Bruins Host No. 4/5 Stanford on “Senior Night”
LOS ANGELES – UCLA (12-15, 6-9) concludes its home regular season this Sunday, Feb. 23 when its hosts No. 4/5 Stanford (25-2, 14-1) on “Senior Night.” The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks and will air on KTLK - AM 1150 with a 4:06 p.m. tip-off in Pauley Pavilion.
GAME INFORMATION Venue: Pauley Pavilion Arena Capacity: 13,800 Date: Feb. 23, 2014 Time: 4:06 p.m. (PT) TV: Pac-12 Networks Talent: Anne Marie Anderson (play-by-play), Tammy Blackburn (analyst) Radio: KTLK - AM1150 Online Audio: www.uclabruins.com Talent: Dave Marcus (play-by-play), Angel Gray (analyst)
UCLA VS. STANFORD This is the 78th meeting between UCLA and Stanford with the Cardinal leading the series 55-22. Stanford has won the last 17 meetings overall and won all three meetings a year ago, including 51-49 in the title game of the Pac-12 Tournament (Mar. 10, 2013).
Chiney Ogwumike had 21 points and 15 rebounds in helping No. 4 Stanford hold off UCLA’s upset bid, beating the Bruins 72-55 on Jan. 24, 2014. UCLA was still within six points of the Cardinal with under nine minutes left to play in the game before seemingly withering over the final seven minutes. Ogwumike, second in the nation in field goal percentage, missed five of her first six shots against an aggressive Bruins defense that shifted between zone and man defense to find ways to slow down the All-American. Lili Thompson added 15 points for the Cardinal. Erica McCall added 11 points and Sara James had 10. Ogwumike made nine of her final 12 shots to help the Cardinal put some distance between themselves and the Bruins. Atonye Nyingifa scored 18 points to lead the Bruins. Nirra Fields scored 13 points. The game was tied at 39 early in the second half when James hit consecutive 3-pointers to ignite a Cardinal run that eventually led to a 66-51 advantage heading into the final five minutes. UCLA harassed Stanford into 16 turnovers and stayed within striking distance much of the game, thanks to a 14-6 advantage in points off turnovers. Stanford led at halftime, 36-35.
INJURY BUG UCLA has lost three key players for the season as the Bruins will be without redshirt freshman Lauren Holiday (3.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg) for the remainder of the year, as announced by Head Coach Cori Close last week. Holiday sustained a head injury at the end of the first half of the USC game (Dec. 30). She joins sophomore guard Kari Korver (4.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg) and junior forward Kacy Swain (3.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg) as players lost for the year. Both of them suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) within a week of each other. Korver also had a tear in her lateral meniscus. Freshman forward Paulina Hersler has yet to play this season due to a knee injury she sustained in Sweden before arriving in the United States.
NYINGIFA CLIMBING THE CHARTSAtonye Nyingifa became UCLA’s all-time leader in games played at USC (Feb. 8) and now has 134. That mark also ranks tied for 5th on the NCAA active career list. She is currently 14th on the Bruins’ career scoring list with 1,522 points (behind Necie Thompson - 1981-83 - 1,536), which ranks 50th on the NCAA active career list and 5th in the Pac-12. She is 6th in career rebounds (895, ranks 4th on the Pac-12 active career list and 23rd on the NCAA active list). She needs 31 to pass Markel Walker (925, 2010-2013) for 5th. She is 5th in free throws made (357), which ranks 45th on the NCAA active career charts and 6th in free throws attempted (518), which ranks 35th on the NCAA active career chart.
ON THE TUBE This year UCLA has the distinction of having the first televised conference game when they hosted USC (Dec. 30) and the last televised conference game on March 2, 2014 when they visit Utah (1:00 p.m.). The Bruins will be making a total of 18 television appearances, the most in school history, during the 2013-14 regular season.
PRESEASON PROJECTIONS UCLA was selected to finish fifth in both the Pac-12 conference’s preseason coaches and media polls. Stanford was picked to finish first, followed by California, Colorado and Washington. After the Bruins, USC was selected to finish sixth, followed by Utah and Oregon State.
NONCONFERENCE NOTESThe Bruins can boast of having one of the toughest schedules in the country as four of its nonconference games were against teams ranked in the top 12 (at #12/17 Nebraska, vs. #12/14 North Carolina, vs. #10/13 Oklahoma and at #4/5 Notre Dame). The Bruins’ nonconference strength of schedule ranked No. 3 in the country (tops in the Pac-12) and helped the Bruins to a No. 26 overall ranking in the RPI. Ten of the Bruins’ 12 nonconference opponents have a winning record and UCLA’s nonconference opponents are a combined 196-101 for a .660 winning percentage (Nebraska 19-5; Pepperdine 5-20; North Carolina 20-6; Oklahoma 16-11; James Madison 21-4; Grand Canyon 16-7; NC State 22-4; Notre Dame 25-0; San Diego State 9-14; Minnesota 17-9; Auburn 14-11 and Cal Poly 14-10).
BRUINS AND THE McDONALD'S ALL-AMERICAN GAME Three Bruin signees, Recee’ Caldwell, Jordin Canada and Lajahna Drummer, were named to the 12-woman roster to represent the West in the 13th edition of the McDonald’s High School All-American Game. The three give UCLA the most players in the 2014 game and are the most to play in one game in school history. The three players are part of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class for the Bruins which consists of Canada (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward HS), Caldwell (San Antonio, Texas/FEAST), Drummer (Inglewood, Calif./Long Beach Poly), Kelli Hayes (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty HS) and Monique Billings (Corona, Calif./Santiago HS). The trio increases UCLA’s all-time roster in the McDonald’s All-American Game to 10 Bruins since its inception in 2002. Other Bruin alumni to play in the game are Nikki Blue (2002), Noelle Quinn (2003), Lindsey Pluimer (2004), Jasmine Dixon (2008), Alyssia Brewer (2008), Markel Walker (2009) and Nirra Fields (2012).
BRUINS IN NATIONAL STATISTICAL RANKINGSUCLA ranks in the Top 100 in the country (out of 343 D-I teams) in four statistical categories, coming in at No. 45 in turnovers per game (13.7), No. 48 in turnover margin (3.04), No. 72 in blocks per game (4.0) and No. 92 in personal fouls per game (17.7). Two players rank in the Top 100 in the country as senior forward Atonye Nyingifa ranks No. 26 in double-doubles with 13 on the year (ranks third in the Pac-12), No. 29 in total points (517), No. 59 in steals per game (2.3 spg), No. 52 in points per game (19.1 ppg) and No. 79 in rebounds per game (8.9 rpg). Sophomore guard Nirra Fields ranks No. 67 in total points (471).
UCLA MENTOR Head Coach Cori Close enters her third year with the Bruins after guiding UCLA to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year and a Pac-12 Tournament runner-up finish. She sports an overall record of 52-39 (.571).