Feb. 21, 2012
7 p.m. - Arizona State (18-8, 9-6 Pac-12) at UCLA (12-13, 7-7 Pac-12)
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video | Audio
Radio: AM 1150
BRUINS HOST ARIZONA SCHOOLS
The Bruins (12-13, 7-7 Pac-12) return to the John Wooden Center for the final two home contests of the regular season against Arizona State (18-8, 9-6) on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Arizona (14-13, 3-12) on Saturday at 2 p.m. Saturday will be the annual Play 4Kay game, with all fans receiving a pink t-shirt. In addition, lone senior Rebekah Gardner will be honored before the game. Gametracker, free audio and free video will be available at UCLABruins.com. Also, Thursday's contest will be broadcast live on AM 1150 Radio.
UCLA will look to snap a three-game losing streak when it hosts Arizona State. It is a crucial battle for both teams as they look to secure a top-four conference finish which would provide a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament that begins on March 7 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
Rebekah Gardner, UCLA's newest 1,000-point club member, scored in double digits for the 13th straight game when she netted 18 at USC in a 66-54 loss. Markel Walker joined Gardner in double digits with 16 points and her 13 rebounds earned her a ninth double-double on the season.
PLAY 4KAY GAME
Saturday's game against Arizona is UCLA's annual Play 4Kay game. The Play 4Kay initiative honors former women's basketball coach Kay Yow. All fans in attendance will receive a free pink UCLA t-shirt. In addition, select pink memorabilia will be auctioned online at uclabruins.com, including pink shoes autographed by Coach Cori Close. UCLA has created an online team to raise funds for the Kay Yow Fund. Fans can donate to the cause directly at play4kay.org/ucla
Senior #35 Rebekah Gardner recorded her 13th straight game with double figures in points, pouring in 18 at USC. She became the 26th member of the women's basketball 1,000-point club on a second-half basket at Stanford (Feb. 12).
Gardner leads the Bruins with a 16.0 points per game average and 50 steals, is second with 22 three-pointers and third with a 6.5 rebound per game mark. The Bruins' lone senior, and only player to start all 25 games, has led the team in scoring 12 times and has three double-doubles. Her 84 three-point shots rank tied for ninth on the all-time UCLA list.
Gardner's 13-game double-digit scoring steak: 18 at USC, 15 at Stanford, 16 at Cal, 21 v. Wash. State, 17 v. Washington, 17 at Colorado, 15 at Utah, 22 points (career-high 15 reb.) v. Oregon,19 v. Oregon State, 20 v. USC, 16 at Arizona State, 12 at Arizona, 17 v. Stanford.
Gardner has produced at least eight points in all 25 games, at least two steals on 16 occasions and is first on the squad with 21 double-figure scoring games (42 career). She netted a career-high 24 against Tennessee on 9-of-18 shooting and 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. She has at least five boards in 15 games, including 10 of the last 13.
#23 Markel Walker produced her ninth double-double of the season (16th of career) with 16 points and 13 rebounds at USC. She has climbed into 18th place on the all-time UCLA rebound list (see chart on page three of release).
The junior earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors (second of her career) following her home court performances against the Washington schools which included UCLA's first triple-double since Noelle Quinn had a triple in the 2004 season. Walker has achieved double figure rebound totals in 11 of the last 12 games (not at Cal - five). In her triple against WSU, she ripped down15 boards to go with 14 points and 10 assists. She had a career-high matching 24 points at Colorado. Walker grabbed a career-best 18 rebounds against Oregon State and was one assist shy of a triple-double in that game, adding nine assists, 16 points.
Of her 192 rebounds, 80 have come on the offensive end, as she is first on the team with 10.7 rpg (at least five in every game), third with 13.6 ppg, second with 71 assists and second with 43 steals. Walker has scored in double figures in 16 of 18 contests and has a steal in every game (2+ on 14 occasions), producing a season high at home against Cal with four thefts. She has at least four assists on nine occasions this year.
#1 Thea Lemberger is another of a Bruin quartet that is averaging double figures in points, coming in at 12.2 ppg, which is fourth on the club after hitting double digits in seven of the last eight games (not at USC - eight points, and in18 games overall). She is first on the team with 36 three-pointers and 74 assists. Lemberger started her seven game double digits scoring streak against Oregon with 18 points, including a career-best four three-pointers. She followed up with 13 points-each at Utah (career-high tying six assists) and at Colorado. The sophomore scored 15, all after halftime, in the overtime victory over Washington and 14 versus Washington State. She added 10 at Cal and scored 13 at Stanford; handed out four assists versus one turnover.
Lemberger is averaging 13.6 ppg during Pac-12 play, while producing 10 double-figure games, including two with over 20. She had 22 at Arizona State and went for a career-high 26 at home against Cal (7-11 fg, 3-6 3pt, 9-10 ft). Lemberger had six assists against Tennessee and has at least four helpers in 11 contests. Beyond the arc, she has at least one trey in 18 of her 24 contests.
#5 Mariah Williams is third on the team with 68 assists. She had four points at USC. Williams handed out four assists versus Washington State. She registered 11 points against Washington on a perfect shooting night (4-4 fg, 3-3 ft, 3-3 3pt.). Her back-to-back baskets in the overtime period lifted the Bruins to a six-point lead with 1:43 to play. At Utah, she produced a career-high 21 points, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in a career-high 37 minutes.
Williams has started 21 straight games (23 total) and has a 4.8 ppg average. Her total of 26 steals rates fourth on the club. The junior had eight points, four rebounds and three steals at home against USC. She tied a season high with six assists at Arizona State and has produced at least four assists in nine contests this season. Williams has two other contests with at least 10 points, posting 13 at LMU and 11 versus San Diego State.
#34 Corinne Costa fouled out with four points at USC in 14 minutes of action. She had played 20-plus minutes in 13 straight games until foul trouble helped to halt the streak at Cal on Feb. 9 (17 min.). She is averaging 6.5 ppg (71), 4.4 rpg (48), 2.1 blocks (23) per game over her last 11 contests. Her 45 blocked shots this year rank second on the Bruins all-time season list and are the most by a UCLA player since the 1980-81 season (Necie Thompson-53).
Costa had eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes of action against WSU. She scored a career-best 13 versus Washington and matched her own school record total of seven blocks. The sophomore pulled down a career-best 10 rebounds at Colorado. She added 10 points, four blocks against Oregon. Costa put up eight points, seven rebounds at Arizona. She is averaging 4.3 ppg and 4.0 rpg on the year.
Costa set a UCLA single-game record with seven blocks earlier this season in the first meeting with California, which broke Natalie Williams' record of six set on March 6, 1992 against Arizona. She has at least one block in 21 of 25 games (2+ nine times) and at least one in 14 of the last 16 games.
#20 Rhema Gardner has brought down 33 rebounds over the past six games (5.5 average). She grabbed four at USC. At Stanford, she blocked two shots and had four rebounds. Her total of six boards tied for the team lead at Cal. She recorded eight points and seven rebounds at home versus Washington State. Rhema collected five boards versus Washington and pulled down seven caroms at Colorado. Gardner had her second-highest scoring output of the season against Oregon State, posting nine points to go with four assists.
Gardner is averaging 3.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg this season, adding 15 blocks, which is second on the squad. She had her career best in rebounds against Colgate (10). Gardner's personal high in points happened versus McNeese State, when she poured in 18. Defensively, she has a block in 11 games, including three at home against Cal and two at home versus USC.
#10 Kacy Swain is averaging 2.7 ppg and 1.7 rpg in 22 contests. She had four points, four rebounds (tied season high) at USC. She totaled four points, two rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal at home versus WSU. She scored six at home against Washington. Swain recorded four points, four rebounds against Oregon State. In her third start of the year, Swain recorded two rebounds at home against USC. She had two blocks at home against Cal. The freshman's season best in points came against Tennessee Tech (9).
Freshman walk-on #3 away/ 22 home Madeline Brooks has seen action in nine games and made her first start at USC. She played a career-high 16 minutes against Oregon, knocking down a three-pointer and grabbing a rebound. She made her collegiate debut against Colgate and scored two at LMU.
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 some practice activities.
Atonye Nyingifa, who had 14.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 11 blocks and 18 steals in nine games, tore her right ACL against Tennessee (Dec. 17) 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 LMU.
Moriah Faulk, tore her left ACL against Arizona State (Jan. 7) and will miss the rest of the year. The freshman came off the bench in 15 contests, averaging 5.7 ppg and totaling 15 three-pointers. She had multiple treys in five games, including a perfect 3-for-3 at LMU when she had a season-best 11 points. Faulk also had double-figure games with 10 against both McNeese State and Baylor.
Senior Jasmine Dixon ruptured her Achilles tendon in a team workout in September and will miss the season, while 6-3 senior transfer Alyssia Brewer (Tennessee) will redshirt in '11-'12 and play her final season next year.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Rebekah Gardner's next game played will be her 123rd and will move her into a tie for fifth on the all-time list.
UCLA's current mark of 63.3 points per game allowed ranks as sixth-lowest total in school history ... It is the fifth-straight season in which the UCLA defense has givien up an average which has merited a listing among the top 10 lowest in school history -- 2010-11 No. 1 at 55.3; 2009-10 No. 2 at 57.5; 2008-09 No. 5 at 61.6; 2007-08 No. 7 at 66.3.
Thea Lemberger has played at least 30 minutes in each of the last 23 straight games. She played a total of 108 minutes over the whole of the 2010-11 season.
Markel Walker is not ranked in the overall Pac-12 stats, due to her lacking the necessary 75% game participation rate, but in conference game stats she began the week near the top in several categories - Scoring ninth (13.9); first with 11.4 rpg, first offensive rpg (4.6), second defensive rpg (6.8), tied for sixth in steals (2.5), fourth in assists per game (4.3), ninth in assist/turnover (1.0), 14th in ft % (.701).
The last Bruin player to end a season with a double-digit rebounding average was Kisa Hughes (1994-95, 10.4).
UCLA's next made three-point shot will be its 94th of the season and match the 10th-best season total in school history.
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.
UCLA is 10-1 when leading at the half, with the only loss coming at Arizona ... The Bruins won three games (UW, at Colorado, at Utah), in their four-game conference win streak, when trailing at the five-minute mark, their only such wins on the season (now 3-11).
The school record for blocked shots in a season is 108 which was set in 1980-81 ... The current Bruin squad sits at 93 on the year, which is the seventh-most in school history.
Highlights of the Bruin's four-game conference win streak included Walker's triple-double (14 p, 15 r, 10 a) against Washington State. It marked UCLA's first triple in eight years (Noelle Quinn, 2004 at Cal). UCLA rallied from a seven-point deficit (63-56) in the last 50 seconds to win in overtime against Washington. UCLA came from four back in the final two minutes to tie Colorado and then went on to win that contest in overtime. UCLA fought back from a nine-point deficit with just under seven minutes remaining to play at Utah and went on a 22-8 run to close out the game.