Word From Westwood - Feb. 19, 2013
Feb. 19, 2013
This is the final full week of February, and as it does every year, this week falls squarely in the stretch run of the winter sports season. Stretch runs are often characterized by important matchups that can dramatically affect a team's regular season standings.
For three of our squads, that takes on added meaning because they face not just any program this week, but their crosstown rival, USC, in pivotal contests. The UCLA men's volleyball team started it off Monday night, recording a 3-0 sweep over the Trojans in perhaps their finest performance of the season at the Galen Center, and the men's and women's basketball teams will each face USC this week with a lot on the line...
Women's Basketball Plays Home-and-Home Series with USC This Week
The Bruins and Trojans will meet at the Galen Center tonight at 8 pm on the Pac-12 Networks and then in Pauley on Sunday at 2 pm. The home game marks the second straight Sunday afternoon contest at Pauley for the Bruins and comes on the heels of a loud and boisterous crowd for Dads and Daughters Day last Sunday afternoon.
Coach Cori Close is calling on all Bruins fans to come out and support her team in record numbers when they host the Trojans Sunday afternoon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN (825-2946) or order online here.
The game will also signify the return of UCLA's long-standing "I'm Going to College" program, through which UCLA combines a college fair with a sporting event, allowing many students who would not otherwise be exposed to "the college experience" to have the chance to participate in it first-hand.
Men's Basketball Earns Split in NorCal, Continues Season at USC Sunday
Last week, the Bruins fell to Cal Thursday in Berkeley before bouncing back and defeating Stanford Saturday in Palo Alto.
After the USC game Sunday, UCLA returns to Pauley Pavilion for its final two home games of the season next week when it hosts Arizona State at 8:30 pm Wednesday and Arizona at 6 pm Saturday.
Limited tickets remain for both games. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN (825-2946).
Reminder: Be in the House for College GameDay on March 2
UCLA fans will be allowed entry to Pauley Pavilion as early as 5 am, and event programming will begin at 5:30 am. All fans interested in being a part of the festivities are encouraged to line up outside the northwest entrance of Pauley Pavilion.
Admission is free, and only fans wearing blue or UCLA gear will be admitted. Tasteful signs are always welcomed and encouraged and, of course, increase a fan's chance of being seen on TV.
NCAA Art Collection Will Be in Pauley for the Arizona State Game
UCLA will unveil 11 pieces of art, representing its 11 National Championships at the game against Arizona State on February 27. All 75 original pieces, including the 11 UCLA pieces, will then be available for viewing and for sale at Gallery 319 from February 28 through March 7.
After the gallery show, the artwork, if not sold, will be posted online for auction at www.ncaa.com/Art, along with 250 limited edition prints of each painting that will be for sale.
Baseball Opens 2013 Campaign with Series Win Against Minnesota
The Bruins outscored Minnesota 30-7 on aggregate, and this week will make their first-ever visit to Waco, Texas to take on Baylor in a three-game set Friday-Sunday.
Olympic Sports Report
So many of our student-athletes are successful in professions outside of sports, but it is great to see that in any given week on the amateur and professional sports scene, a Bruin alumnus is making some type of splash or major contribution to his or her team's success. Just recently, seeing Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday represent their respective conferences in the NBA All-Star game, Brendon Ayanbadejo win a Super Bowl as a member of the Baltimore Ravens and Zakiya Bywaters being selected as the #1 overall pick in the draft for the new National Women's Soccer League, represent a few examples of the mark being made by Bruins across the sports landscape. Those were all fantastic accomplishments.
What happened on Sunday afternoon at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, however, warmed my heart and the hearts of many Bruins who were pulling for UCLA alumnus John Merrick to win his first PGA crown. One couldn't help but be captivated by the performance of the Long Beach native, who won the Northern Trust Open on the second playoff hole against Charlie Beljan. It was especially great to see one of our own do so well in the professional ranks right in our own backyard.
With the win, Merrick, a 2004 sociology graduate, and one of five Bruin alums in the tournament field, became the first native of Los Angeles County to win the event, marking his first career win. In addition, he moves up to No. 4 in the FedExCup standings and earns a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR through 2015.
It was made all the more special to me that he captured the championship on the 10th hole, the very hole at which we hosted "UCLA Day" activities for Bruin fans the day prior. This was a win, not only for John and his family, but for the entire Bruin family. The telecast showed scores of Bruins walking the course in their UCLA shirts and caps. One could hear "Go Bruin" shouts after he made a big putt or walked to the next tee. Kudos also should go to Jim Nantz and his colleagues at CBS for making it a point to reference John's UCLA connection at every opportune juncture.
Finally, how great was it to see John hug his son and newborn daughter, and his wife Jody (also a Bruin and a former water polo student-athlete) after winning the title? The emotion was genuine and heartfelt, and you cannot help but thinking how wonderful it will be to see that scene again in the future.
On a truly beautiful late winter day in Los Angeles, John reminded us again how great it is to be a Bruin! Thank you, John, and congratulations.
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