Mar. 12, 2013
Survive and advance -- it may as well be the mantra of any college basketball program in the nation during the month of March, and it's getting to be that time of the year for our two basketball teams.
After a very impressive performance in the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle last weekend that featured a pair of games against highly-ranked opponents (see more below), the women's team has this entire week off from game action, and will find out its NCAA Tournament fate next Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the men's team will play in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas later this week, looking to add to its 2013 Pac-12 regular season title. Following the stay in Vegas, the Bruins will gather as a team on Sunday afternoon to learn their NCAA Tournament placement.
The Madness of March has officially returned to Westwood ...
Women's Basketball Caps Conference Season with Great Run in Seattle
Thanks to incredible, selfless team play, the 11th-ranked women's basketball team advanced to the Pac-12 Tournament Championship game over the weekend.
The performances of both the women and men in Seattle were not the only stellar efforts over the weekend. Kudos go out to the spirit squad and band, who not only represented UCLA with great enthusiasm in the arena, but also on the team flight home, as they led 8-claps in honor of the excellent Pac-12 tournament performance of our UCLA women.
The Bruins will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 25-7 record.
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Tickets Available March 19
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament tickets will go on sale beginning at 10 am on Tuesday, March 19. Seat locations will be allocated based on Wooden Athletic Fund priority level and consecutive years of season ticket purchases and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Be sure to check uclabruins.com for details in the coming days.
Men's Basketball Begins Pac-12 Tournament Play on Thursday
Following a thrilling 61-54 victory at Washington Saturday afternoon which gave the men's basketball team a 23-8 overall record and its first Pac-12 regular season title since 2008, the top-seeded Bruins open Pac-12 Tournament play on Thursday at noon.
The MGM Grand Arena will host the Bruins against the winner of Wednesday night's Stanford-Arizona State game. The game will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks. There are no tickets left in the UCLA section, but limited single-session tickets to the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament can be purchased here.
While in Las Vegas for the tournament, all UCLA alumni, friends and fans are invited to join the UCLA Spirit Squad, UCLA Athletics staff and fellow Bruins at Centrifuge at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino two hours prior to each UCLA game of the tourney.
Early Round NCAA Men's Basketball Ticket Applications Due by Sunday
As many of you are already aware, requests are currently being accepted for tickets in UCLA's seating allocation(s) for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Priority will be given to Wooden Athletic Fund members and men's basketball season ticket holders. Please remember that the deadline to request tickets for the 2nd and 3rd Rounds is this Sunday, March 17 at 7pm (PT).
For more information or to submit a request, please click here.
Sand Volleyballers Hit the Courts in First Match
UCLA's 25th sport officially entered competition on Monday. The women's sand volleyball team, coached by UCLA alum, Olympian and AVP Tour veteran Stein Metzger, faced Florida State in its first-ever match at the Long Beach State sand volleyball courts.
Though the Bruins did not come up victorious in the end (click here for highlights and players' reactions), they will take to the sand again this weekend for a two-day event at USC.
Early Season Game against USC Draws Large Crowd to Jackie Robinson Stadium
Last Sunday's UCLA home baseball game against USC, originally scheduled to be played at Dodger Stadium as part of the Dodgertown Classic but moved to Jackie Robinson Stadium due to construction, drew a sellout crowd of 2,157 fans. Those in attendance were rewarded, as the #12-ranked Bruins won their fifth straight over their crosstown rivals, defeating USC, 6-1. Grant Watson picked up the win after throwing seven innings and allowing just one earned run.
The game ended a weekend of three non-conference matchups in which the Bruins defeated USC and #17 Notre Dame, but dropped a game to #23 Oklahoma. The Bruins return to the field today as they face Cal State Northridge on the road before returning home this weekend to open Pac-12 play against Washington.
Baseball Alum Plays in World Baseball Classic
Jack Santora, who played infield for the UCLA baseball team from 1994-98, is currently playing for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. The Italians were grouped with Canada, Mexico and the United States in the first round and finished in second place, earning a berth in round two, which began today.
Swimmers Qualify for NCAAs, Divers Compete for Spots This Week
A great season of accomplishments for the UCLA women's swimming program will culminate in postseason action for seven Bruins - seniors Stephanie Christofferson and Andrea Reigel, juniors Lauren Baker, Kathryn Murphy, Ting Quah and Anna Senko and sophomore Noelle Tarazona - who have qualified for the NCAA Swimming Championships.
The Bruins will also compete in the 200 and 800 Freestyle Relays, as well as the 400 Medley Relay. Diving spots will be announced next Sunday, March 17 following the NCAA Zone Championships. UCLA will be competing in the Zone E Diving Meet in Colorado Springs.
UCLA Athletics Welcomes Chinese Delegation to Campus
A delegation of athletic administrators representing the Federation of University Sports of China (F.U.S.C.), the Chinese cultural organization that hosted the UCLA men's basketball team on its preseason trip to China last summer, was on campus earlier today to meet with athletic department officials and learn about the program. Today's meetings continued the cultural exchange between UCLA and F.U.S.C. which is part of a greater initiative by the Pac-12 to build a conference presence in China.
Students-Athletes Collect Hundreds of Pairs of Shoes for Charity
The Bruin Athletic Council recently set up collection points and gathered over 300 pairs of gently-used shoes for Soles4Souls, thanks to donations from student-athletes, coaches and athletic department staff. The shoes will be donated to the UCLA Chapter for Soles4Souls, which was founded by UCLA baseball student-athlete Brenton Allen.
Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes and distributes them to people in need. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has delivered over 19 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes to people in over 125 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the US.
Olympic Sports Report
- Track and field had a big weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, as three of five Bruin representatives took home Top 5 finishes, giving the Bruin women a 15th place overall. Kylie Price placed fourth in the women's long jump, and pole vaulter Allison Koressel and 60m hurdler Brea Buchanan finished fifth in their respective events. On the men's side, Mike Woepse finished seventh in the pole vault (18-0.5) and Marcus Nilsson placed 14th in the heptathlon. The Bruins open the outdoor season this weekend in San Diego at the Aztec Invitational.
- The #2-ranked men's tennis team posted a 2-0 record last week, cruising to a pair of 6-1 victories over Hawai'i and Baylor to improve to 13-1 on the season. The Bruins host Tulsa on Thursday at 4 pm.
- The #3-ranked women's tennis team suffered just its second loss of the season last week, as USC upset the Bruins at the LATC. UCLA looks to rebound this week, hosting both Utah and Colorado to open up Pac-12 play.
- The #3-ranked men's golf team recorded a pair of Top 10 results last week in Nevada and Oregon. At the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in Las Vegas, the Bruins placed fourth and junior Anton Arboleda tied for seventh individually. At the Bandon Dunes Championship, UCLA tied for fifth place, and sophomore Matt Pinizzotto tied for sixth at 215 (-1).
- The #4-ranked women's water polo team will enjoy a rare week off after defeating both Cal and San Diego State last week at Spieker Aquatics Center.
- The #5-ranked men's volleyball team won a pair of MPSF Conference matches last week, sweeping visiting Pacific and Stanford. The Bruins, 13-9 overall and 9-7 in league play, travel to Long Beach State on Wed., Mar. 13 and Cal State Northridge on Fri., Mar. 15.
- The #8-ranked gymnastics team team recorded its third-highest score of the season, 197.075, and placed second in a quad meet behind #3-ranked Michigan (197.55). The Bruins hit 24-for-24 routines and had three gymnasts post scores of 9.95. UCLA closes its regular season on Sunday at 2 pm in Pauley Pavilion vs. Arkansas.
- The #9-ranked softball team went 4-1 at last weekend's Long Beach State Invitational. The highlight of the weekend came in the final game against Charleston Southern when Jessica Hall tossed her first career no-hitter and the 103rd in UCLA history. The Bruins host North Dakota State on Tuesday before taking time off for winter quarter finals prior to their first Pac-12 home series against Arizona State (March 22-24).
- UCLA's women's rowing program opened its spring season Saturday morning by sweeping three races against Loyola Marymount in Marina del Rey. The Bruins are back in action this Saturday at home against Gonzaga.
Last weekend, I was thankful to be a part of three very good days for Bruin basketball in Seattle.
It all began on Friday afternoon when the UCLA women's team picked up a nice victory against Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals at Key Arena. It was a wonderful effort by Coach Cori Close's team and certainly a harbinger of things to come for the weekend.
By Saturday morning, our Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator Petrina Long and I had moved to Alaska Airlines Arena (one of the conference's toughest places for visiting teams) for some more Bruin hoops. After a tough defeat in Pullman three days prior, the UCLA men's basketball squad defeated Washington to clinch the Pac-12 regular season title and the #1 seed in the conference tournament. Joining us in our 24 conference-allotted seats behind the bench was Bruin great Gail Goodrich.
Later that afternoon, I returned to the women's tournament and saw the same passion and intensity from the day before as the Bruins encountered a #5-ranked Cal team (28-2 overall), whose only losses were to Stanford and Duke. The team jumped on their opponent early and led throughout, not letting the Golden Bears near the lead until the game had been decided.
On Sunday, the Bruins cemented the fact to all who were there, and those who witnessed on TV, that they belong in the upper echelon of the national rankings. A stifling defensive effort held one of the top players in the country to three points and kept an excellent, #4-ranked Stanford squad under wraps. The game came down to the wire, and the Bruins had a chance to equalize in the closing seconds.
Three very important games for the women, especially at this point in the season, yielded three impressive results -- especially Saturday and Sunday where we nearly took down two Top 5 teams in consecutive days.
This team has certainly faced their share of challenges over the last two years, including adjusting to a coaching change a year ago and then battling through numerous injuries each of the last two campaigns, but their resolve has set them apart. They have a definite potential for greatness in the NCAA Tournament, as do the men, and I am proud of the performance of both of these teams over the regular season and look forward to the coming weeks.
UCLA Athletic Director