LOS ANGELES – UCLA (6-7, 0-1) continues its four-game homestand when the Bruins host Utah (7-4, 0-0) in Pauley Pavilion on Friday, Jan. 3. The game is the third of a four-game homestand and will tip-off at 6:02 p.m. on Pac-12 LA.
Venue: Pauley Pavilion
Arena Capacity: 13,800
Date: Jan. 3, 2014
Times: 6:02 p.m. (PT)
TV: Pac-12 LA
Talent: Anne Marie Anderson (play-by-play), Tammy Blackburn (analyst)
Listen Online: www.uclabruins.com
Internet Audio: Dave Marcus (play-by-play)
UCLA VS. UTAH
The Bruins lead the all-time series with Utah, 5-3. Utah won three of the first four games, but UCLA has won the last four contests, all since Utah joined the Pac-12 Conference. The Bruins defeated the Utes in the only conference meeting last season, a 70-42 win in Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 3, 2013. UCLA would also post a 54-43 win over Utah in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle. Alyssia Brewer scored 16 points as the 18th-ranked Bruins forced 18 turnovers in the win in Los Angeles a year ago. All 10 UCLA players scored and nine of them grabbed at least one rebound. The Bruins held the Utes to 16 points in the first half. Antonye Nyingifa added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Nirra Fields had 11 points for the Bruins. Utah’s last win in the series came on Dec. 1, 2001 in Salt Lake City by a score of 89-42.
UTAH IS $1 HOT DOG NIGHT AND COLORADO IS HARRY POTTER NIGHT
The Bruins continue Pac-12 play this week as they host Utah on Friday, Jan. 3 at 6:00 p.m. and No. 12/14 Colorado on Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Both games are being televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. Come hungry to Friday's game - it's $1 hot dog night for the first 1,000 fans in attendance! Then on Sunday against the Buffaloes it is Harry Potter Night, so remember to bring your Bruin and Hogwarts gear!
ON THE TUBE
This year UCLA had the distinction of having the first televised conference game when they hosted USC (Dec. 30) 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.
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.
The Bruins can boast of having one of the toughest schedules in the country as four of its nonconference games were 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). The Bruins' nonconference strength of schedule ranked No. 3 in the country (tops in the Pac-12) and helped the Bruins to a No. 26 overall ranking.
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.
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 duplicated that feat in the 96-89 win over Cal Poly (Dec. 28) when Nirra Fields (36 points), Thea Lemberger (23 points) and Atonye Nyingifa (23 points), combined to score 82 of UCLA’s 96 points.
In the win over Cal Poly, the Bruins had several great individual and team performances. The 96 points scored by UCLA in the win were the most in nearly four years or 125 games (defeated Oregon at home, 104-80, on Jan. 28, 2010). Senior forward Atonye Nyingifa was 11-for-18 from the free throw line. The 18 attempted free throws were a career-high and the second-most in school history (20, Necie Thompson, 2/18/83 vs. CS Fullerton, 11-for-20). Nirra Fields’ career-high of 36 points vs. the Mustangs were the most since Nikki Blue scored 36 against Arizona State on Mar. 5, 2005. The total is tied for the 11th-highest single game performance in UCLA history. Fields also made a career-high five three-pointers against Cal Poly.
In the 66-60 loss to Auburn (Dec. 21, 2013), the Bruins had two individual standout performances. Corinne Costa, who has the UCLA single-game record for blocks with seven, tied it for the third time against the Tigers. Nirra Fields also had a career-high eight steals, which was the most since Markel Walker had eight in a win over Hawai’i (Nov. 19, 2009).
BRUINS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
UCLA ranks in the Top 100 in the country as a team in two statistical categories, coming in at No. 50 in turnovers per game (14.5) and No. 79 in turnover margin (2.50). Two players rank in the Top 100 in the country as senior forward Atonye Nyingifa ranks No. 99 in steals (2.25 spg) and No. 94 in total points (210) while sophomore guard Nirra Fields ranks No. 94 in total points (210) and No. 63 in steals (2.50 spg).
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 46-31 (.597).