Bruins Face Utah in Salt Lake City

Jan. 24, 2012

UCLA Game Notes - at Utah (Game 19) Get Acrobat Reader

Thursday, Jan. 26
6 p.m. PT - UCLA (8-10, 3-4 Pac-12) at Utah (9-9, 2-5)
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video | Audio

The Bruins (8-10, 3-4 Pac-12) travel to the first of two new conference destinations, as they face Utah (9-9, 2-5) on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT in Salt Lake City. Free video, audio and Gametracker will be available at

The Bruins went 1-2 on their recent three-game homestand, beating Oregon State on Thursday, while falling to USC on Jan. 14 and Oregon on Saturday. UCLA has alternated wins and losses in its last five contests.

Experience the March to Madness and help your Bruins feel at home at the Pacific Life Pac-12 Basketball Tournament (March 7-10) at Galen Center and Staples Center. All-Session ticket packages are available online or by calling (310) UCLA-WIN.

Rebekah Gardner led the Bruins in scoring for the ninth time this season and posted her third double-double with 22 points (sixth, 20-point game of the year) and a career-high 15 rebounds (nine offensive) against Oregon on Saturday. She also had a personal-best six assists to go with three steals. On Thursday versus Oregon State, Gardner notched 19 points (8-of-13 shooting), eight rebounds and a season-high four steals. She leads the Bruins with 15.6 points per game and 33 steals (seven in her last two games), is second with 17 three-pointers and third with 6.6 rebounds per game. The Bruins' lone senior and only player to start all 18 contests has double figures in points in six straight. 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 18 games, at least one steal in 16 of 18 contests (2+ on 11 occasions) and is first on the squad with 14 double-figure scoring games (35 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 12 games, including seven of the last eight (7.5 rpg).

Markel Walker has produced double figures in rebounds in five straight contests after grabbing 12 boards with three points against Oregon. She 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 for her third double-double of the year (10 career). 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 115 rebounds, 51 have come on the offensive end, as she is first on the team with 10.5 rpg (at least six in every game), fourth with 11.5 ppg, third with 42 assists and second with 23 steals, adding a 72.1 free throw percentage. Walker has scored in double figures in nine of 11 contests and has a steal in every game (2+ on eight occasions), producing season highs in both against California (Dec. 29) with 18 points and four steals. She has at least five assists in three of her last four and on four 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 26 three-pointers and second with 49 assists and 12 double-figure scoring games. Lemberger had 18 points and made a career-best four three-pointers against Oregon after recording nine points versus Oregon State. The sophomore is averaging 15.0 ppg during Pac-12 play, producing four 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 seven contests. Beyond the arc, she has at least one trey in 14 of her 18 contests, including three at Temple (Dec. 20).

Corinne Costa has played 20-plus minutes in nine straight games and is averaging 7.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 blocks per game and a 52.8 field goal percentage over her last five contests. Costa set a career high with 10 points (5-of-9 fg) against Oregon to go with four rebounds and four blocks. The sophomore has at least six points and four boards in her last five 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 30 is averaging 3.7 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 16 of 18 games (2+ six times) and at least one in nine straight (20 total). Costa also has one steal in four 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 points and four rebounds against Oregon, is averaging 4.4 ppg and 3.8 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.

Mariah Williams has started 14 straight games (16 total) and leads the squad with 54 assists to go with 3.9 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. Williams added four points and four assists versus Oregon State and two points, two assists and three boards against Oregon. 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 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 10 games (12 total), recording a season-best three against LMU and California.

Kacy Swain is averaging 2.6 ppg and 1.8 rpg in 16 contests. The freshman 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 on Saturday against Oregon, knocking down a three-pointer and grabbing a rebound. 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.

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.

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.

Senior Jasmine Dixon ruptured her Achilles tendon in September and will miss the season, while senior transfer Alyssia Brewer (Tennessee) will redshirt in '11-'12 and play her final season next year.

Rankings through Jan. 22 (Markel Walker will become eligible once she has played in 75 percent of UCLA's games)
Rebekah Gardner: Scoring (3rd, 15.6); Minutes Played (5th, 34.1); Free Throw Percentage (8th, .722); Offensive Rebounds (T-9th, 2.7); Steals (12th, 1.8); Rebounding (16th, 6.6)
Thea Lemberger: 3-Point FG Percentage (10th, .351); Minutes Played (10th, 33.1); 3-Point FG Made (11th, 1.4); Free Throw Percentage (12th, .685); Scoring (14th, 12.2)
Mariah Williams: Assist/Turnover Ratio (T-12th, 1.1); Assists (T-13th, 3.0)
Corinne Costa: Blocked Shots (6th, 1.7)
Team: 3-Point FG Percentage Defense (2nd, .277); Offensive Rebounds (4th, 14.7); Turnover Margin (5th, +0.8); Free Throw Percentage (6th, .673); Steals (6th, 8.2)

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 74.0% 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 (.254) and blocked shots per game (4.6) in league games ... individually, Rebekah Gardner is fourth in conference games in ppg at 16.3, Thea Lemberger is tied for fifth (15.0) and Markel Walker is tied for 17th (11.3). Walker is first with 12.0 rpg in Pac-12 contests, solo first in offensive rpg (5.0) and tied for fifth in apg (4.1), while Corinne Costa is third with 2.4 bpg and fifth with a 50.0% field goal percentage ... UCLA is 7-1 when leading at the half, with the only loss coming at Arizona ... the Bruins are 8-2 when outshooting their opponent, but 0-8 when losing that battle.

Utah fell to 2-5 in Pac-12 play after a 59-51 loss on Saturday at Arizona State. The two Ute victories have both come in overtime at Washington (49-36) on Jan. 7 and at Arizona (65-60) last Thursday.

Four players are averaging double figures in points, led by Michelle Plouffe's 14.6 ppg. The sophomore is also second with 8.3 rpg, 24 steals, 18 blocks, 33 assists and 29 three-pointers. Sophomore Taryn Wicijowski is second with 12.2 ppg and first with 8.4 rpg, 28 blocks and a 51.6 shooting percentage, junior Iwalani Rodrigues is third with 10.9 ppg and first with 38 treys and senior Janita Badon is fourth with 10.7 ppg and first with 99 assists and 34 steals. Anthony Levrets is in his second year at Utah and has a record of 27-26.

Utah has won three of the five matchups with UCLA, but the Bruins won the last meeting, a 69-33 victory on Nov. 21, 2009 in San Diego. Markel Walker had 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals. The teams have met twice in Salt Lake City, with the Utes winning both times, including an 89-42 victory in the last matchup at Utah on Dec. 1, 2001. Only one of the five games has been decided by less than 20 points.

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