NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The UCLA Bruins (3-4) travel to face No. 4/5 Notre Dame (7-0) on Dec. 7 for a Noon (ET)/9:00 a.m. (PT) tip. UCLA leads the all-time series 9-5 and is 3-3 against the Fighting Irish in Notre Dame, Ind.
Venue: Purcell Pavilion
Arena Capacity: 9,149
Date: Dec. 7, 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m. (PT)/12:00 p.m. (ET)
Listen Online: www.uclabruins.com
Internet Audio: Dave Marcus (play-by-play)
UCLA VS. NOTRE DAME
This is the 15th meeting between the Bruins and the Fighting Irish. UCLA won the last meeting in South Bend, Ind., in epic fashion, posting an 86-83 win in double overtime at Notre Dame on Nov. 18, 2010. UCLA senior guard Darxia Morris scored five points in the second overtime and came up with a big steal in the final seconds to help No. 15 UCLA beat No. 12 Notre Dame. Forward Jasmine Dixon had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Bruins. Morris added 17 and Markel Walker 16 for UCLA. Skylar Diggins led Notre Dame with 22 points and Natalie Novosel added 19 in a contest which saw 12 ties and 18 lead changes in all. Markel Walker led all scorers with 21 points and added nine rebounds, four steals and three assists in last year’s 76-64 home loss to No. 5 Notre Dame on Nov. 23. Freshman Jewell Loyd led the Irish with 19 points and seven rebounds. The Bruins outrebounded the Irish 39-38 and had fewer turnovers (20-18), but were outshot from all areas of the floor. The Bruins were without the services of starting guard, Thea Lemberger, who missed the game due to a knee sprain.
ON THE TUBE
This year UCLA will have the distinction of having the first televised conference game when they host USC on Dec. 30, 2013 (7:00 p.m.) and the last televised conference game on March 2, 2014 when they visit Utah (1:00 p.m.). The Bruins will be making a total of 18 television appearances, the most in school history, during the 2013-14 regular season.
UCLA was selected to finish fifth in both the Pac-12 conference’s preseason coaches and media polls. Stanford was picked to finish first, followed by California, Colorado and Washington. After the Bruins, USC was selected to finish sixth, followed by Utah and Oregon State.
The Bruins can boast of having one of the toughest schedules in the country as four of the first eight games have been against teams ranked in the top 12 (at #12/17 Nebraska, vs. #12/14 North Carolina, vs. #10/13 Oklahoma and at #4/5 Notre Dame).
In the Bruins’ 78-68 setback to No. 12 North Carolina, UCLA had three players record double-doubles (Atonye Nyingifa - 18 pts., 11 rebs.; Nirra Fields - 12 pts., 10 rebs.; Lauren Holiday - 10 pts., 11 rebs.). They became the first trio of Bruins to record a double-double in the same game in over 23 years. In a 79-65 home win over Oregon on Feb. 23, 1990, Sandra VanEmbricqs (22 pts., 14 rebs.), Michele Wooton (17 pts., 10 rebs.) and Rehema Stephens (12 pts., 10 rebs.) were the last to pull off that feat.
UCLA forward Atonye Nyingifa (Torrance, Calif.) established or tied six career-highs in leading the Bruins to an 82-76 upset win over No. 10/13 Oklahoma at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 24 and was named Pac-12 Player of the Week. Nyingifa tied her career-best with a game-high 28 points with career-bests in free throws made (12) and free throws attempted (15). She completed her second straight double-double against a ranked team with a career-high 16 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. The sixth-year senior also handed out a career-high six assists, added three steals and one block against the Sooners. The win over Oklahoma was UCLA’s 700th victory in program history.
In UCLA’s 82-78 home win over Pepperdine (Nov. 11), the Bruins had three players score 20 or more points in the same game (Thea Lemberger 25 pts., Atonye Nyingifa 24 pts., Nirra Fields 20 pts.). It marked the first time since a 91-58 home win over Oregon State on Jan. 31, 2004 (Noelle Quinn 24 pts., Nikki Blue 23 pts., Lisa Willis 21 pts.) that that feat has been matched.
The Bruins have already lost two key players for the season as they will be without sophomore guard Kari Korver (4.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg) and junior forward Kacy Swain (3.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg). Both suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) within a week of each other. Korver also had a tear in her lateral meniscus.
BRUINS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
UCLA only ranks in the Top 100 in the country as a team in one statistical category, coming in at No. 55 in turnovers per game (14.4). Only two players are ranked in the Top 100 in the country. Senior guard Thea Lemberger ranks No. 86 in free throw percentage (.860, 37-for-43) and senior forward Atonye Nyingifa ranks No. 94 in scoring 18.1 points per game.
Head Coach Cori Close enters her third year with the Bruins after guiding UCLA to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year and a Pac-12 Tournament runner-up finish. She sports an overall record of 43-28 (.606).