MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – UCLA (4-5) continues its road trip with the last two games of a seven-game streak away from home when it travels to Minneapolis, Minn., to take part in the Subway Classic this week. The Bruins will face Minnesota (9-2) at 10:00 a.m. (PT) on Friday (Dec. 20) and then take on Auburn (8-3) at Noon (PT) on Saturday (Dec. 21).
Venue: Williams Arena
Arena Capacity: 14,625
Dates: Dec. 20/21, 2013
Times: 10:00 a.m. (PT)/12:00 p.m. (PT)
Streaming: Minnesota Live Stream
Listen Online: www.uclabruins.com
Internet Audio: Dave Marcus (play-by-play)
UCLA VS. MINNESOTA
This is just the third meeting overall between UCLA and Minnesota with the series tied at 1-1. The Bruins posted a 78-63 neutral site victory over the Golden Gophers on Dec. 19, 1979. Minnesota evened the series with a 92-81 win over UCLA in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament in Minneapolis. Lindsay Whalen scored 31 points in her first game in more than five weeks, leading Minnesota to victory in front of 12,357 loud fans. Janel McCarville added 19 points and 17 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Gophers. Nikki Blue scored 20 of her 33 points after halftime for the Bruins. Lisa Willis and Noelle Quinn each added 15 points for 10th-seeded UCLA.
UCLA VS. AUBURN
The Bruins are 0-1 all-time vs. Auburn with the Tigers winning the only meeting, 52-76, on Dec. 15, 1987 in Los Angeles at the John R. Wooden Center.
ON THE TUBE
This year UCLA will have the distinction of having the first televised conference game when they host USC on Dec. 30, 2013 (7:00 p.m.) 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.
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.
The Bruins can boast of having one of the toughest schedules in the country as four of the first eight 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).
In the Bruins’ 78-68 setback to No. 12 North Carolina, UCLA had three players record double-doubles (Atonye Nyingifa - 18 pts., 11 rebs.; Nirra Fields - 12 pts., 10 rebs.; Lauren Holiday - 10 pts., 11 rebs.). They became the first trio of Bruins to record a double-double in the same game in over 23 years. In a 79-65 home win over Oregon on Feb. 23, 1990, Sandra VanEmbricqs (22 pts., 14 rebs.), Michele Wooton (17 pts., 10 rebs.) and Rehema Stephens (12 pts., 10 rebs.) were the last to pull off that feat.
UCLA forward Atonye Nyingifa (Torrance, Calif.) established or tied six career-highs in leading the Bruins to an 82-76 upset win over No. 10/13 Oklahoma at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 24 and was named Pac-12 Player of the Week. Nyingifa tied her career-best with a game-high 28 points with career-bests in free throws made (12) and free throws attempted (15). She completed her second straight double-double against a ranked team with a career-high 16 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. The sixth-year senior also handed out a career-high six assists, added three steals and one block against the Sooners. The win over Oklahoma was UCLA’s 700th victory in program history.
In UCLA’s 82-78 home win over Pepperdine (Nov. 11), the Bruins had three players score 20 or more points in the same game (Thea Lemberger 25 pts., Atonye Nyingifa 24 pts., Nirra Fields 20 pts.). It marked the first time since a 91-58 home win over Oregon State on Jan. 31, 2004 (Noelle Quinn 24 pts., Nikki Blue 23 pts., Lisa Willis 21 pts.) that that feat has been matched.
The Bruins have already lost two key players for the season as they will be without sophomore guard Kari Korver (4.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg) and junior forward Kacy Swain (3.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg). Both suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) within a week of each other. Korver also had a tear in her lateral meniscus.
BRUINS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
UCLA ranks in the Top 100 in the country as a team in two statistical categories, coming in at No. 42 in turnovers per game (14.0) and No. 73 in turnover margin (3.11). Two players rank in the Top 100 in the country as senior guard Thea Lemberger ranks No. 83 in free throw percentage (.860, 37-for-43) and senior forward Atonye Nyingifa ranks No. 81 in steals (2.44 spg).
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 44-29 (.603).