Jan. 28, 2012
BRING ON THE BUFFALOES
The Bruins (9-10, 4-4 Pac-12) complete their Rocky Mountain road trip on Sunday against Colorado (15-4, 4-4) at 1 p.m. PT. Free audio and live stats will be available at UCLABruins.com. The game will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net.
UCLA is coming off a thrilling 65-60, comeback victory over Utah on Thursday. Trailing by nine (52-43) with 6:54 to play, the Bruins went on a 22-8 run to end the game thanks to some clutch shooting and excellent pressure defense. UCLA shot 57.7 (15-26) percent in the second half and forced Utah into seven turnovers in the final seven minutes, scoring on six of the ensuing possessions.
Junior Mariah Williams led the Bruins with career highs in points (21) and three-pointers (three). Junior Markel Walker added 14 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the year, senior Rebekah Gardner had 15 points and tied a career high with five steals and sophomore Thea Lemberger posted 13 points and equaled a personal best with six assists.
2012 PACIFIC LIFE PAC-12 BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
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Rebekah Gardner recorded her seventh straight game with double figures in points with 15 at Utah on Thursday. The team leader in steals also tied a career high with five thefts and added seven rebounds. Gardner leads the Bruins with 15.6 points per game and 38 steals (12 in her last three contests), is second with 17 three-pointers and third with 6.6 rebounds per game. The Bruins' lone senior and only player to start all 19 games has led the team in scoring nine times and has three double-doubles after going for 22 points (sixth 20-point game of the year) and a career-high 15 rebounds (nine offensive) against Oregon on Jan. 21. She also had a personal-best six assists to go with three steals. On Jan. 19 versus Oregon State, Gardner notched 19 points (8-of-13 shooting), eight rebounds and four steals. She had 20 against USC (Jan. 14), 16 points and eight rebounds at Arizona State (Jan. 7), 12 points and eight boards at Arizona (Jan. 5) and 17 points with six rebounds versus Stanford (Dec. 31). Gardner has produced at least eight points in all 19 games, at least one steal in 17 of 19 contests (2+ on 12 occasions) and is first on the squad with 15 double-figure scoring games (36 career). 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 13 games, including eight of the last nine (7.4 rpg).
Markel Walker has produced double figures in rebounds in six straight contests after grabbing 10 to go with 14 points and four steals at Utah for her fourth double-double of the year and 11th of her career. Walker, who grabbed 12 rebounds with three points against Oregon, had a career-best 18 rebounds against Oregon State and was one assist shy of a triple-double, adding a personal-high nine assists with 16 points. During her double-figure rebounding streak, Walker had 14 with four points and five assists against USC, 13 with 15 points, five assists and four steals at Arizona State and 12 with 12 points versus Arizona. Of her 125 rebounds, 55 have come on the offensive end, as she is first on the team with 10.4 rpg (at least six in every game), fourth with 11.8 ppg, third with 46 assists and second with 27 steals, adding a 73.3 free throw percentage. Walker has scored in double figures in 10 of 12 contests and has a steal in every game (2+ on nine occasions), producing season highs in both against California (Dec. 29) with 18 points and four steals. She has at least four assists in four of her last five and on seven occasions this year.
Thea Lemberger is another of a Bruin quartet that is averaging double figures in points, coming in at 12.2 ppg, which is third on the club. She is also first on the team with 28 three-pointers and second with 55 assists and 13 double-figure scoring games. Lemberger had 13 points and two three-pointers, tying a career high with six assists at Utah. On the last homestand, she had 18 points and made a career-best four three-pointers against Oregon after recording nine points versus Oregon State. The sophomore is averaging 14.8 ppg during Pac-12 play, producing five double-figure games, including two with over 20. She had 22 at Arizona State, making 9-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Lemberger went for a career-high 26 against California (7-of-11 fg, 3-of-6 3pt, 9-of-10 ft) and also added a 17-point effort with five assists at Arizona. Lemberger had a career-best six assists against Tennessee and has at least four helpers in eight contests. Beyond the arc, she has at least one trey in 15 of her 19 contests, including three at Temple (Dec. 20).
Mariah Williams produced a career-high 21 points and three three-pointers at Utah and will enjoy a homecoming on Sunday. The Colorado Springs native got off to a great start on the Rocky Mountain trip, going 8-of-14 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in a career-high 37 minutes. Williams has started 15 straight games (17 total) and leads the squad with 57 assists to go with 4.8 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 eight contests this season. The junior also had six assists in the season opener against McNeese State. Williams has two other 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 11 games (12 total), recording a season-best three against LMU and California.
Corinne Costa has played 20-plus minutes in 10 straight games and is averaging 6.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.7 blocks per game and a 48.9 field goal percentage over her last six contests. Costa set a career high with 10 points (5-of-9 fg) against Oregon to go with four rebounds and four blocks. She had two points, four boards and a block at Utah. The sophomore has at least six points and four boards in five of her last six contests, putting up eight points (4-of-6) and six rebounds versus Oregon State, six points (3-7) and five rebounds against USC, six points (3-4) and four boards in a career-high 31 minutes at Arizona State and eight points (4-10) and a season-best seven rebounds (four offensive) at Arizona. The team leader in blocks with 31 is averaging 3.6 ppg and 3.9 rpg on the year. 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 17 of 19 games (2+ six times) and at least one in 10 straight (21 total). Costa also has one steal in five in a row.
Rhema Gardner had her second-highest scoring output of the season against Oregon State, posting nine points on 4-of-6 shooting to go with four assists and a career-high three steals. Gardner, who had two rebounds in 20 minutes at Utah, is averaging 4.2 ppg and 3.7 rpg this season, adding 12 blocks, which is second on the squad. The sophomore has at least five rebounds in five games, recording eight at Arizona State. Her career best in rebounds came against Colgate when she had 10. 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, including nine against San Diego State. Defensively, she has a block in nine games, including three against California and two versus USC.
Kacy Swain is averaging 2.6 ppg and 1.8 rpg in 16 contests. The freshman, who did not play at Utah because of a violation of team rules, recorded four points, four rebounds (tied season high) and one block against Oregon State and two points and two boards versus Oregon. 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.
Freshman walk-on Madeline Brooks played a career-high 16 minutes against Oregon, knocking down a three-pointer and grabbing a rebound. Brooks played 10 minutes at Utah and did not attempt a shot, pulling down one offensive board before leaving with a left ankle injury. She 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.
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.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Along with Mariah Williams, it will be a homecoming for assistant coach Jenny Huth. A standout player for Colorado from 1998-2002, the former Jenny Roulier was a three-time All-Big 12 selection and helped guide the Buffaloes to the Elite Eight in her senior season. She finished her career among the all-time top 10 at CU in scoring with 1,399 points, three-point shots with 203 and three-point shooting percentage at .407 ... 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 73.4% of their free throws during Pac-12 play, which ranks second in the conference. UCLA is also third in three-point field goal percentage defense (.264) and fourth in blocked shots (4.3) and steals per game (8.1) in league contests ... individually, Rebekah Gardner is fourth in conference games in ppg at 16.1, Thea Lemberger is sixth (14.8) and Markel Walker is tied for 16th (11.6). Walker is first with 11.8 rpg in Pac-12 contests, solo first in offensive rpg (4.9), tied for third in spg (2.4) and fifth in apg (4.1), while Corinne Costa is third with 2.3 bpg ... UCLA is 8-1 when leading at the half, with the only loss coming at Arizona ... against Utah, the Bruins won their first game this season when getting out-shot by their opponent (1-8) and when trailing with five minutes to play (1-8).
BRUINS IN THE PAC-12
Rankings through Jan. 26 (Markel Walker will become eligible once she has played in 75 percent of UCLA's games)
Rebekah Gardner: Scoring (4th, 15.6); Minutes Played (5th, 34.0); Steals (T-7th, 2.0); Free Throw Percentage (8th, .726); Offensive Rebounds (10th, 2.7); Rebounding (16th, 6.6)
Thea Lemberger: Minutes Played (9th, 33.4); 3-Point FG Pct (10th, .354); 3-Point FG Made (10th, 1.5); Free Throw Percentage (12th, .679); Scoring (14th, 12.2)
Mariah Williams: Assists (T-12th, 3.0); Assist/Turnover Ratio (14th, 1.1)
Corinne Costa: Blocked Shots (6th, 1.6)
Team: 3-Point FG Pct Defense (3rd, .281); Offensive Rebounds (4th, 14.6); Turnover Margin (5th, +1.4); Free Throw Percentage (6th, .673); Steals (6th, 8.4)
Colorado improved to 15-4 overall and 4-4 in league play with a 69-67 victory over USC on Thursday. The Buffaloes have won each of their last two games by two points, beating Arizona 56-54 last Sunday.
Junior Chucky Jeffery is the lone player averaging double figures in points, coming in at 15.5 ppg. She is also first on the team with 7.6 rpg, 43 steals, 22 blocks and 80 assists. Sophomore Brittany Wilson is second with 9.7 ppg, 24 steals and 26 three-pointers, while freshman Lexy Kresl is third with 9.2 ppg and first with 31 treys. Linda Lappe is in her second season as the Colorado head coach and has a record of 33-20 in Boulder and 83-56 in four-plus years of coaching.
The Bruins and the Buffaloes have split their four previous matchups. Colorado has won the last two (79-48, 12/8/01 at UCLA and 88-63, 12/2/00 at CU). UCLA claimed the first two matchups (77-70, 12/22/84 at CU and 91-66, 12/22/83 at UCLA).