Feb. 12, 2013
What a week for UCLA sports! The teams competing for the Bruins across the department racked up one victory after another: basketball, tennis, softball, golf -- it simply did not matter, the Bruins brought their "A" game, and that deserves special recognition. The long, winding road that comprises any season is certainly treacherous, and each week brings many different results, but the last seven days should serve as a reminder to all about the truly amazing things our young men and women can achieve ...
Men's Basketball Climbs Standings with Pair of Victories, Sets up Big Road Trip
Thanks to back-to-back wins against the Washington schools at Pauley Pavilion last weekend, the UCLA men's basketball team (18-6 overall, 8-3 in conference) enters this week in a three-way tie for first place in the Pac-12 standings, along with Arizona and Oregon.
The Bruins head north on Interstate 5 this week for a pair of games: a Thursday, 6 pm tussle with Cal (live on ESPN2) and a Saturday 1 pm battle against Stanford (also live on ESPN2).
Meanwhile, the Wildcats and Ducks will be competing as well, with Arizona travelling to Utah and Colorado, and Oregon staying in the Pacific Northwest for games at Washington and Wazzu.
ESPN's College GameDay Returns to Pauley on March 2
UCLA's Pauley Pavilion will host ESPN's College GameDay Covered by State Farm on the morning and evening of Saturday, March 2, prior to the Bruins' home contest against Arizona that evening. The ESPN program will make its second appearance in Pauley. The Bruins' iconic home first served as the backdrop to College GameDay on Feb. 2, 2008, when UCLA defeated Arizona, 82-60.
The popular ESPN program's first hour begins at 7 am PT on ESPNU, with coverage continuing at 8 am on ESPN. After an extended break, programming resumes with a one-hour edition at 5 pm on ESPN. UCLA fans will be allowed entry to Pauley Pavilion for the morning program of College GameDay as early as 5 am, and event programming will begin at 5:30 am.
Fans interested in attending that morning's show are encouraged to line up outside the northwest entrance of Pauley Pavilion.
Admission is free, and fans must be wearing blue or UCLA gear to be admitted. Tasteful signs are always welcomed and encouraged and, of course, increase a fan's chance of being seen on TV.
Women's Basketball Completes Sweeps/Looks to Avenge Earlier Defeats
Road victories against both Washington schools last weekend gave the #15-ranked UCLA women's basketball team sweeps in both those season series. The Bruins are preparing to host #6-ranked Cal and #4-ranked Stanford this weekend at Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins (19-4 overall, 10-2 in conference) will be looking to avenge their only two league losses of the 2012-13 season -- and will host the Bears at 6 pm Friday (Pac-12 Networks) and the Cardinal at 12:30 pm on Sunday (ESPNU). The Bruins enter the weekend one game behind both teams in the conference standings.
Tickets remain for both games. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit uclabruins.com/tickets or call the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN (825-2946).
Breast Cancer Awareness Games Right around the Corner
Friday night against Cal, the women's basketball team will hold its annual breast cancer awareness game. The first 1,000 fans through the turnstiles will receive a limited edition pink t-shirt commemorating the evening.
In addition, former UCLA student athletes will be on-hand to sell raffle tickets, with proceeds being split equally between the Play 4Kay Cancer Fund and the five breast centers on the UCLA campus.
Sunday afternoon will also include pink elements, including t-shirt and pom-pom giveaways, as well as coverage of UCLA's Play 4Kay Initiative on the ESPNU broadcast.
Reminder: Next Sunday will be Dads and Daughters Day in Pauley
Don't forget that, in conjunction with the UCLA-Stanford women's basketball game this coming Sunday, UCLA will host its annual Dads and Daughters Day. For just $10 per person, fans receive a ticket to a father-daughter-only pregame fair, a game ticket and a commemorative t-shirt. For more information or to order tickets, please click here.
Early-Bird Deadline for Season Ticket Renewals is this Friday
By now, all football and men's basketball season ticket holders should have received their renewal notification from the Central Ticket Office. In case you may have missed it on the form, the early-bird deadline for renewals is this Friday, February 15.
Those accounts renewed by this Friday will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win several prizes, including:
- Courtside seats at a future men's basketball game
- Sideline passes for a 2013 football game
- Game-worn jerseys
- Autographed UCLA Athletics merchandise
- A full credit for the purchase of your 2013 football and men's basketball season tickets
In addition, all season ticket holders who renew in the month of February will have payment deferred until July 1.
For more information, or to renew now, please call the Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN (310-825-2946).
Ugandan Delegation Returns to UCLA to Study Teachings of Coach Wooden
As many of you may have seen at last Saturday's men's basketball game in Pauley, for the second consecutive year, a delegation of select Ugandan basketball coaches visited the UCLA campus this week to get a better understanding of John Wooden's coaching philosophies.
The coaches arrived at UCLA as members of a cultural exchange funded in part by the U.S. State Department. The program was conceived by Texas Tech sports science professor Jens Omli, who has partnered with UCLA psychology professor Tara Scanlan, who hosted Coach Wooden as a guest lecturer in her courses for many years. During their stay in Westwood, the Ugandan delegation has had the opportunity to watch film of many of those lectures, interact with Scanlan on the teachings contained therein, and spent time with both the UCLA men's and women's basketball coaches.
Softball Auction to Benefit Charity Upcoming at UCLABruins.com
The UCLA softball team will be auctioning off three pink authentic, team-issue helmets and two pink jerseys, signed by all of the players and coaches, beginning later this week on UCLABruins.com.
The proceeds raised will benefit the Iris Cantor Women's Health Education and Resource Center at UCLA. The auction will continue for two weeks once it is launched, so please check it out and make a bid, all for a good cause.
Last Call: Northern Trust Open Hosts UCLA Day on Saturday
With the date fast approaching, please remember to make plans to join fellow Bruin fans, coaches (including football coaches Noel Mazzone, Lou Spanos and Eric Yarber and men's water polo coach and 2012 Olympian Adam Wright), staff, and the UCLA Spirit Squad this Saturday, February 16 for UCLA Day at the Northern Trust Golf Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
The special day features a $65 ticket that allows access to the tournament grounds and the Palisades Club, Riviera's new, open-air and tented VIP hospitality venue. Half of all ticket proceeds will be donated back to UCLA Athletics.
For more information or to purchase your $65 VIP ticket, please visit northerntrustopen.com/ucla.
Football Signing Day Celebration in Pauley a Rousing Success
The first-ever UCLA Football National Signing Day Celebration in Pauley Pavilion, presented by UCLA Athletics and the Wooden Athletic Fund, on February 6, drew a crowd of more than 3,000 Bruin fans. The spectacular Signing Day celebration featured head coach Jim Mora and his staff, as well as the UCLA Spirit Squad, UCLA Band, and highlight videos. Joined by the entire coaching staff, and with the UCLA Football team cheering from the audience, Coach Mora stood center court to announce one of the top-ranked recruiting classes in UCLA Football history.
Prior to the larger celebration, the Wooden Athletic Fund sponsored a private VIP Reception in the Pavilion Club with the football staff and significant backers of UCLA Athletics. Coach Mora took the opportunity to thank all of the tremendous donors who have supported UCLA Football since his arrival. He conveyed that the assistance of so many generous UCLA alumni, fans and friends was a major key to the recruiting success of the football staff.
The Wooden Athletic Fund encourages all Bruin fans to learn more about getting involved with UCLA Athletics and UCLA Football by: purchasing UCLA Football season tickets; supporting all UCLA student-athletes through the Wooden Athletic Fund; and/or directly supporting UCLA Football through the THEN NOW FOREVER Fund.
Olympic Sports Report
- The UCLA baseball team, ranked as high as #2 in the preseason polls, opens the 2013 season with a three-game series against Minnesota starting on Friday at 6 pm at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The series will continue on Saturday at 2 pm and Sunday at 1 pm.
- The #2-ranked UCLA women's tennis team reached the finals of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the second year in a row. However, the Bruins came up short in the end, falling to #8 North Carolina, 4-3 in Monday's championship match. Despite being down a key player during the tournament due to illness, UCLA still managed to post convincing wins over #21 Vanderbilt, #10 Miami and #6 Georgia. The Bruins are now 7-1 on the year.
- The #3-ranked UCLA men's tennis team posted three home victories last week, downing #26 San Diego (5-2), #19 Stanford (7-0) and #13 Cal (6-1) to improve to 7-0 on the season. UCLA now focuses its attention on this week's USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
- The #3-ranked women's water polo team improved to 12-1 on the year by winning its home opener over Cal Lutheran on Saturday, 18-3. The Bruins return to action this week when they host UC Irvine at Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday at 7 pm.
- #4-ranked UCLA Gymnastics defeated three other teams, including #25-ranked Washington, in a quad meet in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, scoring 196.950. The Bruins embark on a challenging three-match road swing, beginning on Saturday at #13-ranked Oregon State. That meet will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks at 7 pm PT.
- Freshman golfer Jake Knapp won the CSU San Marcos Invitational last week at Shadowridge CC. Later last week, #4-ranked UCLA won its second stroke play tournament of the season by capturing the Amer Ari Invitational title in Hawaii. The Bruins won in a playoff against Washington after both teams finished at 22-under par.
- The #6-ranked men's volleyball team returns home this week for matches against #13 Hawai'i this week. On Friday, the Bruins and Rainbow Warriors battle in the John Wooden Center, and on Saturday, the two teams meet again in Pauley Pavilion. Both matches start at 7 pm. Next Monday, the Bruins travel across town for an 8 pm Pac-12 Networks match against USC in the Galen Center.
- The #19-ranked softball team went 3-1 last weekend in the season-opening Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament, defeating Wright State twice and McNeese State before falling to #17 Texas A&M 7-6 in eight innings. The Bruins head to Las Vegas this weekend for the Easton Desert Classic, playing five times in three days, starting on Friday.
- The men's and women's indoor track and field teams split to compete at meets in both Seattle and Albuquerque. Junior captain Mike Woepse's pole vault performance led the way for the Bruins at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational in New Mexico, setting a new personal best of 18-4½. The Bruins now focus their attention on this weekend's Run for the Dream Invitational in Fresno next Sunday.
- The #12-ranked women's swimming and diving squads had the week off from competition and conclude their regular-season schedule on Saturday with a 12 pm meet at USC.
- The women's golf team competes in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes.
As mentioned in earlier sections of this edition of the blog, UCLA's Olympic Sports teams are clicking on all cylinders, with some in the midst of very successful seasons and others just getting out of the block, but at break-neck speed.
The women's basketball team leads the way, currently with the best winning percentage of any college or professional basketball team in Los Angeles. Coach Cori Close, her coaching staff and the players have worked tirelessly in their two seasons to get the program nationally-ranked once again and in position to battle for a Pac-12 Conference and Tournament title. The program has been nationally ranked virtually all season long and will be looking to finish strong in order to get the best seed possible for the NCAA Tournament.
Nearly every team currently competing is nationally-ranked, including women's water polo, softball, men's and women's tennis, gymnastics, baseball, men's and women's golf, men's indoor track and field and women's swimming. Other teams are right on the verge of being ranked and may get there at some point in time during the season. Sand volleyball, which has taken to the beach and opens its inaugural season later this month, will no doubt be a factor in its first campaign.
With fall sports completed, UCLA currently ranks seventh in the Learfield Director's Cup, the competition that acknowledges the best broad-based programs in the country. Typically we fare as well as, if not better than any other school in the country when it comes to excellence in our winter and spring sports. With a great run from here on out, we will do our best to bring the Cup to Westwood.
UCLA, which finished third in the Director's Cup last year (2011-12), remains one of the most consistent programs in the country when it comes to measuring the collective success of an institution's men's and women's programs. This is critically important to our mission, important to our coaches and student-athletes and important for the UCLA athletics brand.
With National Letter of Intent signing day recently concluding, it was not just football that enjoyed a banner day, though it received the most media attention. Head Coach Jorge Salcedo in men's soccer, again, landed the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the nation. In addition, women's soccer, men's and women's track and field and men's water polo all signed terrific classes, which will bring more elite student-athletes to our campus in the fall. Again, a great job by all of the head coaches and their assistants.
I wrote briefly about recruiting last week and can go on and on about how well we did, but you get the point. We have been very fortunate to see success in our major programs through our history, but it is our broad-based excellence in all sports that differentiates us from virtually every other school in the country. This fact certainly makes us all proud Bruins.
Kudos to all our coaches and student-athletes for the hard work they have put in so far and nothing but the best to them as they continue (or in some cases begin) their seasons.
UCLA Athletic Director