The women’s basketball teams of USC and UCLA will start the real season tonight when they meet at 7 at Pauley Pavilion to open Pacific 10 Conference play.
The Trojans (6-4) have won three consecutive games after losing three in a row.
Freshman center Lisa Leslie, who is averaging a team-high 20.8 points and 13.6 rebounds a game, has been a major factor for the Trojans.
But most teams have been successful getting the 6-foot-5 Leslie into foul trouble--she averages only 27.3 minutes a game.
Rehema Stephens has led the Bruins in scoring in every game. Her 29.6-point average is second nationally to the 30.6 of Lisa McMullen of Alabama State. As a team, UCLA (5-5) is averaging 77.6 points. Stephens, at 5-11, also leads the Bruins in rebounds with an 8.6 average. They have not had much of an inside game.
The arrival of volleyball All-American Natalie Williams late last month has helped the Bruins, however. The 6-1 Williams scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds in her debut on Dec. 28 against Utah, and had 13 rebounds in her second game against James Madison.
Williams and 6-4 center Lynn Kamrath will be counted on to pressure Leslie on the inside.