Feb. 17, 2009
GAME #24 DATE: Friday, Feb. 20, 2009
SITE: Bank of America Arena
TIP-OFF: 7:00 p.m.
TALENT: Dave Marcus
GAME #25 DATE: Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009
OPPONENT: Washington State
SITE: Friel Court
TIP-OFF: 1:00 p.m.
TALENT: Dave Marcus
UCLA Travels To Washington
The Bruins (15-8, 6-6 in the Pac-10) hit the road this week to play at the Washington schools. UCLA meets the University of Washington (5-18, 1-12) on Friday night at 7 p.m. in Seattle and will play at Washington State (10-14, 3-10) on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Pullman.
Washington, which lost both games on its trip to Oregon last week, is led by junior guard Sami Whitcomb, who ranks ninth in the Pac-10 with a 13.6 ppg average. WSU split its games in the state of Oregon last week. The Cougars bested Oregon (58-45) on Thursday and lost at Oregon State (52-42) on Saturday. Washington State is led by freshman guard Jazmine Perkins, who owns the sixth-best scoring mark in the Pac-10 at 14.1 points per game.
The Series With Washington
Washington leads the series by a 26-21 count, but the Bruins have won the last four matchups between the two teams, including a 74-66 victory on Jan. 24 in Pauley. In that earlier contest, Doreena Campbell led five UCLA players in double digits with 20 points. Darxia Morris (12), Tierra Henderson (12), Christina Nzekwe (10) and Atonye Nyingifa (10) also tallied double figures. Morris scored 10 straight points for UCLA about midway through the second half to help the Bruins gain control of the game. Her last basket in the stretch gave UCLA a 61-59 lead it would not surrender.
The Series With WSU
UCLA leads the series with Washington State by a 40-6 margin. The Bruins have won the last 17 meetings, including an 83-48 decision on Jan. 22 in Pauley. Doreena Campbell led UCLA, which shot 56% from the field for the game, with 15 points in that first matchup. Nina Earl (12) and Erica Tukiainen (11) were also in double digits. The Bruins used several scoring runs during the contest to pull away from the Cougars. In holding WSU to 48 points, UCLA limited its second-straight opponent (Arizona had scored 38 in previous game) to under 50 points for the first time since the 1988-89 season and first time ever in Pac-10 play. WSU's last win in the series came in Pullman on Jan. 6, 2001.
Bruin sophomore and Seattle native Christina Nzekwe will return home on Friday. Nzekwe attended Chief Sealth HS in Seattle, where she helped her team to win two State championships. Nzkewe has started 17 of the last 18 games for the Bruins this season. She had 10 points and 10 rebounds in first meeting of the season with the Huskies.
Pink Zone Jersey Auction
UCLA is auctioning off its special white, pink and blue jerseys from Saturday's Pink Zone game against ASU. Proceeds from the online auction will benefit the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center and the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women's Health Education & Resource Center.
All 12 player jerseys are being auctioned at UCLABruins.com, along with a commemorative UCLA 09 Nikki Caldwell jersey. Also being auctioned off is a pink and blue UCLA basketball signed by the women's basketball team and a pink and blue UCLA basketball signed by the men's basketball team. The auction ends on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 4 pm PT.
UCLA Amongst Nation's Best
In the latest NCAA rankings (Feb. 15), the Bruins are seventh in rebound margin (+9.8), 28th in steals (10.9 average), 57th in scoring average (68.9), 67th in three-point field goal % (.294), 71st in scoring margin (7.3), and 75th in field goal % (.420).
Bruins Bang Boards
UCLA has been exceptional on the rebounding front all season and ranks second in the Pac-10 in caroms per game with a 42.5 average. UCLA also rates second in the Pac-10 and seventh in the nation in rebound margin with a +9.8 mark. The Bruins rank first in the conference in offensive rebounds with 17.7 per contest.
The Bruins won the battle on the boards in the first nine games of the season and versus 19 of the 23 opponents overall. UCLA has recorded 50+ rebounds in seven of the 23 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 23 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 ranks seventh in the conference in rebounding with an average of 7.0.
The 64-Point Question
The home game against Arizona State marked the ninth time this season an opponent has scored more than 64 points against the Bruins. Seven of UCLA's eight losses, including five on the road have come when the opponent has scored more than 64 points. UCLA has gone 2-7 in those games --- defeated Washington (74-66) and USC (87-75); and lost to Arizona State (69-66), at USC (87-76), at Stanford (68-51), at Arizona State (68-44), to Oregon (73-56), at Maryland (88-65), and at Texas Tech (72-62). The eighth loss this season came at Cal, when the Golden Bears outscored the Bruins 64-48.
This year's squad became just the third UCLA team to have won at least 14 games by Feb. 1 on the calendar --- the 1998-99 team won 17; the 1980-81 team won 19. 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 1998-99.
In beating Arizona (1/17) and Washington State (1/22) earlier this season, UCLA put together back-to-back contests in which it limited the opponent to under 50 points for the first time ever in Pac-10 play. The last time UCLA held consecutive opponents to less than 50 points was Dec. 2 and Dec 3, 1988 in games against LMU (61-46) and Northern Arizona (80-46).
On Jan. 17, the Bruins surrendered a season-low 38 points at Arizona. It was the fewest points allowed by a UCLA team since the Bruins defeated Northern Arizona 77-37 on Nov. 28, 1987.
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.
Home Sweet Home
The Bruins own a 12-2 record in Pauley Pavilion this year. It is the most wins a UCLA team has posted in Pauley Pavilion since the 1998-99 team went 13-3.
UCLA has won more than 12 home games in Pauley just three other seasons (13 in 1998-99; 12 in 1984-85; 16 in 1980-81; 13 in 1977-78). (note: from 1986 to 1997 UCLA did play some home games in the Wooden Center on campus but never won more than 11 home games).
Shot of A Lifetime - $240,000
At every home game, one lucky fan will have an opportunity to win an escalating prize of at least $100,000 in the halftime contest "Shot of a Lifetime". Fans can sign up to participate prior to tip-off inside Gate 16 of Pauley Pavilion, and one contestant will be chosen at random. That lucky fan will have 25 seconds to make (in order) a shot from behind the left elbow, a shot from behind the right elbow, a three-pointer from the top of the key, and a half-court shot. The grand prize for making these four shots in the time limit is at least $100,000. For every game that does not have a winner, the prize value will increase by $10,000. If no one has won the grand prize by the final home game of the season, that game's participant will be shooting for a quarter of a million dollars. The prize will be $240,000 for the Stanford game on Feb. 27.
Sharing the Scoring Load
In 23 games, the Bruins have had seven different scoring leaders. Sharing the honors of high scorer have been Moniquee Alexander (12 v. Fullerton), Doreena Campbell (20 at USC, 11 at Stanford, 13 at Cal, 20 v. Washington, 15 v. WSU, 17 at Arizona, 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 (17 v. Arizona State, 21 v. Arizona, 16 v. Texas Tech, 16 v. CSUN). The Bruins have had four games in which all active players have scored.
Game 23: ASU Recap
UCLA's second-half rally came up just short in a 69-66 loss to Arizona State. The Bruins, who trailed by as many as 12 in the first half, took their first lead of the game at 54-53 with 5:44 to play. Neither team led by more than four the balance of the game. UCLA had a chance to tie the game at 67-all with 4.6 seconds remaining when Doreena Campbell was fouled on an inbounds play under the Bruin basket. Campbell made the first free throw of the one-and-one opportunity but missed the second shot. Arizona State rebounded the miss and hit two free throws with one second remaining for the three-point win.
Game 22: Arizona Recap
UCLA held Arizona to an opponent season-low 22% shooting in a 58-39 win. Erica Tukiainen scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Bruins. UCLA led 30-24 at the half and outscored Arizona 9-2 to start the second half and help break the game open.
Making The Grade
Four members of the Bruin squad made the UCLA Athletic Director's honor roll (3.0 of better with at least 12 graded units) during the Fall 2008 quarter. Junior Allison Taka continues her streak of making the Director's Honor Roll in every quarter of her academic career. Junior Erica Tukiainen has received her sixth honor roll distinction, and junior Moniquee Alexander earned her first, Freshman Rebekah Gardner earned honors in her first quarter.
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 CIF 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. She is one of 20 high school seniors who have been selected to play in the WBCA All-America game on April 4, 2009 in St. Louis.
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. Williams was an honorable mention selection for the WBCA All-America Game.
The Bruins will be on the road for four of the last six regular season games (at Washingtons and Oregons, home vs. Stanford/Cal) before beginning Pac-10 Tournament play at the Galen Center.