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Word From Westwood - March 6, 2012
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  03/07/2012

Word From Westwood by Dan Guerrero

Word From Westwood - Deliver to Inbox

March 6, 2012

Fellow Bruins,

With the last men's basketball regular season game now complete, I wanted to once again thank everyone, including so many of you, who helped support the team during the Bruin Road Show.

Our gracious hosts at all three of the venues we called home, the Los Angeles Sports Arena, the Honda Center and Citizens Business Bank Arena, literally rolled out the Bruin Blue carpet for us all season long and made us feel so welcome.

In addition, I would like to thank the students in the Den and the members of the band and spirit squad who juggled class schedules and were there every step of the way despite any challenges they faced. Finally, you, the fans, made the trek to downtown LA, as well as to Orange and San Bernardino Counties to cheer on your beloved Bruins, and we are grateful for that.

Thank you as well to all of you who have supported the various UCLA volleyball, basketball and gymnastics teams who have called the Wooden Center home this school year. The dynamic, energetic and often near-capacity crowds have created an amazing atmosphere for those sports that have played there.

I can assure you that, despite the inconveniences that you may have endured this year, when we move back into Pauley for next season, you will all be richly rewarded for your patience.

Pac-12 Hoops Tourneys Both in LA This Week
After a mixed bag of results on the weekend, the men's and women's basketball teams each earned the fifth seed and will open the Pac-12 tournament minutes apart tomorrow afternoon here in LA.

After a regular season split against Arizona, Cori Close and her women's team will take on the Wildcats in a first round rubber match at 2:15 pm at the Galen Center. A win in that matchup pits them against fourth-seeded Arizona State in Thursday's quarterfinals, also at 2:15 pm.

Ben Howland and the men, meanwhile, will face crosstown rival USC, whom they swept in the regular season, at 2:30 pm at Staples Center. With a win in that game, they would face Arizona on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals.

Tickets for both tournaments are still available by calling the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN or ordering online here.

Marathon Kids' Final Mile at Drake
This Saturday morning will mark the final mile celebration for the Los Angeles Marathon Kids program at Drake Stadium. 29,000 kids in kindergarten through fifth grade, along with their parents and teachers, will be eligible to celebrate the completion of their 26.2-mile journey to a healthier lifestyle. The children have been running/walking a marathon in increments of ¼ to ½ mile at a time over six months and have also been challenged to eat 26.2 days a month of 5-a-day fruits and veggies over that same time. Many of our student-athletes volunteer with this program and will be there on Saturday morning to cheer on the participants during their final mile.

Four Bruins Teams Sit atop the Rankings
For the second consecutive week, we have a national-best four teams ranked No. 1 in the nation: Women's Golf, Women's Tennis, Men's Volleyball and Women's Water Polo. We also have three other Top 5 teams in No. 3 men's tennis, No. 3 gymnastics and No. 5 men's golf. While the seasons are far from over, it's always a great source of pride to see our teams so high in the national rankings.

UCLA Plays USC in Dodgertown Classic March 13
For the past couple of seasons, our baseball team has had the amazing opportunity to play at Dodger Stadium in the Dodgertown Classic. This year's game will be next Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30 pm against USC. Tickets are on sale now. If you purchase tickets in advance through our Central Ticket Office, they cost just $5, and parking will be free. Tickets purchased at Dodger Stadium on the day of the game will cost $12, so you'll want to get your tickets early. If you've ever wanted to check out Dodger Stadium or a Bruin baseball game, or both, and haven't yet had a chance to, this is a perfect time to do so.


Finley Earns Prestigious Scholarship
I am extremely proud of UCLA softball player Brooke Finley. The senior, who has already made plans to study sports law after her days at UCLA are complete this spring, was recently awarded one of 26 postgraduate scholarships (worth $6,000 apiece) as part of the NCAA's annual Ethnic Minority and Women's Enhancement Scholarship program. I was not the least bit surprised when I heard that Brooke had been awarded one of the scholarships; in addition to being one of our top student-athletes academically, she is a member of the Bruin Athletic Council and a Student-Athlete Mentor.

Olympic Sports Report
The top-ranked women's golf team wrapped up play in the Bruin Wave Invitational in Tarzana today and earned a second-place finish ... After sweeping Sacramento State over the weekend, the #16 UCLA baseball team hosts UC Riverside tonight before heading to SEC country for a weekend series at Georgia ... Softball, also ranked #16, hosts Michigan State tomorrow at 6 pm before playing a handful of games in the Long Beach State Invitational on the weekend ... The #1-ranked men's volleyball team hosts UC San Diego Thursday night and UC Irvine Saturday evening at the Wooden Center ... Another Bruin #1 team, women's tennis, fresh off a win at USC last week, hosts Washington State on Friday, while the #3 men's tennis team welcomes Hawaii to the LA Tennis Center on Saturday ... The top-ranked women's water polo team defeated USC last Saturday for the second week in a row and hosts San Jose State at Spieker Aquatics Center on Saturday afternoon ... #3 gymnastics wraps up the regular season with a home meet at the Wooden Center against #2 Oklahoma Sunday afternoon ... The #5 men's golf team will travel to Las Vegas this weekend to participate in the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters ... Four members of the men's team and one member of the women's team will compete in the NCAA indoor track & field championships later this week in Nampa, Idaho ... The diving team will be competing in the NCAA Zone E championships in Colorado Springs this week ... Rowing kicked off its 2012 competition schedule with a win last week over LMU and hosts San Diego on Saturday morning in Marina del Rey.

Ask Dan Guerrero
Q: Why was UCLA football Pro Day closed to public, media and player families?
Sam Mendoza, Downey

A: Thank you for the question, Sam. Head Football Coach Jim Mora wanted to give the participating players a distraction-free environment without any outside media, agents, family members and fans. Since he is a former NFL coach with 25 years of experience at that level, I trust that he knows what is best for this particular setting, and he never wavered in his belief that it should be closed. Coach Mora and his staff informed the student-athletes a few weeks ago that the Pro Day was going to be closed to all outside parties, and I, as the athletic director, stand by his decision.

Thank you all for your submissions - please know that each question submitted was read, and please don't forget to submit a question to questions@athletics.ucla.edu this week.

Go Bruins!

Dan Guerrero
Director of Athletics, UCLA

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