Lady Bears gather energy for battle of the BruinsNov. 18, 2005
by JORDAN DANIEL, sports writer
With the unveiling of three championship banners and the reunion of former Lady Bears basketball greats, it should be a night of celebration when the Lady Bears take on the University of California, Los Angeles, at 7 p.m. today at the Ferrell Special Events Center.
A near-capacity crowd is expected for the battle of the Bruins and the unfurling of the 2005 NCAA, Big 12 Tournament and Big 12 Conference regular season championship banners before the game.
Fox Sports Net will televise the game in Texas, Oklahoma and on the West Coast.
"I'm excited for the fans to come out, see us get back in action and remember what we did last year," senior guard Chameka Scott said. "They're bringing back former players, and it's just going to be a lot of fun. I'm excited for the fans to come and get the spirit back before the UCLA game."
However, the Lady Bears know they will have to keep their focus to get past a UCLA team that features three All-American candidates in the backcourt. The "Triple Threat," as the players have been dubbed, consists of guards Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis.
The trio combined for more than 50 points per contest last season on the way to a 16-12 finish for the Bruins last season while competing in the Pacific-10 Conference. Senior Nikki Blue led the way for UCLA with 17 points per contest.
"Guards have to step up," junior guard Latoya Wyatt said. "We have to help the posts rebound and we know that they have shooters so we're going to have to close out on them, know where they are on the perimeter and slow their game down."UCLA forwards Lindsay Pluimer and Amanda Livingston face one of their toughest challenges all season when they go head-to-head with senior All-American Sophia Young and junior Abiola Wabara.
Both Baylor posts had double-doubles in Sunday's season opener with Georgia.
Wabara poured in 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Young scored a game-high 30 points and pulled down 14 rebounds against fellow National Player of the Year candidate Tasha Humphrey.
"We definitely have an advantage in the post play, and that's obvious because of how much emphasis they put on their guards," Scott said.
"If I was them, I would be worried more about our post play than their strong guards."
Sophomore point guard Angela Tisdale more than proved her worth Sunday versus the Lady Bulldogs, and the Bruins backcourt poses a similar challenge to that of Georgia.
Tisdale rolled up 19 points and nine assists, without turning the ball over the entire game, and sank six consecutive free throws to seal the victory.
"They're quick, but I'll do what I can to keep them in front of me," Tisdale said. "They have their three guards scoring 50 points a game, and we have our two posts scoring a lot, so it probably evens out."
The Lady Bears will not have much time to recuperate after tonight's game. Shortly after the game ends, the team will board a plane and fly to face Indiana University at 5 p.m. Saturday at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.
"We've done it before, playing back-to-back. That's the way the Big 12 Tournament is set up," Scott said.
"I don't think it will be as big of an issue as it's made out to be, especially if we take care of business on Friday."
Parking could prove to be a problem as construction for the new basketball practice facility has eliminated approximately 200 parking spaces previously reserved for the Tip-Off Club, Fast Break Club and the Bear Foundation.
Shuttles will provide transportation to the Ferrell Center from the East Campus Parking Garage beginning 90 minutes before the game.