Nov. 16, 2004
Bruins to Open Season In Florida Vs. TCU -- UCLA will meet Texas Christian University in the opening round of the Miami Jam on Friday, Nov. 19 at 5 pm Eastern time at the Convocation Center.
TCU went 25-7 last season and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Horned Frogs finished second in Conference USA in 2004. Sandora Irvin, a 6-3 senior forward, is one of the top returning players in the nation. She averaged 16.8 points, 12.2 rebounds (third in the nation) and 3.9 blocked shots (third in the nation) per game last year. Miami (22-7 last year/T-3rd in the Big East), another NCAA team last season, and Gardner-Webb (5-22 last year/10th in the Atlantic Sun Conference) will meet in the other first-round matchup in the Jam. In the second round on Sunday, Nov. 21, the Bruins will play at either Noon (consolation) or 2:00 pm Eastern time (championship).
Listen Live -- Both of UCLA's games at the Miami Jam will be broadcast live on the internet at uclabruins.com with Dave Marcus calling the action.
UCLA In Season Openers -- UCLA is 21-9 all-time in season openers. The Bruins won last year's opener against UNLV, 61-51, in Pauley Pavilion. This year's opener with TCU (an NCAA team) marks the seventh consecutive year UCLA has faced a post-season tournament team in its season opener. In 2002, the Bruins lost at Hawaii; in 2001, the Bruins defeated Liberty at the Michigan State tournament; in 2000, the Bruins lost to No. 5 Duke in Albuquerque, NM; in 1999, the Bruins defeated No. 8 North Carolina 69-65 in Lubbock, TX; and in 1998, UCLA lost at No. 17 Notre Dame, 99-82.
Looking Ahead -- The Bruins could open up the regular season facing six straight teams which advanced to post-season play a year ago (TCU, Miami, Texas and Purdue were in the NCAA tournament; Clemson and Pepperdine played in the WNIT). UCLA returns home to Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday, Nov. 24 to play against Clemson at 7 pm.
Scouting TCU -- TCU won both of its exhibition games, besting TTT RIGA on Nov. 5 by a 95-54 score and Everyone's Internet on Nov. 12 by a score of 77-63. Center Sandora Irvin led the Horned Frogs with 17 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Everyone's Internet. She had 22 points and 14 rebounds in the exhibition opener. Sophomore forward Ashley Davis added 18 points vs. Everyone's Internet.
The Series With TCU -- UCLA won the only previous meeting with TCU, 64-58, on Dec. 14, 1991 in Corpus Christi, TX. Rehema Stephens led four UCLA players in double digits with 14 points in that contest.
Scouting Miami, Gardner-Webb -- Miami bested the Miami Suns in its first exhibition game on Nov. 3, 105-59. Forward Tamara James led six Hurricanes in double digits with 27 points. The Hurricanes edged EA Sports on Nov. 13, 82-81. James led all five Hurricane starters in double digits with 18 points. Gardner-Webb did not play any exhibition games and will play its first contest against Miami on Friday. Guard Sequenta Blackman was GWU's leading scorer last year, averaging 13.5 points per game. The Bruins have never met Miami or Gardner-Webb in basketball.
Lezcano Returns To Home State -- UCLA sophomore Consuelo Lezcano will be returning to her home state of Florida this weekend. Lezcano hails from Marathon Shores and was an all-state basketball and volleyball player at Marathon HS. In her senior basketball season, she averaged 21.2 points, 15.5 rebounds and nine blocks. She was the county volleyball player of the year as a junior and senior.
Bruins Race Past West Coast All-Stars -- UCLA jumped out to a 17-0 lead over the West Coast All-Stars and never looked back in posting a 93-45 win. Noelle Quinn led five Bruins in double figures with 22 points on 9-10 shooting from the field. She added eight assists, eight rebounds and five steals. Amanda Livingston (14 points on 7-8 shooting), Lisa Willis (13), Lindsey Pluimer (10) and Shaina Zaidi (10) joined Quinn in double figures. Pluimer added 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double.
Bruins Lose To Former Teammates From Love and Basketball -- With point guard Nikki Blue limited to just nine minutes due to a sprained right ankle, UCLA lost its exhibition opener against Love and Basketball, 73-60. Noelle Quinn led all players with 18 points and added six rebounds and five assists. Freshman forward Lindsey Pluimer recorded a double-double in her first collegiate game with 12 points and 11 boards, and Lisa Willis had 12 points and seven rebounds. UCLA outrebounded its opponents, 49-39. Love and Basketball, which is now 4-0 on its collegiate tour, boasted an All-Bruin starting lineup of Michelle Greco (17 points, six assists), Natalie Nakase (four points, four steals), Gennifer Arranaga (two points), Marie Philman (nine points, five rebounds) and Sandra VanEmbricqs (six rebounds).
2004-05 Outlook -- Coach Kathy Olivier welcomes back 11 letterwinners, including three starters, and adds three talented newcomers. The Bruin "triple threat" returning starters are leading scorer and rebounder Noelle Quinn, assist leader and No. 2 scorer Nikki Blue, along with Pac-10 steals leader and No. 3 scorer Lisa Willis. Seven of the 11 letterwinners saw action in at least 18 games last season, including five players with starting experience from a year ago.
The team rebounded from a 4-6 Pac-10 start last season to capture seven of the last eight conference games and finish in a tie for third place. That third place finish marked the fifth time in the last seven seasons that the Bruins have wound up among the top four teams in the conference. A win over Arizona State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament helped to secure an NCAA bid. Junior guard Blue and sophomore guard Quinn were each named to the first-team All-Pac-10 team. Junior guard Willis was selected to the honorable mention all-conference team after leading the league in steals and three-point shots. Quinn was also selected as the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, the fourth Bruin to be so honored.
Senior center Sissy Pickett offers some veteran spark in the middle. Junior Julia Pitts, who started nine games last season and averaged 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, is still working her way back to full health from a second knee surgery in two years and is expected to redshirt. Juniors Emma Tautolo and Ortal Oren will look to expand their roles at forward and guard, respectively. Junior volleyball standout Brittany Ringel is expected to be back in action on the hardwood in December following volleyball season.
Sophomores Amanda Livingston, Consuelo Lezcano and Shaina Zaidi each return with a year of experience under their belts. Livingston saw action in all 30 games last season and had one start while averaging 4.0 points and 2.2 rebounds. Lezcano saw action in eight games and showed outstanding promise. Zaidi was in action for nine games last season and provides another solid ballhandling option.
Coach Olivier welcomes two outstanding newcomers to the team. All-Everything forward Lindsey Pluimer (San Clemente HS) was regarded by several publications as one of the top recruits in the nation. She averaged 24.6 points per game as a senior and was named to McDonald's and Parade All-America teams. She was selected CIF Southern Section II-A Player of the Year the past three seasons. Guard Lauren Pedersen (Brea Olinda HS) averaged 14.7 points as a prep senior. She led her team to the CIF Southern Section II-A championship and the Division II Southern California regional semifinals. Pedersen was selected CIF Southern Section II-A Player of the Year the past three seasons.
Point guard Stephanetta Bingley (El Camino HS in Oceanside, CA) will walk on to the team and provide additional depth at the point guard position.
Blue, Quinn Earn National Pre-Season Honors -- Guards Nikki Blue and Noelle Quinn have been selected to several pre-season watch lists for national honors, including the pre-season Naismith Award list, the Wade Trophy Watch List and the Wooden Award All-America Watch List. Blue and Quinn were also named to the pre-season All-Pac-10 Conference team.
Bruins in the Pre-Season Polls -- UCLA is ranked No. 22 by Lindy's Magazine and No. 25 by Street and Smith's, which also chose Noelle Quinn as a high honorable mention All-American and Nikki Blue as an honorable mention All-American. The Bruins opened as the "26th" team in both the AP and the USA Today pre-season polls.
Coaches and Media Pick Bruins To Finish Third In Pac-10 -- The Pac-10 women's basketball coaches picked UCLA to finish third in the conference, with one first-place vote, in the annual pre-season poll. Stanford, with eight first-place votes, was the solid choice to finish first. The Cardinal were followed by Arizona (one first-place votes), UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Washington, USC, California, Oregon State and Washington State.
The Pac-10 media also selected UCLA to finish third (122 points). Stanford, with eight first-place votes and Arizona, with seven first-place votes, were picked to repeat as co-champions with 140 points each. Arizona State was fourth (100), followed by Washington (83), Oregon (78), USC (61), Oregon St. (45), California (34) and Washington St. (22).
Home Opener -- UCLA will host Clemson on November 24 in the home opener. The Bruins then welcome pre-season top-five ranked Texas to Pauley Pavilion on November 28.
San Jose to Host Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament -- The 2004-05 season will conclude with the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament to be played once again this season at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA on March 4-7. All conference schools will participate in the tournament, with the winner receiving the conference's automatic bid to the 2005 NCAA tournament. The team that finishes the regular season atop the Pac-10 standings, based on the results of the double round robin play, is the conference champion.
Challenging Schedule Ahead For Bruins -- Once again, UCLA's schedule will be a challenging one, as the Bruins could play the first six games of the regular season against teams which advanced to post-season play last season (TCU, Miami, Texas and Purdue - NCAA and Clemson and Pepperdine - WNIT). TCU ranked fourth in the nation in scoring offense (78.1) and eighth in field goal percentage defense (35.5%). Miami, FL ranked 16th in the nation in scoring offense at 73.8 points per game. Ohio State led the nation in field goal percentage (50.9). Purdue ranked second in the NCAA in three-point shooting percentage (39.1). In addition, the Bruins will face the usual Pac-10 Conference foes.