LOS ANGELES – No. 8 seed UCLA (13-17, 7-11) opens the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament with ninth-seeded Colorado (16-13, 6-12) on Thursday, March 6. The game is slated for a 12:06 p.m. PT tip-off and will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. For up-to-the-minute information on the Pac-12 Tournament including an updated bracket, ticket information and videos click here.
Venue: KeyArena (Seattle)
Arena Capacity: 17,459
Date: Mar. 6, 2014
Time: 12:06 p.m. (PT)
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Anne Marie Anderson (play-by-play), Tammy Blackburn (analyst), Jill Savage (sideline)
Online Audio: www.uclabruins.com
Talent: Dave Marcus (play-by-play)
UCLA VS. COLORADO
This is just the ninth meeting between UCLA and Colorado with the series tied at 4-4. The Buffaloes swept the Bruins this season, winning 61-59 in Los Angeles (Jan. 5) and 62-42 in Boulder, Colo. (Feb. 28). The Bruins and the Buffaloes have never met on a neutral court.
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 CHARTS
Atonye Nyingifa became UCLA’s all-time leader in games played at USC (Feb. 8) and now has 137. That mark also ranks tied for 5th on the NCAA active career list. She is currently 12th on the Bruins’ career scoring list with 1,557 points (behind Dora Dome - 1985-88 - 1,589), which ranks 55th on the NCAA active career list and 5th in the Pac-12. She is 6th in career rebounds (914, ranks 4th on the Pac-12 active career list and 25th on the NCAA active list). She needs 12 to pass Markel Walker (925, 2010-13) for 5th. She is 4th in free throws made (364), which ranks 45th on the NCAA active career charts and 4th in free throws attempted (534), which ranks 36th on the NCAA active career chart.
PAC-12 TOURNAMENT NOTES
While UCLA is 14-11 (.560) all-time in the Pac-12 Tournament, the Bruins are 1-1 all-time as the No. 8 seed (2002). The Bruins’ No. 8 seed ties for the lowest seed UCLA has ever entered the postseason tournament with and ends a six-year run as a Top 5 seed. Last year, third-seeded UCLA lost to top-seeded Stanford, 51-49, in the title game. The Bruins upset No. 2 California, 70-58, in the semifinals and defeated No. 6 Utah, 54-43, in the quarterfinals after having a first-round bye.
UCLA won its only Pac-12 Tournament title in 2006, which is the only team other than Stanford to claim the championship since 2003.
BRUINS IN NATIONAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS
UCLA ranks in the Top 100 in the country (out of 343 D-I teams) in three statistical categories, coming in at No. 48 in turnovers per game (13.9), No. 64 in turnover margin (2.53) and No. 91 in blocks per game (3.8). Two players rank in the Top 100 in the country as senior forward Atonye Nyingifa ranks No. 38 in double-doubles with 13 on the year (ranks 5th in the Pac-12), No. 43 in total points (552), No. 74 in points per game (18.4 ppg), No. 58 in steals per game (2.3 spg) and No. 98 in rebounds per game (8.7 rpg). Sophomore guard Nirra Fields ranks No. 68 in total points (522).
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 53-41 (.564).
The 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 224-121 for a .649 winning percentage (Nebraska 22-6; Pepperdine 5-24; North Carolina 22-8; Oklahoma 18-13; James Madison 24-5; Grand Canyon 19-8; NC State 24-6; Notre Dame 29-0; San Diego State 12-15; Minnesota 19-11; Auburn 16-13 and Cal Poly 16-12).
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).
STERN NAMED SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
The UCLA Bruins, in conjunction with the NCAA’s community service efforts that surround the Women’s Basketball Championship, has named William “Billy” Stern of Topanga, Calif., as the Southern California Volunteer of the Year. Stern spends 20 hours a week (about 1,000 hours per year) serving as a tutor and mentor at the Virginia Avenue Park Teen Center in Santa Monica, Calif.
Stern tutors middle and high school math at the Teen Center. For him, it’s all about seeing that “light” go on in a young person’s eyes. The ability to figure things out (mathematical or otherwise) is a fundamental tool for forging a satisfying and successful life. Stern has also said that he’d never let himself become an old fogey and hangin’ with the kids helps keep him honest and young at heart.
The Women’s Basketball community is dedicated to community service efforts and is proud to recognize others that do the same throughout the country. At the Women’s Final Four in Nashville, Tennessee the participating teams will endeavor in many community service efforts including reading programs, hospital visits, supporting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and more.
The NCAA is honoring one person in each of the 20 communities that are hosting the 2014 Women’s Basketball Championship. UCLA will host the 1st and 2nd rounds of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on March 22 and 24 in Pauley Pavilion. The Southern Californian Volunteer of the Year will be recognized at one of the NCAA Tournament games in Pauley Pavilion. In addition their story will be told throughout the Women’s Final Four in Nashville.