#31 UCLA Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

UCLA Bruins

Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank # 4 Pac-12 Conference
#31 UCLA Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview
UCLA Team Page


The UCLA Bruins return a very young, but very talented basketball team to the floor in 2013-14. Under the leadership of third-year head coach Cori Close, the Bruins are coming off of a 26 win season that resulted in an NCAA Tournament appearance that ended with a second round loss to Oklahoma. The signature win was in the Pac-12 tournament when the Bruins upset Cal decisively. The bar has been raised for an extended run of excellence in Westwood under the leadership of Coach Close and her staff.

2012-13 Record: 26-8, 14-4
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Cori Close
Coach Record: 40-24 at UCLA, 40-24 overall

The Bruins overall were very good defensively, causing havoc for their opponents with just under 18 turnovers per game in 2012-13. That is outstanding as it allows for transition baskets to take the pressure off of having to execute as well in the half-court offense.  The veteran returning starters are going to be very important for the Bruins this season as this young core develops. Senior guard Thea Lemberger is going to be counted on heavily to provide leadership on the floor and continue her strong, steady play from a year ago.  Antonye Nyingifa will be the anchor down low, controlling the glass and building on her nearly 12 points per game until some of the younger post players, such as newcomer Luiana Livulo, can adjust to the rigors of Pac-12 play.   

The Bruins have to be better from behind the three point arc in 2013-14. That challenge has gotten more difficult with the loss of Kori Karver, the team’s best perimeter shooter, for the season with an ACL injury. The ability to get someone else to step up like a Nirra Fields, who shot 36.5 percent from three point range, will be very vital for UCLA. It will be important to get increased production from Fields so that opposing defenses don’t just pack it in and dare the Bruins to beat them from the outside. Another point of emphasis will be taking care of the basketball more effectively this season as last year UCLA turned the ball over 17.9 time per contest with just over 16 assists per game. The turnover number needs to come down below the assist number to maximize the Bruins effectiveness offensively.

Final Projection:
The Bruins kick off the season with a great test as they travel to Nebraska to open up the Huskers new Pinnacle Bank Arena on November 8th. The rest of the non-conference schedule is loaded as well. North Carolina visits Pauley Pavilion on November 17th and a rematch with Oklahoma from the 2012 NCAA Tournament looms the following Sunday. In addition, a trip to powerhouse Notre Dame will give the Bruins another of many chances to build up an excellent RPI in preparation for conference play. In conference play the task for the Bruins is simply to continue to close the gap on Stanford and Cal, and build off of the victory against Cal in the Pac-12 tournament and nearly beating Stanford in the championship game. If UCLA can claw out a win or two against Stanford and Cal they should be right in the mix for the championship with a chance to be considered for one of the top four lines seeding wise come NCAA Tournament time.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Thea Lemberger, Senior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Nirra Fields, Sophomore, Guard, 7.8 points per game
Dominique Williams, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Antonye Nyingifa, Redshirt Senior, Forward, 11.6 points per game
Luiana Livulo, Junior. Center. DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.5 (67th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.4 (138, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.2 (51, 3)
Field-Goal Defense:  36.5 (61, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game:  2.9 (323, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.4 (NR, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.0 (171, 6)
Rebound Margin: 7.2 (20, 4)
Assists Per Game: 16.4 (16, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.9 (226, 10)


See All Top 44 Women’s Basketball Previews