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Word From Westwood - Jan. 8, 2013
By: UCLA Athletics

Word From Westwood

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Jan. 8, 2013

Happy New Year, everyone!

Our student-athletes began winter quarter classes yesterday after a few weeks off for the holidays, and soon there will be no shortage of activity, on and off the field of play.

Both the men's and women's basketball seasons are well underway, while men's volleyball and women's gymnastics, each of whom will host NCAA Championships in New Pauley Pavilion later this year, have officially kicked-off their campaigns.

The other teams competing either in the winter or spring, and in some cases both, are on the verge of getting back in action as well, whether that team is swimming and diving, tennis, women's water polo, indoor track and field, golf, softball, baseball, or rowing.

Amazingly, though the 2012 football season just ended less than two weeks ago, its off-season conditioning drills begin later this month as well ...

Men's Basketball Opens Conference Slate with Two Victories
Following back-to-back wins to open Pac-12 Conference play in New Pauley, Head Coach Ben Howland and the men's basketball team head east into the Mountain time zone for games against Utah (Thursday at 6:30 pm PT) and Colorado (Saturday at 11 am PT), both of which will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. The Bruins are currently on a seven-game winning streak.

Women's Basketball Welcomes Washington Schools
After kicking off Pac-12 Conference play with victories at both Oregon and Oregon State, the #14-ranked women's basketball team welcomes its northernmost conference rivals, the Washington schools, to New Pauley for games on Friday night at 7 pm (Washington State) and Sunday afternoon at 2 pm (Washington).

Tickets remain for both games. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please call the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN (825-2946) or click here.

UCLA Football Seniors to Appear in a Variety of All-Star Games
The college football all-star game circuit begins later this week, and more than a dozen of UCLA's seniors will be representing the university. For a complete list of UCLA players competing in collegiate all-star games, please click here.

Men's Volleyball Team Opens Home Season against Northridge
The #5-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team will play its first official home match under John Speraw tonight when it hosts Cal State Northridge in Pauley at 7 pm.

The home opener comes on the heels of the Bruins taking two of their three matches and finishing second overall to open their season in the Asics Invitational at UCSB last weekend.

After the CSUN match, the Bruins return to the road for three matches over the weekend against top opponents in the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Invitational in Honolulu.

Gymnastics Hosts Utah to Open Conference Season
After defeating Southern Utah 196.150-194.875 in front of more than 3,000 fans, including a full student section, in the annual John Wooden Challenge last weekend, the #2-ranked UCLA gymnastics team welcomes Pac-12 rival and #5-ranked Utah to New Pauley on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. UCLA and Utah have combined to win 16 national championships.

The Bruins were a perfect 5-0 in the John Wooden Center in 2012 while Pauley was undergoing renovations, registering their first undefeated home season since 2004.

For more information, or to purchase tickets to the meet, please call the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN (825-2946) or click here.

UCLA Women's Golfer Leads USA to Copa de las Americas Championship
UCLA sophomore All-American golfer Erynne Lee led the United States women's team to the Copa de las Americas championship last weekend in Miami, while also finishing first individually.

Lee posted a final round score of even-par 72 at the Blue Monster Course at Doral Resort and Spa on Sunday to give the USA a total of 597 (+21). That total beat Canada by one stroke. The women's team title was the USA's third straight. Individually, Lee's 72-hole total of 291 (+3) was the lowest women's score of the tournament.

Bill Walton and the 2012 Holiday Ball

Special Thanks to Walton, Moorad and Karros for Hosting Holiday Ball
On the eve of the Holiday Bowl, Bruin fans joined together to attend the 2012 Holiday Ball Party. The event, hosted by Bruin greats Bill Walton, Eric Karros and Jeff Moorad, was held at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. Attendees enjoyed live music and dancing, great food and an exclusive silent auction.

Open to all UCLA fans, this event, sponsored by former UCLA and Major League Baseball player Eric Byrnes and Playa Grill & Rimel's Catering, raised nearly $10,000 to benefit student-athlete scholarships through the Wooden Athletic Fund.

Thank you to Bill, Eric and Jeff again for agreeing to host this wonderful event and extending their hospitality to all Bruins while in San Diego.

SAVE THE DATE: Football Signing Day Event
All UCLA Football fans should hold the evening of Wednesday, February 6 for a unique, one-of-a-kind signing day event on the UCLA campus. Though the schedule is not quite finalized, please mark your calendars now for your first look at the Bruin Football Class of 2013.

Thoughts from the Athletic Director

Although we are only a week into 2013, women's basketball has picked up right where they left off in 2012, and men's basketball has turned things around for the better. I am pleased to see how both teams have developed over the past two months and am excited to see how they fare as their respective conference seasons continue. Cori Close has a solid team with a balanced offense (five players are averaging double figures on the season) and just came off two conference road wins, which is never an easy feat. On the men's side, the Bruins have worked hard to improve their defense and overall intensity, which has paid off with a seven-game winning streak. They will put that record to the test in two tough road games at the mountain schools later this week.

Basketball isn't the only good thing brewing in Pauley though. On Sunday afternoon, I attended the eighth annual John Wooden Challenge, a gymnastics meet that features a post-meet ceremony that recognizes each of the competing teams' academic and athletic achievements in honor of Coach Wooden's legacy. Also in the spirit of the meet, Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field wore Coach Wooden's favorite sweater while guiding the Bruins to their first win of the season. There are still four terrific meets left on their schedule, and I urge you to get to one. UCLA will also be hosting the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships this April.

The Bruins are a new and exciting team; for this most recent meet, half of the team's routines were filled with new gymnasts. Fans will get to see new faces and new performances. The future of UCLA Gymnastics is now. We've also changed the configuration of the competition floor to bring all the events closer to each other, so it's even more fun to follow the action. Miss Val and her gymnasts take the floor again on Saturday for a live televised meet against Utah. In addressing the crowd at halftime of last week's men's basketball game against Stanford in Pauley, Valorie mentioned that Utah featured a crowd of 12,000 at the Pac-12 Championship meet they hosted last year. Let's come out in full force to support our team. I hope to see you there.

Speaking of new faces, men's volleyball head coach John Speraw has his inaugural home match (as UCLA head coach) tonight at 7pm in Pauley Pavilion. "If he builds it, they will come." The future looks bright for this program, as John and the members of his staff are looking forward, not only to this season, but based on their recent recruiting success, subsequent seasons as well. Be part of history as UCLA begins a new era of men's volleyball.

Finally, I just wanted to say a few words about another era in the works here at UCLA, that of Head Football Coach Jim Mora. Despite the outcome of the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, I am proud of all that our football program accomplished this year. The Bruins enjoyed a nine-win season on the gridiron and have shown everyone in the Bruin family that their hard work and dedication make them a contender every time they take the field. Rest assured that I, along with Chancellor Block and the University, share that dedication to Jim and the team, and together we are committed to, step-by-step, reaching new heights in UCLA Football. It may seem like football is a ways off, but it will be time for the Spring Game before you know it.

Go Bruins!

Dan Guerrero
UCLA Athletic Director

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