UCLA had limited nine straight opponents to 65 points or under in regulation before Oregon State registered 70 points on Jan. 26 - UC Riverside, 60; Arizona State, 62; Arizona, 59; Stanford, 56; California, 65; Washington, 57; WSU, 56; USC, 64; Oregon 59. The last time a UCLA team had such a defensive stretch came in the 1974-75 season, when the Bruins limited its first 21 opponents to 63 points or less.
Arizona is coming off a 64-62 victory over USC on Thursday. The Wildcats overcame an eight-point halftime deficit and 28.1% shooting in the first half with a blistering second half that saw them shoot 51.6% from the field. Four players were in double-figures, led by Ashley Whisonant's 13 points and five steals.
UCLA leads the series with the Wildcats by a 40-19 count after winning four of the last five overall meetings.
First Game Recap: UCLA earned its first Pac-10 victory of the year, defeating Arizona on the road on Dec. 30, 68-59. Freshman Nina Earl recorded her first career double-double, with career-highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Lindsey Pluimer added 10 points and nine boards. UCLA led from start to finish, jumping out to a 9-2 lead to start the game and enjoying as much as an 18-point advantage. Arizona rallied to trim the lead to five with 3:29 to play, but Darxia Morris made a steal and fed to Earl, who was fouled and converted both free throws to help diffuse the threat.
Bruin Rally Comes Up Short
Arizona State jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, built the margin to as many as 17 points in the first half and held on for a 73-67 win. Tierra Henderson and Nina Earl had 12 points each for the Bruins, who narrowed the gap to as little as three points on three occasions.
The Bruin freshmen, ranked as the No. 4 recruiting class by HoopGurlz.com, have been as good as advertised, playing pivotal roles on the team. Three of the six freshmen have played in all 28 games, while a fourth has seen action in 27 games. Doreena Campbell has made 27 starts, Nina Earl 15, Darxia Morris 12, Regina Rogers 12 and Candice Brown 2. Five freshmen are averaging in double figures minutes played. Three freshmen have been in the starting lineup for 12 games (6-6 record) this season. Five freshmen have been on the court at the same time for the Bruins in numerous games this season.
Making The Grade
Five members of the Bruin squad made the Director's Honor Roll (3.0 or better with at least 12 graded units) in the Fall Quarter - senior Lindsey Pluimer, sophomores Allison Taka and Alexis Olivier, and freshmen Doreena Campbell and Christina Nzekwe. Pluimer and Taka earned GPAs of 3.5 or above.
Bruins Vs. The Ranks
The Bruins' last victory against a nationally ranked opponent came on Jan. 4, 2008 against No. 2-ranked Stanford (69-56). It marked the first time the Bruin program has ever defeated a team ranked higher than fourth in the Associated Press poll. UCLA had defeated a team ranked as high as fourth on multiple occasions, the last time came on Nov. 28, 2004 in a 63-60 win over #4 Texas.
Pluimer Powers Bruins
UCLA's lone senior, forward Lindsey Pluimer, continues to lead the Bruins both on and off the court. Pluimer, a 2007-08 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award nominee, three-time Academic All-District selection and 2006-07 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, has started each game of her career (120). Her total of 120 career games played ranks tied for sixth on the all-time school list.
In the home game versus Washington State (2/8/08), Pluimer moved into 10th on the all-time school rebound list. In the game at Washington (1/10/08), she became only the fifth Bruin to total at least 1,300 points, 650 rebounds and 75 blocked shots for a career, joining Ann Meyers, Necie Thompson, Natalie Williams and Maylana Martin.
Pluimer currently ranks 13th on UCLA's career scoring list with 1,521 points, 10th in rebounds with 714, sixth in blocked shots with 90 and seventh in 3-point field goals made (83).
Pluimer has been named to the 2007-08 CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine District 8 Academic All-America first team.
Campbell Strong All-Around
Guard Doreena Campbell has been a standout for the Bruins in all categories, averaging 8.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.41 assists, 1.59 steals and just 2.15 turnovers per game in 27 starts. She ranks No. 4 in the Pac-10 in assist/turnover ratio (1.59), No. 8 in assists (3.41) and No. 18 in rebounding (4.5). Campbell is first on the team in assists (92) and minutes per game (31.0). With 92 assists on the year, she currently ranks eighth on the all-time UCLA freshman top-10 list.
Campbell recorded seven steals in the season opener at Cal State Northridge and had a career-high of eight assists at Arizona State. Campbell missed her only game of the season at Arizona while nursing a sprained ankle. She registered a career-best 38 minutes of action at home versus Cal and matched her minutes played best at Washington while recording a new career-high with eight rebounds. She tied that rebounding mark with eight in the home game vs. USC and at Oregon.
Her Name Is Earl
Freshman forward Nina Earl ranks second on the team in scoring with a 8.8 average (20th in Pac-10). Earl has scored in double figures 10 times on the year and set career-highs in both scoring and rebounding when she recorded her first career double-double at Arizona (23 points, 10 rebounds). She has connected on 41.7% of her shots from the field, which is third-best on the team.
Morris Back In Business
UCLA freshman guard Darxia Morris, from Pasadena, CA (Muir HS), suffered a knee injury during a weekend (Jan. 4, 6) in which she scored 20 points in a win over then-No. 2 Stanford and added 14 points, including 12 in the second half, against No. 10 Cal. She had started the previous six games and in 12 games overall this season. Morris sat out two weeks (three games-UW, WSU, USC) of action before returning to the court vs. Oregon (Jan. 24). She came off the bench to score eight points in 20 minutes of action in the home game against the Ducks.
Morris is currently averaging 7.5 points (fifth on the team) and ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in steals (1.76).
Freshman center Regina Rogers totaled 16 rebounds on Nov. 28 at Pepperdine, including 10 on the offensive end. Her 16 rebounds were the most by a Bruin player since Kristee Porter had 16 boards against Arizona on Jan. 20, 2001. Rogers was ferocious on the defensive boards at Arizona State, recording 13, along with three blocked shots. She added five more boards at Arizona. Rogers is second on the team in rebounds per game (4.7 average) and blocks (14). She ranks 17th in the Pac-10 in rebounding (4.7). Her next blocked shot will move her into UCLA's freshman top-10 single-season list.
Sophomore center Moniquee Alexander has shown big improvements, earning starts in 13 of the last 19 games. She had five rebounds at home against both then-No. 2 Stanford and then-No. 10 California and led the team with nine rebounds, including four offensive boards, at Washington. Against then-No. 1 Tennessee, Alexander scored a career-high 11 points on 5-5 shooting from the field. She equaled that point total against UC Riverside, scoring 11 points, and pulled down a season-high seven rebounds. Alexander had five rebounds and zero turnovers in the game at Arizona State and shot 4-6 from the field for eight points with four boards in the win at Arizona. On the year, she is averaging 3.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and has played in 27 games with 15 overall starts. She sat out the Bruins' game at Stanford with a concussion and came off the bench in the home wins over the Washington schools. She returned to the starting lineup at home against USC and came off the bench in both games in Oregon and vs. Arizona State.
Pride Of Pasadena
Former teammates at Pasadena's John Muir HS, Tierra Henderson and Darxia Morris have paired up once again in UCLA's backcourt.
Henderson, a junior, and Morris, a freshman, have started together in five games. They rank first and second on the team in steals, with Henderson totaling 54 and Morris 44. Henderson ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in steals per game (1.93), and Morris ranked ninth (1.76). Morris is second on the team in assists with 62 while averaging 7.5 points per game. Henderson has long been known as the Bruins' defensive spark plug, but she has also upped her offensive game this year, averaging 7.7 points and leading the team in scoring with a career-high 16 in the home win over Oregon State. She also poured in 15 at Pepperdine and 12 in the home game versus Arizona State. At Arizona, Henderson and Morris were the defensive duo, combining for 13 of UCLA's 17 steals on the day (Henderson with a career-high tying seven and Morris with a career-high six).
Challenging '07-08 Schedule
The Bruins played host to the past two NCAA championship teams this season, 2005-06 title holder Maryland on Nov. 25; 2006-07 champ Tennessee on Dec. 19. UCLA hosted teams ranked No. 1 (Tennessee), No. 2 (Stanford) and No. 3 (Maryland) at the time of the game this season.
In all, the Bruins have battled five teams which won their conference or conference tournaments a year ago - Tennessee (SEC), BYU (Mountain West), UC Riverside (Big West), Stanford (Pac-10), Idaho State (Big Sky). Nine opponents advanced to play in the NCAA Tournament in 2007 - Maryland, Idaho St., BYU, Tennessee, UC Riverside, Arizona St., Stanford, Cal, and Washington - and three more in the WNIT - Rice, San Diego, and Oregon.
Four of the five players to earn the starting nod from coach Kathy Olivier in the opener at Cal State Northridge made their first collegiate starts.Sophomores Erica Tukiainen and Moniquee Alexander and true freshmen Darxia Morris and Doreena Campbell each merited a starting assignment in their first games.
It was the first time a Bruin team has started as many as two true freshmen in the first game of a season since the 2002-03 season when Julia Pitts and Nikki Blue were in the starting lineup at Hawaii. The last time the Bruins put out a starting lineup that included more than two freshmen in the starting lineup in the season opener was in the 1996-97 opener against St. Mary's when four freshmen, including three true freshmen, took the floor for the jump (true freshmen - Melanie Pearson, Maylana Martin, Carly Funicello; redshirt freshman Takiyah Jackson).
In game two against Rice, the Bruins started three freshmen - center Regina Rogers (1st start) and guards Campbell and Morris. Another freshman received her first starting assignment in game three against Cal Poly, as Nina Earl joined two other classmates (Rogers and Campbell) in the starting lineup. Last week at Oregon State and Oregon, freshman Candice Brown earned her first career starts.
The Bruins have utilized 12 different starting lineups in the 28 games this year.
Several Bruin teams will be wearing special jerseys or patches in 2007-08 to commemorate UCLA being the First to 100 NCAA Championships. The women's basketball team will don the new jerseys that have a different-colored "C" in UCLA. The "C" signifies the Roman numeral for 100.
Bruins Think Pink, Raise Money For Revlon/UCLA Breast Center
UCLA did its part in raising breast cancer awareness by participating in an ESPN2-televised Think Pink game on Feb. 10 against Washington. The Bruins wore special white and pink jerseys, which were auctioned online the following week. The Think Pink jersey auction recorded gross sales of $5,052.60. The highest single bid was for $660 for the #13 UCLA jersey. All proceeds will be donated to the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center.