Aug. 8, 2001
Coach Kathy Olivier welcomes back all 11 players from last year's team and adds three newcomers for the 2001-2002 season. The experience level and overall team size have each been upgraded. Both the coach and the players are ready to build on the team successes in the last three weeks of 2001.
After beginning last season without eight of the top nine scorers from the previous campaign, the Bruins showed dramatic and measurable improvement as the season wore on. UCLA finished the season by splitting the final six games. Included in the win column were victories over Washington, a team that advanced to the Elite Eight, and NCAA participant Oregon. Earlier in the year, the Bruins posted wins over USC and nationally-ranked Arizona. In fact, UCLA finished the Pac-10 home schedule with a 5-4 record.
Now, coach Olivier will return her entire unit intact from last season. The list is topped by the Pac-10's leading scorer, Michelle Greco. In 2001, she became the fourth Bruin to pace the conference in scoring (19.9) and the 19th to score at least 1,000 points for her career. With 50 made three-pointers, Greco set a single-season school record. Not just an offensive force, she finished fourth in the conference in steals (2.33).
Three other seniors also return. Center Malika Leatham averaged 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 29 starts. Shalada Allen provides solid assistance as a front court reserve, and Stacy Robertson will once again help the Bruins on the perimeter.
They will be joined by junior forward Kristee Porter, who finished the season out by scoring in double figures in 11 straight games. The volleyball standout ranked second in the conference in rebounding (8.1), and her 39 blocked shots ranked second on the all-time school list, but number one in average per game (1.77).
Point guard Natalie Nakase returns after starting all 29 games. The 5-2 junior ranked fifth in the conference in both assists (4.45) and steals (2.21). Fellow juniors Jalina Bradley, who had 12 starts, and Natalie Jarrett, who started in 10 contests, will challenge for playing time and provide a spark at the guard and forward positions, respectively.
Rising sophomores Whitney Jones, a starter in the final 17 games of the season at a forward slot, Jamila Veasley and Gennifer Arranaga are also back. Jones ranked eighth in the Pac-10 in steals (1.83) and scored a career-best 21 points in the win over Washington in the season finale. Veasley, a forward, improved steadily as the season progressed and appeared in all 29 games off the bench. Arranaga injects quickness on both ends of the floor at a guard position.
Freshman Paula Pickett, a 6-7 post, is from Martin High School in Coushatta, LA (Shreveport area). She averaged 28.0 points per game last season and was named to the Class B first-team All-State team.
Fellow incoming freshman Krystle Johnson attended Hoover, AL High School (Birmingham area). The 6-4 forward averaged 14.2 points per game and helped lead her team to the 6-A State championship. Johnson was named to the 1st team All-State 6-A team.
Freshman guard Brianna Winn attended The Bishop's School in La Jolla, CA. The 5-10 point guard led her team to the 2001 State and CIF San Diego Section titles. She was named the Division IV State Player of the Year and averaged 14 points and eight assists per game. Winn was a first-team All-State and All-San Diego County selection.
UCLA (6-23, 5-13 10th in Pac-10)
#4 Kristee Porter (19), F, 6-0, Jr.R, 13.0ppg,.8.1 rpg
#10 Whitney Jones (17), F, 5-10, So., 7.2ppg, 4.9rpg
#32 Malika Leatham (29), C, 6-2, Sr., 6.5ppg, 5.0rpg
#1 Natalie Nakase (29), G, 5-2, Jr.R, 4.4ppg, 4.4apg
#20 Michelle Greco (27), G, 5-9, Sr., 19.9ppg, 3.9rpg
#14 Natalie Jarrett (10), F, 6-0, Jr., 2.7ppg, 2.6rpg
#21 Jalina Bradley (12), G, 5-7, Jr., 5.0ppg, 1.7rpg
#13 Gennifer Arranaga, G, 5-6, So., 3.6ppg, 1.9rpg
#33 Shalada Allen (1), F, 6-2, Sr., 2.8ppg, 2.2rpg
#42 Stacy Robertson (1), F, 6-0, Sr., 1.7ppg, 1.2rpg
#35 Jamila Veasley, F, 6-1, So., 2.1ppg, 3.0rpg
Krystle Johnson, F/C, 6-4, Fr., Hoover, AL HS
Paula Pickett, C, 6-7, Fr., Martin HS, Coushatta, LA
Brianna Winn, G, 5-10, Fr. ,The Bishops School, La Jolla, CA