) earlier this season, UCLA put together back-to-back contests in which it limited the opponent to under 50 points for the first time ever in Pac-10 play. The last time UCLA held consecutive opponents to less than 50 points was Dec. 2 and Dec 3, 1988 in games against LMU (61-46) and Northern Arizona (80-46).

On Jan. 17, the Bruins surrendered a season-low 38 points at Arizona. It was the fewest points allowed by a UCLA team since the Bruins defeated Northern Arizona 77-37 on Nov. 28, 1987.

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.

Henderson Dismissed From Team
Senior guard Tierra Henderson was dismissed from the team on Mar. 3 after repeated violations of team rules. Henderson played in 20 games this season, starting 18, and averaged 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Game 27: Bruins Upset Cal
The Bruins limited Cal to just one basket in the final 7:39 of the contest and pulled away late to knock off the No. 4-ranked Golden Bears 71-56. A three-point shot by Christina Nzekwe with 5:55 remaining in the contest lifted UCLA into to a 51-49 lelead, it would not surrender. Erica Tukiainen scored a career-best 25 points to top the Bruins. Darxia Morris added 18.

Game 26: Stanford Recap
UCLA became the first team to score as many as 58 points against Stanford since a Jan. 4 contest against Arizona (a 70-61 Cardinal win), but it was not enough. After slicing a 14-point second-half Stanford advantage in half, the Bruins were held without a basket for almost seven minutes of action and the Cardinal pulled away for their 10th straight win.

A jump shot by Atonye Nyingifa cut the Stanford lead to eight, at 57-49, with 8:35 to play. A free throw by Nina Earl made it 57-50 with 8:02 remaining, but the Bruins would not score again until a Darxia Morris lay up with 1:39 on the clock made the score 66-52. Morris finished with a season-high 18 points to lead UCLA.

Making The Grade
Four 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 junior Moniquee Alexander earned her first, Freshman Rebekah Gardner earned honors in her first quarter.

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 CIF 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. She is one of 20 high school seniors who have been selected to play in the WBCA All-America game on April 4 in St. Louis, and she has also been selected to represent the East at the McDonald's All-American game on Apr. 1.

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. Williams was an honorable mention selection for the WBCA All-America Game.

2009-10 Season Ticket Deposits
Fans can now secure reserved, floor-level season tickets for the UCLA Women's Basketball 2009-10 season for just $25. To guarantee the best seats in Pauley Pavilion for next season, visit the UCLA Central Ticket Office at tickets.ucla.edu or 310-UCLA-WIN.

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