Jan. 20, 2012
The Bruins (8-9, 3-3 Pac-12) conclude their three-game homestand against Oregon (10-9, 2-5) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the John Wooden Center. Free video, audio and Gametracker will be available at UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins are coming off a 69-60 victory over Oregon State on Thursday. Junior Markel Walker was one assist shy of a triple-double, accounting for 16 points and career bests in rebounds (18) and assists (nine), while senior Rebekah Gardner added a game-high 19 points with eight rebounds and four steals. UCLA out-rebounded Oregon State 47-31 and shot 46.8% from the field.
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Rebekah Gardner led the Bruins in scoring for the eighth time this season after recording 19 against Oregon State on Thursday. She added eight rebounds and a season-high four steals. Gardner leads the Bruins with 15.2 points per game and 30 steals, is second with 16 three-pointers and third with 6.1 rebounds per game. The Bruins' lone senior and only player to start all 17 contests has double figures in points in five straight. She had 20 against USC last Saturday, her fifth, 20-point game of the season, making 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Preceding that were 16 points and eight rebounds at Arizona State (Jan. 7), 12 points and eight boards at Arizona (Jan. 5) and 17 points with six rebounds versus Stanford (Dec. 31). Gardner has produced at least eight points in all 17 games, at least one steal in 15 of 17 contests (2+ on 10 occasions) and is first on the squad with 13 double-figure scoring games (34 career). She netted a career-high 24 against Tennessee (Dec. 17) on 9-of-18 shooting and 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. She also had 20 points versus San Diego State (Nov. 30) and a pair of double-doubles with 21 points and 10 rebounds against both Tennessee Tech (Nov. 13) and Colgate (Nov. 26). Gardner tallied three steals versus Tennessee Tech, Colgate and San Diego State and has two thefts in six more contests. She also has at least five boards in 11 games, including six of the last seven (6.4 rpg).
Markel Walker has led the Bruins in rebounds in all 10 of her games, producing double figures in four straight contests and going for a career-high 18 against Oregon State. She was one assist shy of a triple-double, adding 16 points and a career-high nine assists, but still did produce her third double-double of the year (10 career). During her double-figure rebounding streak, Walker had 14 with five assists against USC, 13 with 15 points, five assists and four steals at Arizona State and 12 with 12 points versus Arizona. Of her 103 rebounds, 45 have come on the offensive end, as she is first on the team with 10.3 rpg (at least six in every game), third with 12.4 ppg and 39 assists and second with 22 steals, adding a 72.1 free throw percentage. Walker has scored in double figures in nine of 10 contests and has a steal in every game (2+ on eight occasions), producing season highs in both against California (Dec. 29) with 18 points and four steals. She has at least five assists in three in a row and on four occasions this year. At the free throw line, Walker has made at least four attempts in five contests.
Thea Lemberger is another of a Bruin quartet that is averaging double figures in points, coming in at 11.8 ppg. She is also first on the team with 22 three-pointers and second with 47 assists and 11 double-figure scoring games, shooting 70.0 percent from the free throw line. Lemberger had nine points against Oregon State on Thursday. The sophomore is averaging 14.5 ppg during Pac-12 play, producing three double-figure games, including two with over 20. She had 22 at Arizona State, making 9-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Lemberger went for a career-high 26 against California (7-of-11 fg, 3-of-6 3pt, 9-of-10 ft) and also added a 17-point effort with five assists at Arizona. Lemberger had a career-best six assists against Tennessee and has at least four helpers in seven contests. Beyond the arc, she has at least one trey in 13 of her 17 contests, including three at Temple.
Corinne Costa has played 20-plus minutes in eight straight games and is averaging 7.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg and a 51.9 field goal percentage over her last four contests. Costa tied a career high with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting against Oregon State, adding six rebounds. She had six points (3-of-7), five rebounds and two blocks against USC, six points (3-of-4) and four boards in a career-high 31 minutes at Arizona State and eight points (4-of-10) and a season-best seven rebounds (four offensive) versus Arizona. The team leader in blocks with 26 is averaging 3.4 ppg and 3.9 rpg on the year. Costa set a UCLA single-game record with seven blocks against California, which broke Natalie Williams' record of six set on March 6, 1992 against Arizona. She has at least one block in 15 of 17 games and at least one in eight straight (16 total). She tied a career high with eight points versus the Hawks, all in the first half, adding six rebounds and two blocks. It was the sophomore's first career start, as she made 4-of-6 from the field.
Rhema Gardner had her second-highest scoring output of the season against Oregon State, posting nine points on 4-of-6 shooting to go with four assists and a career-high three steals. Gardner is averaging 4.5 ppg and 3.8 rpg this season, adding 12 blocks, which is second on the squad. The sophomore has at least five rebounds in five games, recording eight at Arizona State. Her career best in rebounds came against Colgate when she had 10. Gardner's personal high in points happened in the season opener versus McNeese State (Nov. 11) when the sophomore poured in 18 on 5-of-7 shooting and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Gardner has four other games with at least five points, including nine against San Diego State. Defensively, she has a block in nine games, including three against California and two versus USC.
Mariah Williams has started 13 straight games (15 total) and leads the squad with 52 assists to go with 4.0 ppg and 21 steals, which is third on the club. The junior had eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, four rebounds and three steals against USC and added four points and four assists versus Oregon State. She tied a season high with six assists at Arizona State and has produced at least four assists in eight contests this season. The junior also had six assists in the season opener against McNeese State. Williams has a pair of contests with at least 10 points, posting 13 at Loyola Marymount and 11 versus San Diego State. Williams was 6-of-10 from the floor against the Lions and went 7-of-8 from the charity stripe versus the Aztecs. Williams has a steal in seven of her last nine games (12 total), recording a season-best three against LMU and California.
Kacy Swain is averaging 2.6 ppg and 1.7 rpg in 15 contests. The freshman recorded four points, four rebounds (tied season high) and one block against Oregon State on Thursday. In her third start of the year, the freshman recorded two rebounds in 16 minutes against USC. She had four points and three rebounds in 14 minutes at Arizona. During the opening weekend of Pac-12 play, she had two blocks against California in six minutes and two points and a board in 14 minutes of action versus Stanford. The freshman's season best in points came against Tennessee Tech when she had nine on 4-of-9 shooting. Swain pulled down a season-high four rebounds against West Virginia on Nov. 25.
Atonye Nyingifa, who had 14.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, a 45.7 shooting percentage, 11 blocks and 18 steals in nine games, tore her right ACL against Tennessee and will miss the remainder of the season. The redshirt junior had seven double-figure scoring contests and five double-doubles. Nyingifa poured in a career-best 28 and tied a personal high with 14 rebounds against Loyola Marymount.
Moriah Faulk, tore her left ACL against Arizona State and will miss the rest of the year. The freshman came off the bench in 15 contests, averaging 5.7 ppg and 15 three-pointers. She had multiple treys in five games, including a perfect 3-for-3 at Loyola Marymount when she had a season-best 11 points, six rebounds and four steals in just 14 minutes. Faulk also had double-figure games with 10 against both McNeese State and Baylor.
Two Bruins, junior Jackie Shepard (foot/shoulder) and freshman Alexis Perry (shoulder), have yet to see action this season as they recover from off-season surgeries, but have resumed practicing. Freshman walk-on Madeline Brooks made her collegiate debut against Colgate, playing four minutes and recording one offensive rebound. She had two points in six minutes at Loyola Marymount and played the final minute of the Dec. 31 game against Stanford.
BRUINS IN THE PAC-12
Rankings through Jan. 19 (Markel Walker will become eligible once she has played in 75 percent of UCLA's games)
Rebekah Gardner: Scoring (5th, 15.2); Minutes Played (5th, 33.9); Free Throw Percentage (8th, .712); Steals (12th, 1.8); Offensive Rebounds (13th, 2.4); Rebounding (T-20th, 6.1)
Thea Lemberger: Minutes Played (10th, 33.0); Free Throw Percentage (11th, .700); 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (12th, .338); 3-Point Field Goals Made (T-12th, 1.2); Scoring (16th, 11.8)
Mariah Williams: Assist/Turnover Ratio (12th, 1.1); Assists (13th, 3.1) Corinne Costa: Blocked Shots (7th, 1.5)
Team: 3-Point FG Pct Defense (2nd, .268); Offensive Rebounds (5th, 14.0); Free Throw Pct (6th, .672); Steals (6th, 8.3); Turnover Margin (6th, +0.6)
POINTS OF INTEREST
The Bruins have scored one less point (1,045) than they've allowed (1,046) this year ... UCLA set a single-game school record with 13 blocks against California on Dec. 29, which broke the previous mark of 12 on Dec. 4, 1980 against Texas A&M ... the Bruins are making 74.4% of their free throws during Pac-12 play, which ranks third in the conference. UCLA is also first in three-point field goal percentage defense (.222) in league games and fourth in blocked shots per game (4.5) ... individually, Rebekah Gardner is fourth in conference games in ppg at 15.3, Thea Lemberger is sixth (14.5) and Markel Walker is tied for 11th (12.7). Walker is tied for first with 12.0 rpg in Pac-12 contests, solo first in offensive rpg (4.8) and fifth in apg (4.3), while Corinne Costa is third with 2.2 bpg ... UCLA is 7-1 when leading at the half, with the only loss coming at Arizona ... the Bruins are 8-2 when outshooting their opponent, but 0-7 when losing that battle.
Oregon has dropped two straight and four of five after falling 92-73 at USC on Thursday to move to 2-5 in league play and 10-9 overall. Oregon won its first six of the season, but have dropped nine of 13. The Ducks' leading scorer (20.1) and rebounder (10.7) Amanda Johnson is out after suffering a left thumb fracture on Dec. 11.
Senior Jasmin Holliday, who went to the same high school as UCLA's Gardner sisters, is averaging 14.9 ppg and 7.7 rpg to go with a team-best 35 blocks and 39 steals. Senior Nia Jackson is posting 9.5 ppg and a team-best 67 assists and 39 steals, while sophomore Ariel Thomas is at 9.0 ppg. Paul Westhead is in his third year at Oregon and has a record of 41-42.
The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Ducks 30-24 and have won five straight. UCLA claimed a 75-48 win in Eugene on Feb. 10 and an 87-57 victory in Westwood on Jan. 15. Markel Walker went for 14 points in the home game last year and for nine points and 13 boards at Oregon, while Rebekah Gardner had 18 points and eight rebounds in the contest at Eugene. The Bruins are 19-8 at home against the Ducks and 2-1 in the Wooden Center. Oregon's last win against UCLA was a 73-56 triumph at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 4, 2009.