Dec. 19, 2011
Bruins Head To Philly
UCLA (5-4) returns to the road and will meet Temple (4-5), on Tuesday, Dec. 20, and play at St. Joseph's (5-4, with game on Dec. 19) on Thursday, Dec. 22. The Bruins' trip to Philadelphia is a homecoming for junior guard/forward Markel Walker.
The Bruins will look to bounce back on Saturday after dropping an 85-64 decision to sixth-ranked Tennessee before a sold-out crowd in the John Wooden Center. Rebekah Gardner scored a career-high 24 points, but it was not enough to overcome 69.2% shooting by the Lady Vols.
Three other Bruins scored in double digits against Tennessee, including Markel Walker and Thea Lemberger, who each had 11, and Atonye Nyingifa, who added 10. Walker led the team on the boards with eight.
Through the first nine games of the season, senior Rebekah Gardner has emerged as the team's leading scorer with a 16.4 ppg mark. Junior Atonye Nyingifa tops the Bruin rebounders with a 8.9 average and also sports a 14.7 scoring average.
Players In Brief
Rebekah Gardner has four games with at least 20 points and had a streak of six games in a row with double figures stopped at LSU. Gardner, who has led the Bruins in scoring in five of nine contests to date, posted her first-career double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 13. The senior was also named to the Preseason WNIT and Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Basketball Classic All-Tournament teams.
Atonye Nyingifa is averaging close to a double-double (14.7 ppg/8.9 rpg). Her first two double-doubles of the season came in the Preseason WNIT, as she had 16 points and 12 rebounds against McNeese State (Nov. 11) and 16 points and a career-high 14 boards versus Tennessee Tech. She added another double-double against Colgate with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Nyingifa has seven double-figure scoring games this season.
With two games under her belt, Markel Walker is averaging 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Walker missed the first seven games of the season recovering from thumb surgery and returned on Dec. 13 at LSU. She led the Bruins with 11 points at LSU and again had 11 points and a team-best eight boards against Tennessee.
Sophomore guard Thea Lemberger is fourth in ppg at 9.9 and is the team leader with 30 assists. She has posted six double-figure scoring games. Lemberger had a career-best 15 at LMU, 10 v. McNeese State, 12 versus Tennessee Tech, 11 v. Tennessee, 11 at Baylor and 11 against Colgate.
Off the bench, freshman Moriah Faulk has produced at least five points in six games, including a career-best 11 at LMU, 10 against McNeese State and Baylor and six versus West Virginia and Colgate. She is first on the squad with 12 three-pointers, including 11 in her last seven games, and is averaging 6.8 ppg.
Rhema Gardner, along with her sister, Nyingifa and Lemberger, has started all nine games. She is averaging 5.6 ppg and 4.1 rpg. Rhema had a career-high 18 points against McNeese State and pulled down a personal-best 10 rebounds against Colgate.
Mariah Williams has started seven times this season and is second on the squad with 25 assists and is averaging 4.1 ppg. She had four assists at LMU, a team-best six against McNeese and four-each versus Tennessee Tech and San Diego State.
Freshman Kacy Swain has started twice, at Baylor and against West Virginia, but left the WVU contest with a concussion. She returned to action at LMU and scored three points with three boards. Swain had nine points off the bench against Tennessee Tech.
Sophomore Corinne Costa is second on the team with 10 blocks, notching three at Baylor.
Two Bruins, junior Jackie Shepard (shoulder) and freshman Alexis Perry (shoulder), have yet to see action this season as they recover from off-season surgeries. Freshman walk-on Madeline Brooks made her collegiate debut against Colgate, playing four minutes and recording one offensive rebound. She had two points at LMU.
Senior Jasmine Dixon ruptured her Achilles tendon in September and is likely to miss the season, while senior transfer Alyssia Brewer (Tennessee) will redshirt in '11-'12 and play her final season next year.
Against Temple/St. Joseph's
UCLA captured the first meeting ever with Temple last season in Pauley by a score of 71-61. The Owls finished 24-9 last season and 13-1 in the Atlantic-10 Conference. Temple has lost three of its games to ranked teams from Ohio State, Texas A&M and Rutgers. Guard Shey Peddie is the leading Owl scorer with a 15.1 ppg mark. This will be the Owl's first game since before the exam break (Dec. 6 win over Kent State, 68-33). Temple is 3-0 at home.
This will be UCLA's first meeting with St. Joseph's, which owns a 5-4 record. The Hawks are 3-0 at home this season and will host St. Francis on Dec. 19, before welcoming the Bruins. Guard Michelle Baker leads a balanced attack with a 10.2 scoring average. St. Joseph's lost it last game before the exam break, a 52-46 verdict at Villanova. Last season, St. Joseph's finished 20-12 and was eighth in the Atlantic-10 Conference.