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Women's Hoops Completes Desert Trip in Tucson
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  01/16/2009

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Jan. 16, 2009

UCLA (11-4, 2-2) will complete the trip to the Desert with a game on Saturday afternoon against Arizona (7-9, 0-5) at 2 p.m. MT/1 p.m. PT. Arizona lost to USC, 77-71, in overtime on Thursday.

Arizona State broke open a close game with a 20-4 run toward the end of the first half and turned it into a 68-44 win over the Bruins on Thursday morning in Tempe. Doreena Campbell was the lone Bruin in double figure points with 13. The 44 points scored by UCLA was a season low and the fewest scored since a 36-point output in a contest last season against USC.

UCLA leads the series with Arizona by a 41-19 count. The Bruins have captured five of the last six meetings, including the last three played in Tucson. UCLA bested the Wildcats 80-70 in the most recent meeting, played on March 1, 2008 in Pauley. Lindsey Pluimer led UCLA with 18 points. Nina Earl came off the bench for 17 points. The Bruins earned a 68-59 win in Tucson on Dec. 30, 2007. Earl recorded her first career double-double with 23 points and 10 boards.Earl averaged 20 points on 61% shooting from the field against the Wildcats a year ago.

Saturday's game between UCLA and Arizona will mark just the second between sisters Chinyere Ibekwe and Ify Ibekwe, who happen to be two of the top three rebounders in the Pac-10 Conference. Chinyere, a senior at UCLA, began the week ranked third in the Pac-10 with a rebounding average of 8.6. She is also averaging 8.1 points per game. Ify, a sophomore at Arizona, started the week as the conference rebounding leader and was ranked sixth in the nation with a 12.5 average. She also ranked second in the Pac-10 in scoring with a 15.7 points per game average.

Chinyere owns team bragging rights in this sibling rivalry, as the Bruins won the only game the two sisters played against each other, last season in Pauley Pavilion. Ify had 16 points and 10 rebounds in a starting role, while Chinyere came off the bench and scored five points with four rebounds. UCLA also won in Tucson last year, but Ify did not play due to an eye injury.

The coaching battle between UCLA and Arizona on Saturday will feature four Tennesse alumni in UCLA head coach Nikki Caldwell (1994 graduate), UCLA assistant coaches Tony Perotti (1999 graduate) and Tasha Butts (2004 graduate) and Arizona head coach Niya Butts (2000 graduate).

UCLA Off To Great Start
The Bruins won as many as nine pre-season non-conference games for the first time since 1986-87, the first year for Pac-10 Conference women's basketball. The best previous total during that stretch was eight wins in the Elite Eight season of 1998-99.

Bruins Bang Boards
UCLA has been exceptional on the rebounding front, beginning the week with an average of 45.8 rebounds per game to lead the Pac-10 Conference (Jan. 12 rankings). UCLA also started the week leading the Pac-10 and was second in the nation in rebound margin with a +13.6 mark. The Bruins ranked first in the conference in offensive rebounds with 19.2 per contest.

The Bruins won the battle on the boards in the first nine games and versus 14 of their first 15 opponents. UCLA has recorded 50+ rebounds in seven of the 14 games, including a season-best 55 against USC on Jan. 11.

Senior Chinyere Ibekwe has led UCLA in rebounding in nine of the team's 15 games, posting five double-digit totals (14 vs. CSUF, a career-high 15 vs. CSUN, 12 vs. Nevada, 12 at Rice, 10 v. USC). She began the week ranked third in the conference in rebounding (her sister Ify Ibekwe from Arizona was the Pac-10 leader) with an average of 8.6.

UCLA's 50+ Rebound Games
Total (Off-Def) - Opponent
54 (25-29) - vs. CSUF (11/16/08)
50 (18-32) - vs. Pepperdine (11/18/08)
54 (26-28) - vs. CSUN (11/30/08)
54 (29-25) - vs. CSUB (12/3/08)
54 (21-33) - vs. Nevada (12/7/08)
53 (21-32) - at Rice (12/17/08)
55 (23-32) - vs. USC (1/11/09)

Defense Delivers
UCLA has held its opponents to an average of 62.5 points per game this season. ASU became just the fifth team to score more than 64 points against the Bruins this season, and UCLA has gone 1-4 in those games --- USC was the first win (87-75), and the Bruins have lost at Arizona State (68-44), to Oregon (73-56), at Maryland (88-65), and at Texas Tech (72-62).

When Rice scored 64 points in a meeting earlier this season in Houston, it snapped a streak of five straight opponents being held under the 60-point mark. The last time UCLA held more than five straight opponents to less than 60 points in a game was in the 1976-77 season, when the Bruins held five and six straight opponents to under 60 points in two different streaks.

Sharing the Scoring Load
In 15 games, the Bruins have had seven different scoring leaders. Sharing the honors of high scorer have been Moniquee Alexander (12 v. Fullerton), Doreena Campbell (13 at Arizona State, 20 v. USC, 12 v. Oregon, 16 at Rice, 18 v. San Diego, 25 at Maryland), Nina Earl (15 v. Oregon State, 12 v. Kansas, tied with Nzekwe; 12 at Cal Poly), Chinyere Ibekwe (15 v. Pepperdine), Darxia Morris (10 v. Nevada), Christina Nzekwe (12 v. Kansas, tied with Earl; 13 v. CSUB, tied with Campbell), Erica Tukiainen (16 v. Texas Tech, 16 v. CSUN). The Bruins have had four games in which all active players have scored.

Bruins Leaving The Friendly Confines
UCLA will have played away from home just five times before taking on the Wildcats on Saturday, going 2-3 with wins at Cal Poly and Rice and losses at Arizona State, Maryland and Texas Tech.

The Bruins are 9-1 in Pauley Pavilion this season. UCLA has won more than nine home games in Pauley three times (10 in 2005-06; 11 in 2003-04; 10 in 1999-00) since 1998-99 when it went 13-3. It has compiled a double-figure win total for a season in Pauley six times since the 1984-85 campaign when it won 12 games. (note: from 1986 to 1997 UCLA did play some home games in the Wooden Center and had double digit "home" win totals in five of those seasons).

Pac-10, Top-10 Ranked Bruins
In games through Jan. 11, Chinyere Ibekwe ranked third in the Pac-10 conference in rebounding with an 8.6 mark and third in offensive rebounds with a 3.7 average. She was fifth in defensive rebounding (4.9), ninth in blocked shots (0.9) and ninth in field goal percentage (.495).

Doreena Campbell was 11th in scoring (12.1), fifth in assists (3.9), fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.4) and third in FT shooting percentage (.875).

Christina Nzekwe was sixth in steals (1.7), seventh in offensive rebounding (2.7), 12th in field goal percentage (.469) and T-16th in rebounding (5.5).

Darxia Morris was seventh in assists (3.5) and 11th in assist/turnover ratio (1.0).

Nina Earl was fifth in steals (1.7) and 15th in fg percentage (.454).

As a team, the Bruins began the week first in rebounding (45.8), first in rebound margin (+13.6), first in offensive rebounds (19.2), first in steals (11.5), third in scoring (74.1), third in defensive rebounds (26.6), third in three-point fg percentage (.336), fourth in rebounding defense (32.2), fourth in turnover margin (+2.8), fourth in blocked shots (3.4), fifth in scoring margin (+12.0), fifth in field goal percentage (.421).

Game 15: ASU Recap
Arizona State held the Bruins to a season-low 44 pionts and captured a 68-44 decision in UCLA's first conference road game of the season. ASU jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game. The Bruins cut the gap to 13-10, but could not get the lead and trailed 33-18 at the half. Doreena Campbell led the Bruins in scoring (13) and rebounding (6).

Campbell Honored As Pac-10 Player Of The Week
Sophomore guard Doreena Campbell picked up her first career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor after leading UCLA to an 87-75 win over USC on Jan. 11. Campbell led the Bruins in scoring with 20 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds in the win. She also had four assists and one steal. Campbell was also named the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week, for the second time this season.

Dixon Transfers To UCLA
Former McDonald's All-American Jasmine Dixon has transferred from Rutgers to UCLA and will be eligible to compete for the Bruins after the completion of the 2009 Fall Quarter.

Dixon, a 5-11 guard from Long Beach, CA (Long Beach Poly HS), played in five games for Rutgers this season and averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds. She had been one of the nation's most highly-honored high school players in her senior season of 2008. She was named first-team prep All-American by Parade Magazine, USA Today, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, EA Sports and ESPN HoopGurlz. In addition, Dixon was tabbed as the 2008 Gatorade California Player of the Year and the LA Times Girls' Basketball Player of the Year. She was listed as the sixth-best player in the nation by All-Star Girls Report and was rated the seventh-best guard and the 26th-best player overall in the class of 2008 by HoopGurlz.com. She went on to play in the 2008 McDonald's All-American game.

Dixon helped lead Long Beach Poly HS to three straight California Division I State titles. She averaged 14.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.2 assists per game in her senior season. The new Bruin was named the Southern Section Division I-AA Player of the Year by the Southern California Interscholastic Coaches Association and was twice named the California Federation Division I Player of the Year.

Bruins Sign Two For '09-10
Head coach Nikki Caldwell and staff signed two high school standouts, 6-1 forward/guard Markel Walker and 5-4 point guard Mariah Williams, to letters-of-intent during the early period in November. The class is rated as the nation's 14th-best according to ESPN HoopGurlz.

Walker, rated as the No. 4 high school player in the country on the ESPNU HoopGurlz list for the nation's top 100, averaged 16.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game last season for Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA. She was the 2007-08 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania.

Williams, an All-State selection as a junior, attends Aurora, CO Regis Jesuit High School. She averaged 11.5 points, 4.2 assists and 3.3 steals per game last season while shooting 60% from the field and 43% from three-point range.


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