LOS ANGELES – In her third season, UCLA coach Cori Close has experienced both highs and lows during her time in the first chair. For the second time in three years, the injury bug has bitten the Bruins. Despite that, a renovated Pauley Pavilion and a 2014 recruiting class that is currently the nation’s best gives Close good reason to remain optimistic. We watched this year’s team square off with nationally ranked Colorado on Sunday coming away with several thoughts on the rest of this season and beyond.
1) Nirra Fields is just scratching the surface.
Nirra Fields of Santa Ana, Calif., was an elite high school prospect even being selected for the 2012 McDonald’s All-American Game. The 5-foot-9 sophomore guard scored 20 on that night a couple of years ago so her 23-point performance here came essays done for you as no surprise. She is averaging 17.8 a night on the season. The scary part is that Close and her staff still say that Fields is just beginning to realize the surface of the success that they expect from her as an upperclassmen. Fields is a dominant scorer at the shooting guard position and when dialed in like she was on this night one of the best in the country regardless of class.
2) Foul trouble was about all that could contain Atonye Nyingifa down the stretch.
While Fields serves as the primary playmaker on the perimeter, Atonye Nyingifa of Torrence, Calif., holds down the interior. A rare sixth year senior, it’s been a journey for Nyingifa to reach this point. She had a noteworthy year in 2012-13 and is following it up with another quality season this year. She is averaging 17.1 points per along with 8.5 rebounds and appears to be an all Pac-12 caliber selection in the spring. Every time that essays for university of maryland college park admission the Bruins needed a big play late, Nyingifa delivered with either a basket or a rebound.
3) Injuries can’t hold these Bruins back.
The Bruins lost sophomore wing Kari Korver of Paramount, Calif., and junior forward Kacy Swain of Temecula, Calif., for the season before the first game tipped off. Both of them were projected to play heavy minutes if not start. Another sophomore guard Lauren Holiday of Calabasas, Calif., has battled concussion injuries and missed the majority of the season as well. Led by senior guard Thea Lemberger of Santa Monica, Calif., the Bruins have not used those setbacks as a crutch rather rallying together to win versus Utah and come within a single possession of both Colorado and Southern California.
4) Cori Close has an ideal staff for the pinnacles that they plan to reach.
Close loves to talk about and display the continued desire for the UCLA program to be uncommon. It starts with her and extends to her staff. Her assistant essay writing my hobby reading coaches – Jenny Huth, Tony Newnan and Shannon Perry – are an extension of her constant growth mindset with their positive personalities on and off of the hardwood. Like Close, all three possess an attention to detail that has the Bruins in a good place. That energy also includes the Director of Operations Pam Walker and Video Coordinator Wendale Farrow. Walker is the go-to resource for all things UCLA women’s basketball while Farrow has brought a youthful vibe to the program. In walking around Pauley with Close, it’s easy to see why everyone likes her. She held doors open for complete strangers and spoke to everyone that she came across from ushers to alumni. She is a demanding coach who rarely spends a moment not completely locked in to the task at hand. That drive and focus is why the Bruin faithful should be estatic for the future of the program.
5) It only gets better from here.
We mentioned the incoming class of pay for essay writing 2014 giving UCLA the depth that they have lacked to take the next leap into the nation’s elite. The class is headlined by three top ten ranked recruits in No. 4 Jordin Canada of Los Angeles, Calif., No. 6 Recee Caldwell of San Antonio, Texas and No. 9 LaJahna Drummer of Los Angeles, Calif. The Bruins will also welcome ELITE 60 prospects Monique Billings of Corona, Calif., and Kelli Hayes of San Jose, Calif. In the class of 2015, the staff has been mentioned once again as a possible destination for some of the nation’s prospects including the No. 1 wing in Katie Lou Samuelson of Santa Ana, Calif.
Brandon Clay is the owner of the JumpOffPlus.com International Report, Peach State Basketball, Inc., and ProspectsNation.com. The JumpOffPlus.com is picked up by more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. He serves as the Executive Camp Director for the Elite Basketball Academy Camps. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001. You can reach him at BrandonClay@PeachStateBasketball.com