March 09, 2008

Stanford Rolls Into Championship Final

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With this being the last year that the HP Pavilion and the Bay Area will host the Pac-10 women's tournament, Stanford made sure that tomorrow's championship final would have a fitting match up. After convincingly beating UCLA, 78-45, it's the Battle of the Bay that will be the story as No. 1 seed Stanford and No. 2 seed Cal face off for the third time this season.

"I thought we came out with a great defensive mentality that started with Roz doing a great job for us in guarding either Campbell or Morris," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "Kayla guarding Pluimer did an excellent job while other people did an excellent job. Our defense really set the tone for the game."

The defense that VanDerveer is speaking of is the effort that prevented UCLA from scoring for the first four minutes of the game, only allowed UCLA's offense to score a total of 16 points in the first half and forced UCLA to turn the ball over 13 times in the first half.

"Stanford is a very good basketball team and they showed that today as defensively they were very aggressive," said UCLA coach Kathy Olivier. "The first time we beat them we were the aggressors and today they attacked us. That was the difference in the game. They rebound very well when they are aggressive and have a lot of people step up so they have a lot of options. There's a reason why they are a top five team in the country."

With the game clearly out of reach for UCLA from the opening minutes, it was all the Bruins could do to not make the bleeding too bad. However Stanford had other plans in the way they focused on UCLA's individual strengths instead of weaknesses.

"We really focused a lot on taking away our opponents favorite moves," sadi VanDerveer. "Kayla worked really hard and I was really proud of the fact that when she was on Pluimer, she only got four points. Ros I thought did a great job on Morries, who had a great game last night against USC. Whether it was Candice guarding Campbell or Jayne guarding a variety of different post players. The best thing is that people did not get in foul trouble. They played smart, position defense and team defense. I think defense is a matter of will and they willed it that way."

If there is a will, there is a way, which is the best way to describe Wiggins' continuing to fire away despite not hitting her first basket of the game until 48 seconds left in the first half.

With Stanford dominating today's second game, it was no surprise to see four players scoring double figures (Appel led with 14, followed by Wiggins with 13, Hones with 12 and Pohlen came off the bench to score 10), everyone getting at least one rebound and everyone scoring at least one basket to make it a total team win.

UCLA on the other hand struggled for the entire game.

"Stanford is a very good basketball team and they showed that today," said UCLA coach Kathy Olivier. "They are very aggreesive and came out as more of the aggressors."

UCLA couldn't get much of anything going as they shot 26.7% from the field in the first half, 36.7% from the field in the second half and only hit 1-of-9 from three-point land and 6-17 from the free throw line.

The Bruins did not have any single player finish with double digits in scoring or rebounding.

That's it from the semifinal action today. Check back tomorrow for the championship final at 7:30 pm PT.

I'm Wrong

SAN JOSE, Calif -- This game can get worse.

First off, UCLA's Regina 'Gigi' Rogers has fouled out of the game. This is a huge loss for the Bruins as she does give the Cardinal a nice presence in the paint and she has the court vision of a guard even though she plays center.

Next, the refs seem to be helping this game move as fast as possible as they are not calling some obvious fouls. This always concerns me as at this point in the season, you don't want to see players getting hurt.

Lastly, Stanford just keeps pouring it on with points. The Cardinal have more than doubled UCLA's score, so the Stanford fans in attendance -- which out-number UCLA fans about 20-1 (which is understandable considering how close the HP Pavilion is to Palo Alto) -- are probably enjoying their school's exhibition-like game.

Meanwhile EVERYONE has now come off of Stanford's bench and I would bet that at least everyone on the roster will finish with at least one bucket in today's game.

Even though this game is pretty bad, I will give the Stanford band a little bit of credit as they are not being as obnoxious as they usually are.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 71
UCLA 31

Time: 6:32

Can it get any worse for UCLA?

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Yes, I am a USC alum and we never like to see UCLA excel in any sporting event, but I really don't think that things can get much worse for the Bruins today.

After the half was over, UCLA came back and tried to apply a full court press to stop the bleeding. It didn't even slow down Stanford as the one player they left open was found and easily in-bounded the ball to.
Since then it's been almost all Stanford as the Cardinal are on a 19-4 run in the first five minutes of the second half.

Making this run even worse for UCLA is that it is not just one player that is unstoppable, but all five players on the court for Stanford that are causing UCLA nightmares.

It's ugly, but stay tuned...

Stanford 53
UCLA 20

Time: 14:35

Half Time!

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Here we are at the half of the second semifinal game and there really aren't any surprises as Stanford is dominating.

Stanford's Hones and Appel are both already in double figures with 10 points a piece and all but one Stanford player -- Hones -- has at least one rebound in the half. The Cardinal are shooting 37.1% from the field, have 25 boards and 10 steals.

UCLA seems to have put themselves in a hole that I am not sure they can get out of. The Bruins' leading scorer -- Lindsey Pluimer -- has only two points in the half and their leading scorer for the game is freshman guard Doreena Campbell with four points. UCLA is only shooting 26.7% from the field and have yet to make a three-point shot (0-of-3) and free throw (0-of 4). With numbers like these from UCLA, the win over Stanford two months ago is looking more and more like a distant memory.

Stay tuned, we are about to start the second half.

Stanford 34
UCLA 16

Panic at the basketball game

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Yes, this is a take off from the band Panic at the Disco, but considering that it is a team's ability not to panic, I am going to borrow.

UCLA (16-14, 10-8 Pac-10) was able to not panic yesterday against USC to help them make it to today. Now if UCLA can keep that up while also getting Stanford's biggies in trouble, the Bruins may have a chance. After all, it was just two months ago when UCLA pulled off one of the biggest upsets in women's college basketball and Pac-10 play with their 69-56 win over Stanford at home.

Staying cool and collected may help UCLA today, they are also going to need some devine intervention to make it a game.

Stanford is just too strong of a team (yes, Choops, I wrote it) with so many great players that their off weekend in LA in January may be the last time we see them have at least one off game.

First, Stanford has the shooting touch and leadership of Candice Wiggins (team best 19.1 ppg) -- the All-Time Leading Scorer in the Pac-10, a Naismith Award finalist, etc, etc, etc. Add to that the presense of Jayne Appel (14.5 ppg) and Kayla Pedersen (third best 12.9 ppg) -- the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (the second consecutive award for the Stanford program). If this wasn't enough, Stanford is deep. From Jillian Harmon (7.2 ppg), Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (4.9 ppg) and JJ Hones 6.2 ppg), just about any combination the Cardinal puts on the floor is deadly for opposing teams.

There's 3:50 left in the half and Stanford is not even letting UCLA get close to their lead.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 27
UCLA 14

Game on!

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- We're half way through the first half and as expected, Stanford is owning UCLA.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 19
UCLA 8

Time: 8:51

January 20, 2008

What a yo-yo!

TEMPE, Ariz -- We are at halftime here in Tempe and ASU is holding on to a solid 11-point lead.

ASU is being led by Sybil Dosty who is working hard down low for every one of her eight points while Kayli Murphy is ASU's defensive specialist from the first half with her 10 total rebounds, seven of which are on the defensive end.

Stanford is currently being paced by Jayne Appel who is also battling it out down low to get her eight points.

For our halftime entertainment we have synchronized and choreographed yo-yo throwers of Allyoyo.com. It must be the heat of the Arizona sun that helps such a group exist.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 20
ASU 31

January 19, 2008

It's A Good Day To Be A Trojan

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The rivalry between USC and UCLA in any sport or acadmic discipline is intense. Each school wants to be known as being better than the other and that intense nature between the two schools was proudly displayed in the 64-56 USC home win over UCLA.

"It was another great game and great crowd for southern California girls basketball," said USC coach Mark Trakh. "It came down to the end again like they all do. They are a hot team. They came in as a hot team and were playing really well. We knew they had a big front line and some athletic guards so we knew we had to come to play. The game was a lot of fun and entertaining with some great plays by both teams."

While all 40 minutes of the game was exciting to watch, it is the series of events with the score at 59-56 in USC's favor during the last six-tenths of the game which will keep everyone talking.

It was with less than a second on the clock when UCLA's senior forward Lindsey Pluimer took a last-hope three-point in the lshot to push the game into overtime when it was blocked by USC's junior center Nadia Parker. Parker's block was recovered by teammate and fifth-year senior Alison Jaskowiak who was trying to hold onto the ball. Jaskowiak got fouled and then it started to look ugly.

"I tried to foul because time was up," said Pluimer, who did catch an elbow in the left cheek. "We got tangled up and I think it looked bad in how we got tangled up. My teammates and their teammates came in trying to separate us out and that’s what happened."

It may have been messy to watch, but as USC and UCLA players started to come off their respective benches, that's what created a chaotic scene on the court.

After 15 minutes of review by the officials, Pluimer was assessed with a personal and technical foul, UCLA's Tierra Henderson and Chinyere Ibekwe were each given technical and personal fouls and Monique Alexander and Candice Brown were each ejected from the game for coming off the bench. On the USC side of the floor, Jaskowiak was issued a personal and technical foul while Jackie Gemelos (who is currently sitting out the season due to re-tearing her ACL) was also ejected from the game for coming off the bench. After the fouls stopped flying, Jaskowiak took to the free-throw line where she hit five out of the six free-throws she was given.

"It seemed like it got blown out of proportion for what it really was," said Jaskowiak. "They were trying to foul and we were trying to get the ball."

This captivating chain of events had all 8,545 in attendance on pins and needles at the end, but it was the toughness of these two teams battling it out through the previous 39.4 minutes that will be remembered in southern California women's basketball for years to come.

USC controlled the entire first half by running the score up to 33-16 going into half time. Highlights from the first half included a blocked shot by USC 5-foot-6 guard Camille LeNoir that led to a fastbreak and behind-the-back pass to teammate Heather Oliver for an easy two with 8:16 to go in the first half.

UCLA chipped away at USC's largest lead of 21 points early on in the second half, but at no point did USC become rattled by their lead diminishing. Instead, they stayed on-task and finished today's game with a win.

"I felt that at half time we were full of energy and were going to come out with the same intensity that we came out with in the first half," said Jaskowiak. "For the most part we did. We had a few lapses in defense and things like that. Their players stepped up, made some good shots and whenever we made errors they capitalized on it, which is what a good team should do. We just stayed level-headed and pushed through to the second half."

Leading the way for USC was Oliver with 15 points while Parker finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds and LeNoir finishing with 12 points.

UCLA was led once again by the senior leadership of Pluimer and her 15 points while Tierra Henderson followed close behind with 12 points.

UCLA will be without Alexander and Brown as an ejection is an automatic one-game suspension while USC will not lose any players for next game as Gemelos is not playing this year.

Complimenting USC's win in women's basketball was USC's men also upsetting the No. 4-ranked UCLA men's basketball team across town at UCLA. With two USC basketball wins today, it definitely is a good day to be a Trojan.

That's it from the Galen Center! Catch everyone tomorrow in Tempe!

Photo finish

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- We've got an official time out here at the Galen Center as the refs are reviewing the last play of the game.

A fight was on the verge of breaking out here after UCLA's Pluimer got her shot blocked by USC's Parker. USC's Jaskowiak then got the ball and while trying to protect the ball, inadvertantly threw an elbow that clocked UCLA's Pluimer.

What happend next will need to be described in my post-game, but to keep everyone in suspense, I'll tease you with the following foul and ejection count - UCLA - three technicals, one personal foul and three players ejected vs. USC - one technical and one player ejected.

It's all over, USC 64, UCLA 56...

More to come...

Hold your breath...

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- There's 10.6 seconds left and after getting a defensive rebound, UCLA just called a time out.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 56
USC 59

Two minute drill

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- There's less than two minutes left in the game and USC is holding on to their lead that started at the beginning of the game.

UCLA is playing a full court man press, but USC is able to break it.

UCLA in bear clawing their way in these final minutes.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 51
USC 58
Time: 1:50

Closing the gap

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- We're in the last half of the second half and USC's lead has been whittling down.

UCLA may be owning the boards 39-30, but it's the Trojans who are in control of the game.

USC is shooting 43.4% for the game while UCLA continues to struggle with 33.9% shooting. UCLS is killing themselves from the free-throw line with 30% shooting.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 43
USC 58

Time: 5:20

Wait! That's a horse move!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- We are in the second half and USC is holding onto its first-half lead.

UCLS is still having problems finding the bottom of the net after three missed shots in a row turned the ball back over to USC. USC's Brynn Cameron just added an exclamation mark to those missed shots by hitting a three-pointer to extend the lead.

One of the best quotes all season came from USC coach Mark Trakh during Pac-10 media day back in November about Cameron:

"She's the best shooting mom in the country."

Cameron is back this season after sitting out last season due to being pregnant and delivering her first son, Cole.

Meanwhile USC's Simone Jelks just pulled off a reverse no look lay-up and got the foul. If this was a game of chicken, UCLA may think that something was fowl with that last play. However, since it's the game of horse that is played in basketball, UCLA just got a letter by allowing Jelks to pull off that move.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 35
USC 45
Time: 11:11

The ones to watch are not the men

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- No disrespect to my colleague Bob Holtzman who is across town covering the USC vs. UCLA men's game for Posting Up, but Westwood is not the place to be in LA right now. Instead, it is here at the Galen Center where USC's Camille LeNoir just blocked a shot by UCLA's Nina Earl and then on the fastbreak did a behind-the-back pass to teammate (and G'day mate) Heather Oliver for an easy two. It was a series of moves that you usually only see in one of the men's games, so it's making this game the one to watch.

It's halftime and USC is off to a comfortable 33-16 lead thanks USC's favorite Aussie Oliver leading the team with 10 points and just about everyone contributing with a couple of points. It also doesn't hurt that USC is shooting 43.8% from the field while UCLA is struggling at their 25% shooting percentage. UCLA is currently being paced by Cinyere Ibekwe's team-leading eight points.

Stay tuned, more to come after the half...

Air Ball Boyko No More

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- While I am embarrassed enough to have shot not just one, but two air balls during my game of horse with Kathy Olivier, after seeing UCLA's Doreena Campbell just throw up an air ball from beyond the three-point line and right in front of the USC bench, I am suddenly not feeling so bad.

USC is continuing to dominate this game by building up a nice lead 23-9 lead in the first half.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 8
USC 23

Time on the clock: 5:00

The Tenacious Trojans

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- USC is currently up and I like what I am seeing from the Women of Troy.

They are playing with a lot of energy, confidence and appear to be tireless as they are running the floor, boxing out and playing tough defense. On offense there is a fearless sense about them. They are staying calm, finding their shot and not afraid to shoot from anywhere on the court.

UCLA however is struggling.

They are shooting dismal 21% from the field and have yet to break the double-digit mark. Adding to the Bruin frustration is that lid that seems to be on the south end net they are shooting at.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 8
USC 13

Time to make some noise!

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- We've just tipped off here at the Galen Center and USC has started off by winning the tip.

It took just over a minute, but USC is striking first with a sole free-throw by Heather Olivier.

Following-up on that free-throw is USC endjoying a 9-2 run in the first five minutes of the game.

USC is playing a tough full court press, picking off passes and being successful on fast break opportunities against UCLA, the Bruins just took their first time-out of the game at 16:12 to try to cool off the Trojans who are shooting 57% from the field.

The fans are loud and proud here as it is pizza delivery time.

Stay tuned....

UCLA 2
USC 9

15:39

A Day In Troy

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- There's still 20 minutes to go, but today being 'A Day in Troy' on USC's campus where elementary and junior high aged kids come to spend a day on campus and attend the basketball game, UCLA may not get the crowd behind them during this game.

Yes, the kiddies are present and accounted for here at the Galen Center. The entire upper level looks like it is going to be full and as we wait for season ticket holders to arrive, there's already a good crowd forming.

While walking around the concourse a few minutes ago I was reminded how kids can say the darndest things. Well, it was actually a shirt that read "Life. Get One" that caught my attention, but still pretty funny. The young girl wearing the shirt looked to be about 8 years old and with the t-shirt itself being Tennessee Volunteer orange, it was hard to miss.

Stay tuned...

The Ladies of LA

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Forget about wanting all of the tea in China, it's all about the bragging rights in LA today!

UCLA (9-8, 4-2 Pac-10) has made the 15-mile trek over here to USC's (10-7, 3-3 Pac-10) Galen Center today. Since the history of the rivalry between the LA schools in the Pac-10 is full of heart-breaking and full-combat stories, today's match-up should be no exception.

First for the visitors from Westwood (who USC fans often refer to as that high school over in Westwood) there are the UCLA Bruins. UCLA is riding high at the moment after sweeping both Washington schools on the road and knocking off No. 2 Stanford at home earlier this month.

With two players -- senior Lindsey Pluimer and freshman Nina Earl -- averaging in double-figures and three other freshman on the cusp of also averaging double digit figures, UCLA is averaging 71.6 ppg and rankes second in the Pac-10. Right now UCLA is tied for third place with Stanford in the Pac-10, but with a win today, the Bruins can help put a little bit of distance between them and USC, which is currently all alone in fifth place.

Meanwhile, welcome to the home of the Trojans!

USC (which UCLA fans like to refer to as the University of Spoiled Children) may have home court advantage, but with the Trojans struggling through the season (they split their games at the Washington schools last weekend and split home games against the Bay area schools the weekend before), a win today could give the Women of Troy a much needed confidence boost before hosting the Oregon schools next weekend.

USC also has two players leading the team with double figures with juniors Nadia Parker and Camille LeNoir. Yet it is the emergence of one of the newbies on the team -- sophomore Heather Oliver with a team third-best 8.1 ppg -- that is making teams take notice of where she is at when on the floor.

While bragging rights are one thing to be earned in today's game, Lexus Gauntlet points are another. The winner of today's game will earn five points for their school in the year-long competition, but it's UCLA who is looking to narrow the gap in the 39-31 lead that USC has in the all time series. USC currently leads the 2007-08 Gauntlet competition with 22.5 points to UCLA's 12.5.

This match-up is so special not just because it's a rivalry game and USC having five straight wins over UCLA, but since six of the past seven games between these two schools have been decided by four or fewer points this is so much more than your average Pac-10 game taking place in a just over an hour.

On paper UCLA may have the edge in today's game, but whenever it's rivalry time in LA anything can and will happen.

Stay tuned, the challenge is about to begin...

January 04, 2008

A Legendary Night

UCLA has never in the history of its women's basketball program beaten a team ranked higher than No. 4. Yet considering that the Bruins play in the legendary Pauley Pavilion where John Wooden's success is immortalized, it's no surprise to see the women's program enjoy a legend making moment of their own.

That night was tonight as the unranked UCLA Bruins not just edged out, but solidly beat No. 2-ranked Stanford 69-56.

"This was a very good win for our program and I think our non-conference schedule prepared us for a team like Stanford," said UCLA coach Kathy Olivier. "Our team is fearless and out to play anyone. We are going to be ready for anyone."

The fearlessness of this UCLA team was seen early on when the Bruins enjoyed an 11-point lead twice in the first half. Yet instead of falling behind and letting their opponent make a run on them (as what Maryland did late in the second half), the Bruins stayed strong and shook off the Cardinal coming within four points both at the end of the first half.

"I thought our team did a great job of staying focused for 40 minutes," said Olivier. "We played for 40 minutes and when we do this, we can play against good people."

Part of UCLA being able to stay focused is the balanced attack of scoring and rebounding from all players on the court. UCLA was led by freshman Darxia Morris with 20 points and senior Lindsey Pluimer with 13. Yet when all players except one scored tonight and everyone who saw playing action grabbed at least one rebound, it was this team effort that enabled them to get the win.

"I think our team was sick of playing with teams at the top and not being able to finish," said Pluimer. "We learned from those games and you could tell at the end that we were slowing the ball down, using the clock and being patient which came from the Maryland and Tennessee games."

Despite getting within reaching distance many times during the game, Stanford's struggles were painfully obvious as their energy level was not where it should have been and not putting in a team effort for the night.

"We had trouble defensively and didn’t have the energy we needed as a team," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "I was very disappointed overall with our team effort and we missed an incredible number of point-blank shots and free throws. I thought we rebounded well and had a lot of good opportunities, just didn’t knock them down."

Stanford was led by senior Candice Wiggins and her 29 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Jayne Appel with 17 points and eight rebounds.

"It's hard to explain a game like this," said Wiggins. "We knew what to expect and that they were a great team who had played great teams close and they are very good at home. Unfortunately bad shooting and getting in the hole early, we were unable to fight out of this one."

Knock-off!

That's it, UCLA has knocked-off No. 2 Stanford 69-56.

Post game wrap-up to come...

Upsetting situation

There's less than a minute left and UCLA is up 67-56.

Stanford is forcing shots and making bad decisions which are two good signs that they are going down to this unranked UCLA team that has been unpredictable for the last month.

Stay tuned...

Crunch time

There's three minutes left and Stanford may be in trouble.

UCLA is up 63-54 and with the Cardinal shooting touch only being luke warm at 32.8%, we may have an upset brewing here at UCLA.

Stay tuned...

It's Wiggins' World

Candice Wiggins just scored a nice lay-up on a fast-break pass and now has 21 points for the game.

I am guessing that she finishes with at least 30 points which will give her a second 30-point game.

In addition, she's getting hotter as the game goes on. With Wiggins' last three-pointer, the Cardinal are back in this by only being down seven with seven minutes to go.

Seeing her score either from NBA three-point land or under control on a fast-break reminds me that out west it is Wiggins' world and we are all just watching.

Stay tuned...

Now is the time!!!

Not sure if that is exactly what Wiggins just said to her teammates as they returned to the floor from their second time out of the half, but the expression on her face tells me that it was something along those lines as she was trying to fire up her teammates to get back in this game.

Stanford needs to find their mojo real quick here if they are going to walk away winners tonight.

UCLA on the other hand is saying the same thing, but in a much more positive light as they are trying to preserve their 13-point lead.

There's a lot of time left, so stay tuned...

UCLA 50
Stanford 37

And we're back...

We're not even two minutes into the second half and Stanford has taken a time out. Considering that UCLA has come out of halftime on fire and regained a 10-point lead, I'm not surprised to see Stanford using a time out to cool off the Bruins.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 44
Stanford 34

Not the halftime score expected

It's 38-34 and UCLA is still in the lead.

Granted, this is not the halftime score that I think ANYONE expected, but that's the reality of this wet and wacky night here in LA.

Stanford is being paced by Wiggins and her 16 points (which include two three-pointers) and Jayne Appel's 13 points. On the boards, the Cardinal's Jillian Harmon is leading the way with eight and Appel with five.

UCLA is led by Darxia Morris' 11 points and Chinyere Ibekwe's four boards.

The secret to UCLA's success of the first half, solid shooting. The Bruins are shooting 48.3% from the field which is edging out Stanford's 40.5% shooting from the field.

For our halftime entertainment we have two pee-wee girls basketball teams making their debut here at Pauley Pavilion. Makes me remember the good old days of when all I needed was basketball and water to live on.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 38
Stanford 34

Honing in!

That's the only way to describe the three-point shot just made by Stanford's JJ Hones. She was so focused and in control of her shot that there was no way she was going to miss it.

UCLA's lead had now been cut to four points as we head into halftime.

Stay tuned, halftime report to come...

Pouring it on

Usually the only thing I like to watch being poured on is hot fudge on top of ice cream.

However, since there is no ice cream to be found and it's game time, the only thing being poured on is the points by UCLA. That's right, the unranked Bruins have built a healthy 21-12 lead on Stanford at the halfway point of the first half.

The Cardinal are shooting a dismal 26.7% while the Bruins are pouring it on with their 58.3% shooting from the field. Not helping the Stanford fight to stay No. 2 in the country is the seven turnovers that they have now committed. Helping add some emphasis to these turnovers is the UCLA band chanting "We're No. 1 in turnovers!" Gotta love the band (especailly since they are directly behind me and I get to hear every smart remark coming from this peanut gallery).

Stay tuned...

What's hot and cold

It's so chilly here in LA tonight that I actually wore a scarf and heavy coat to brave the rain (yes, that means it is below 65 here).

However the only thing in LA that is chilly is the temperature outside as the UCLA Bruins are playing pretty hot during the opening minutes.

UCLA is now up 9-4 and with Staford's Appel just getting called for a traveling violation in the paint and Kayla Pedersen missing her first two free-throws it's taking a while for the Cardinal to warm up.

Stay tuned...

Cardinal Storm into LA

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Storm watch 2008 is in effect here in Los Angeles this weekend because of heavy rain that is expected.

The same could also be said in the world of women's college basketball as Stanford storms into town for games against UCLA tonight and USC on Sunday afternoon.

First things first as the Bruins host the No. 2-ranked Cardinal in 30 minutes.

Stanford comes to LA riding a nine-game win streak that is highlighted by their upset of then No. 1-ranked Tennessee (73-69 (ot)) on December 22.

It should come as no surprise that the Cardinal are led by senior Candice Wiggins (aka Superwoman of the West) with 17.5 ppg. On the boards for the Cardinal it is one of the freshmen on the team Kayla Pedersen with 8.9 rpg. Yet with other players such as sophomore Jayne Appel, junior Jillian Harmon and sophomore Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, the Cardinal are ready to pour it on from all over the court.

UCLA on the other side continues to struggle. Ever since losing to No. 3 Maryland in November, the Bruins are hoping that the new year will bring more wins than losses their way. UCLA finished the month of December with a 3-5 record. The Bruins are led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (13.9 ppg and 7.5 rbg). Freshmen that have made their presence known early in their career include Regina 'Gigi' Rogers, Nina Earl and Doreena Campbell.

Stanford seems unstoppable right now, but the Bruins would love to start off the year with an upset of their own.

Stay tuned...