Nov. 9, 2002
The UCLA women's basketball team was edged out by Love and Basketball in its 2002-03 exhibition opener, 77-74, in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon. Senior guard Michelle Greco, playing in her first game since Dec. 1, 2001, led four Bruin players in double-digit scoring with 12 points.
Love and Basketball, a group of former collegiate players, turned a 42-40 halftime deficit to a 55-46 lead with 14:06 to play, jumping out with a 15-4 run to start the half. Former UCLA standouts Janae Hubbard (1997-2000) and Marie Philman (1997-2000) did most of the damage during the run, teaming to score 11 points. UCLA hung in to keep the game close then pulled to within two, 71-69, on a Greco layup with 2:33 remaining on the clock. Love and Basketball increased its lead again to five points with 15 seconds to play after free throws by Charmin Smith and Hubbard,
However, the Bruins did not give up. With six ticks on the clock, freshman Lisa Willis stole an inbound pass and hit a jumper to cut the lead to 77-74. On the next inbounds pass, Greco stole the ball, but her jumper was no good as time expired.
UCLA jumped out to a quick 6-0 run in the first half behind two Greco baskets and a layup by freshman forward Julia Pitts. The Bruins increased their lead to as much as 11 points (24-13) with 9:56 to play in the half before Love and Basketball chipped away at the lead with a 12-2 run that cut the lead to one point, 26-25 with 7:14 to play. Hubbard hit a layup with 51 seconds to play in the half to give Love and Basketball the lead, but a layup and free throw by UCLA freshman center Emma Tautolo put the Bruins in the lead, 42-40, at the half.
Joining Greco in double figures were freshmen Pitts (4-6 shooting), Nikki Blue and Willis (3-5 from three-point range) with 11 apiece. Pitts and Tautolo led the team with seven rebounds, and Greco and Blue added six apiece, with Blue contributing a game-high four offensive boards. Twelve of UCLA's 13 players scored at least one point, and all 13 had at least one rebound.
Hubbard led all players with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Philman finished with six points and nine rebounds.
"We have a lot of options out there," said UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier. "Hopefully, we'll be able to take advantage of that. We have so many different looks, a lot of depth and versatility."
"I thought Love and Basketball did a great job preparing us for the season," she continued. "They were very organized, and I thought Janae Hubbard did an unbelievable job."
The Bruins will wrap up exhibition play on Sunday, Nov. 17 against the West Coast All-Stars at 2:00 pm in Pauley Pavilion before heading out to Hawaii for the regular-season opener against the Rainbow Wahine on Nov. 23.