Nov. 4, 2012
The 2012-13 UCLA women's basketball team hosts Westmont on Monday night in the Wooden Center in an exhibition tune-up before returning home to Pauley Pavilion for its season-opener against San Diego State on Nov. 10. The Westmont game is scheduled to tip at 7:05 p.m. and admission is free.
Seventh-ranked Westmont opened its season with a 93-47 win against Bethesda University of California on Nov. 2, 2012. The Warriors shot 60.0 percent from the field (36-for-60) and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc (6-for-15). The win was the 18th consecutive home victory for the Warriors. Senior Tugce Canitez scored 16 points in 15 minutes of play. She also pulled down six rebounds and dished off four assists while freshman Karlie Storkson tallied 14 points for the Warriors on five-of-six shooting from the floor. Senior Jillian Wilber rounded out the trio of double-figure scorers with 10 points.
Westmont has already beaten one Division I opponent this season. Canitez poured in 25 points and pulled down 18 rebounds as the Warriors defeated Pepperdine, 67-60, in an exhibition game on Oct. 31. Pepperdine led 31-29 at the half. Sophomore Esther Lee, a transfer from Colorado, had 19 points (5-for-12 from three-point range), and added five rebounds and five assists in the win over the Waves.
Current UCLA assistant coach Tony Newnan served as an assistant women's basketball coach for nine seasons (2002-03 to 2010-11) at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Newnan assisted current Warrior Head Coach, Kirsten Moore, his final six seasons at the school. The Warriors have earned NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) national rankings and advanced to the NAIA Tournament in five of the past six seasons and have won at least 20 games in four of the past five years. In 2011-12, Westmont posted a school record 31 wins (31-4 overall record) and reached the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament. But after the season, tragedy struck the Moore family and the Westmont program. Coach Moore's husband, Alex, passed away on May 9, 2012, after suffering complications from surgery. She was seven months pregnant with their first child at the time. Two months later, her daughter, Alexis, was born. A facebook page was created to celebrate the life of Moore, which can be viewed here. If you'd like to make a donation to help Kirsten with future expenses, especially those related to the care for Alexis, click here.
2012-13 UCLA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL OUTLOOK
The UCLA women's basketball team is poised to have a great season in 2012-13 and is ready to return home to new Pauley Pavilion after a $136 million renovation.
Several Bruins are ready to put the injury-plagued 2011-12 campaign behind them as injuries decimated UCLA's lineup last season, taking out two starters for most or all of the season and leaving the Bruins with just seven healthy scholarship players at year's end.
The inaugural Pac-12 Conference season didn't quite go as planned for UCLA, which finished 14-16 overall and 9-9 (tied for 5th place) in league play.
But the Bruins are expecting big things in 2012-13 as UCLA welcomes back four starters from a year ago and a nationally-ranked recruiting class that is rated best in the Pac-12 (ranked 12th nationally by ESPN). Not included in that class is senior Alyssia Brewer, who sat out last season after transferring from national power Tennessee, and is ready to make her presence known on the West Coast.
The Bruins have four seniors on the roster, and all of them will make huge contributions in their final collegiate campaigns.
Brewer, a forward, sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules and is ready to make an impact in the Bruin frontcourt. The 2010 SEC Tournament MVP played three seasons at Tennessee, appearing in 87 games while making 20 starts and averaging 6.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Guard Mariah Williams, who spent the summer studying abroad in Spain, returns for her final season after averaging 4.6 points and 2.8 assists per game last year, starting in 28-of-30 contests.
The final two seniors were both injured last year. All-conference guard/forward Markel Walker missed seven games last year due to injury, but started in 19-of-23 games she played, leading the Bruins and Pac-12 in rebounding (11.0 rpg) and finishing second on the team in scoring (14.9 ppg, 8th in Pac-12). Forward Jasmine Dixon missed the entire 2011-12 season due to injury. The 2011 AP honorable mention All-American and first team All-Pac-10 player averaged 12.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a junior two years ago.
The junior class also consists of four members and features a player returning from injury as well. Forward Atonye Nyingifa was off to a great start in 2011-12, averaging 14.7 points and 8.9 rebounds while starting the first nine contests, before an injury sidelined her for the remainder of the season.
Guard Thea Lemberger, an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection last year, spent the summer playing with the Israeli national team. She averaged 12.0 points per game last year and led the team in assists (3.0 apg).
Providing depth in the Bruins' frontcourt is forward/center Corinne Costa (4.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg), who continues to improve after averaging over 21 minutes per game last season. She also led the team in blocks with 50 (1.7 bpg), which ranked third in the Pac-12, and twice set a school record for blocks in a game with seven.
The final junior is guard/forward Rhema Gardner, who started in 20 of 30 games a year ago. Gardner averaged 3.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year.
There are two sophomores on the roster, featuring forward Kacy Swain, who averaged 3.0 points and 2.1 rebounds per game while making four starts in 27 appearances a season ago.
The class also includes the only walk-on, guard Madeline Brooks. Brooks joined the team late last year, but made 12 appearances and one start while averaging 0.6 points and 0.5 rebounds per game. It also includes the only walk-on, guard Madeline Brooks. Brooks joined the team late last year and made 12 appearances and one start, averaging 0.6 points and 0.5 rebounds per game.
The freshman class includes three high school standout guards who are rated in the Top 100 by ESPN's HoopGurlz.
Leading the class is the 12th-rated player in the country, Nirra Fields. The Canadian-born Fields played last season at Mater Dei High School, leading the Monarchs to their third straight CIF State Championship. She averaged 23.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals in 2012 as a senior. She was named California's Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year by ESPN HS Cal-Hi Sports and also garnered the Gatorade California Player of the Year honor.
Rated as the No. 66 top prospect in the country by HoopGurlz, Lauren Holiday brings a defensive toughness to the Bruins. She led Campbell Hall to its first CIF-Southern Section Division 4A championship in school history last year, falling one assist short of a triple-double in the title game with 16 points and 18 rebounds. Her brother, Jrue, played at UCLA in 2008-09 and is in his fourth year in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Kari Korver is the final freshman and is rated at No. 100 by ESPN's HoopGurlz, and that is without playing a single game of her senior year in high school. Korver, who missed all of last season with an injury, averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game as a junior 2010-11 at Valley Christian High School. She also comes from a basketball pedigree. Her cousin is Kyle Korver, a nine-year pro in the NBA and current member of the Atlanta Hawks.