Jan. 17, 2012
BRUINS BATTLE BEAVERS
The Bruins (7-9, 2-3 Pac-12) continue their three-game homestand on Thursday when they entertain Oregon State (11-6, 2-4) at 7 p.m. at the John Wooden Center. Free video, audio and Gametracker will be available at UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins are coming off a 47-43 setback to USC last Saturday in Westwood. Senior Rebekah Gardner paced the Bruins with 20 points, while junior Markel Walker tied a career high with 14 rebounds, but UCLA shot just 30.4% from the floor in the loss.
Rebekah Gardner recorded her fifth, 20-point game of the season on Saturday against USC with 20 on the nose. She made 8-of-9 from the free throw line and added four rebounds in 36 minutes. The Bruins' lone senior and only player to start all 16 contests is tops on the squad with 15.0 points per game and 26 steals, tied for second with 15 three-pointers, third with 6.0 rebounds per game and tied for third with 30 assists. Gardner has produced at least eight points in all 16 games, at least one steal in 14 of 16 contests (2+ on nine occasions) and is first on the squad with 12 double-figure scoring games (33 career). She has four in a row with at least 10 points, posting 16 with two treys and eight rebounds at Arizona State on Jan. 7, 12 with two treys and eight boards at Arizona (Jan. 5) and 17 with six rebounds versus Stanford on Dec. 31. Averaging 14.6 ppg in Pac-12 play, Gardner is playing 33.8 minutes per game, which ranks fourth among league players. She netted a career-high 24 against Tennessee (Dec. 17) on 9-of-18 shooting and 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. She also had 20 points versus San Diego State (Nov. 30) and a pair of double-doubles with 21 points and 10 rebounds against both Tennessee Tech (Nov. 13) and Colgate (Nov. 26). Gardner tallied three steals versus Tennessee Tech, Colgate and San Diego State and has two thefts in six more contests. She also has at least five boards in 10 games, including five of the last six (6.2 apg).
Markel Walker has led the Bruins in rebounds in all nine of her games, producing double figures in three straight contests. Walker tied a career high with 14 boards against USC, adding four points (the only time this year she has been held to single digits), five assists and two steals. She also had a pair of double-doubles two weekends ago to give her nine for her career, going for 15 points and 13 rebounds at Arizona State and 12 points and 12 boards at Arizona. The junior went 10-of-23 from the field in the desert, made three treys, had four steals and grabbed 11 of her 25 rebounds on the offensive end. Walker is first on the squad with 9.4 rpg (at least six in every game), tied for third with 12.0 ppg and 30 assists and solo third with 20 steals (one in each contest, 2+ in seven) in nine games since returning on Dec. 13 after off-season left thumb surgery. She is also shooting 75.8% (25-33) from the free throw line. Her season highs in points and steals came against California (Dec. 29) when she had 18 and four, adding eight boards, four assists and a 7-of-8 effort from the free throw line.
Thea Lemberger is another of a Bruin quartet that is averaging double figures in points and leads the team with 15.6 ppg in the first five Pac-12 games. She has a pair of 20-point games to her credit after pouring in 22 on 9-of-12 shooting with three treys at Arizona State. Lemberger also had a 17-point effort with five assists at Arizona and a career-high 26-point outing against California. The sophomore went 7-of-11 from the floor versus the Golden Bears, 3-of-6 from the three and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Lemberger, who had five points, four rebounds and two steals versus USC, is tied for third with 12.0 ppg and is shooting 71.4% from the free throw line. She is also first with 21 three-pointers and second with 45 assists and 11 double-figure scoring games. Lemberger had a career-best six assists against Tennessee and has at least one trey in 12 of her 16 contests, including three at Temple.
Rhema Gardner had her fifth game this season with at least five rebounds when she had eight at Arizona State. Gardner, who has started 15 of 16 games, is averaging 4.3 ppg and 3.8 rpg to go with 12 blocks. Her career best in rebounds came against Colgate when she had 10. She also has five rebound performances against Baylor (Nov. 17), Loyola Marymount (Dec. 4) and Saint Joseph's (Dec. 22). Gardner's personal high in points happened in the season opener versus McNeese State (Nov. 11) when the sophomore poured in 18 on 5-of-7 shooting and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Gardner has four other games with at least five points (nine against San Diego State, seven against Tennessee Tech, six versus Colgate and Saint Joseph's). Defensively, she has a block in nine games, including three against California and two versus USC.
Mariah Williams has started 12 straight games (14 total) and leads the squad with 48 assists to go with 4.0 ppg and 21 steals, which is third on the club. The junior had eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, four rebounds and three steals against USC. She tied a season high with six assists at Arizona State and has produced at least four assists in seven contests this season. The junior also had six assists in the season opener against McNeese State. Williams has a pair of contests with at least 10 points, posting 13 at Loyola Marymount and 11 versus San Diego State. Williams was 6-of-10 from the floor against the Lions and went 7-of-8 from the charity stripe versus the Aztecs. Williams has a steal in seven of her last eight games (12 total), recording a season-best three against LMU and California.
Corinne Costa has played 20-plus minutes in seven straight games, including a career-high 31 at Arizona State in just her second career start. She had six points, going 3-of-4 from the field, adding four rebounds, a block and a steal. Two days prior, the sophomore tied a career high with eight points (4-of-10 fg) and set a season best with seven rebounds (four offensive) at Arizona in 26 minutes. Last Saturday, Costa tallied six points (3-of-7 fg), five boards and two steals against USC. The team leader in blocks with 25 is averaging 3.1 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Costa set a UCLA single-game record with seven blocks against California, which broke Natalie Williams' record of six set on March 6, 1992 against Arizona. She has at least one block in 14 of 16 games and at least one in seven straight (15 total). On the glass, Costa is averaging 4.7 rpg over the last seven contests, including five against Cal and six at Saint Joseph's. She tied a career high with eight points versus the Hawks, all in the first half. It was the sophomore's first career start, as she made 4-of-6 from the field.
Kacy Swain is averaging 2.5 ppg and 1.6 rpg in 14 contests. In her third start of the year, the freshman recorded two rebounds in 16 minutes against USC. She had four points and three rebounds in 14 minutes at Arizona. During the opening weekend of Pac-12 play, she had two blocks against California in six minutes and two points and a board in 14 minutes of action versus Stanford. The freshman's season best in points came against Tennessee Tech when she had nine on 4-of-9 shooting. Swain pulled down a season-high four rebounds against West Virginia on Nov. 25.
Atonye Nyingifa, who had 14.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, a 45.7 shooting percentage, 11 blocks and 18 steals in nine games, tore her right ACL against Tennessee and will miss the remainder of the season. The redshirt junior had seven double-figure scoring contests and five double-doubles. Nyingifa poured in a career-best 28 and tied a personal high with 14 rebounds against Loyola Marymount.
Moriah Faulk, tore her left ACL against Arizona State and will miss the rest of the year. The freshman came off the bench in 15 contests, averaging 5.7 ppg and 15 three-pointers. She had multiple treys in five games, including a perfect 3-for-3 at Loyola Marymount when she had a season-best 11 points, six rebounds and four steals in just 14 minutes. Faulk also had double-figure games with 10 against both McNeese State and Baylor.
Two Bruins, junior Jackie Shepard (foot/shoulder) and freshman Alexis Perry (shoulder), have yet to see action this season as they recover from off-season surgeries, but have resumed practicing. Freshman walk-on Madeline Brooks made her collegiate debut against Colgate, playing four minutes and recording one offensive rebound. She had two points in six minutes at Loyola Marymount and played the final minute of the Dec. 31 game against Stanford.
POINTS OF INTEREST
UCLA set a single-game school record with 13 blocks against California on Dec. 29, which broke the previous mark of 12 on Dec. 4, 1980 against Texas A&M ... the Bruins are making 79.5% of their free throws during Pac-12 play, which ranks second in the conference. UCLA is also first in three-point field goal percentage defense (.211) in league games and second in blocked shots per game (4.8) ... individually, Thea Lemberger is fourth in conference games in ppg at 15.6, while Rebekah Gardner is seventh with 14.6 ppg. Markel Walker is fourth with 10.8 rpg and third with 4.2 offensive rpg. Lemberger is also fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.474) and Corinne Costa is tied for second with 2.4 blocks per game ... UCLA is 6-1 when leading at the half, with the only loss coming at Arizona ... the Bruins are 7-2 when outshooting their opponent, but 0-7 when losing that battle.
BRUINS IN THE PAC-12
Rankings through Jan. 15 (Markel Walker will become eligible once she has played in 75 percent of UCLA's games)
Rebekah Gardner: Minutes Played (4th, 33.8); Scoring (T-5th, 15.0); Free Throw Pct (T-8th, .714); Offensive Rebounds (T-11th, 2.4); Steals (T-13th, 1.6); Rebounding (T-19th, 6.0)
Thea Lemberger: Free Throw Pct (T-8th, .714); 3-Point FG Pct (11th, .356); 3-Point FG Made (T-13th, 1.3); Scoring (15th, 12.0)
Mariah Williams: Assist/Turnover Ratio (12th, 1.0); Assists (T-13th, 3.0)
Corinne Costa: Blocks (7th, 1.6)
Team: 3-Point FG Pct Defense (2nd, .269); Free Throw Pct (5th, .681); Turnover Margin (6th, +0.8); Offensive Rebounds (6th, 13.9)
ABOUT OREGON STATE
Since a Pac-12 opening win against Washington on Dec. 29, Oregon State has dropped four of five, including a tough 58-56 setback at home to Arizona last Saturday. The Beavers did open their weekend with a 56-51 win against Arizona State last Thursday. Oregon State went 9-2 during non-conference play. The Beavers have gone with the same starting lineup for all 17 games and are led by senior Earlysia Marchbanks, who is averaging a team-best 12.2 ppg and 6.9 rpg to go with a club-high 66 assists. Freshman Ali Gibson is second on the squad with 12.1 ppg and first with 27 three-pointers, 51 assists and 41 steals. Junior Patricia Bright, who is third with 9.5 ppg, is also first with 64 blocks and second with 5.2 rpg. Scott Rueck is in his second season at Oregon State and has a record of 20-27. The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Beavers 41-18 and have won six straight. Last season, UCLA posted a 58-46 win at home (Jan. 13) and a 58-48 victory in Corvallis (Feb. 12). Markel Walker had 18 points and eight rebounds in the road win. Of the last 17 matchups, UCLA has won 15, with Oregon State's last win being a 61-58 triumph in Corvallis on March 7, 2009. The Beavers' most recent road win against UCLA was a 56-52 triumph on Jan. 5, 2007. The Bruins are 22-6 at home against OSU and 4-0 in the Wooden Center.