Advertisement

Forward Is Getting Her Points Across : Colleges: After struggling as a UCLA freshman, Amy Jalewalia is showing signs of regaining her high school form.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

UCLA forward Amy Jalewalia may be breaking out of her shell on the basketball court after getting off to a slow start in her college career.

Jalewalia, the state scoring champion as a junior at La Quinta High in Westminster, scored a UCLA career-high 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting last week in a 91-78 victory over Santa Clara.

That might seem like a small accomplishment for the 6-foot-1 sophomore when you compare it to her high school career.

As a high school senior in the 1989-90 season, she averaged 33.5 points a game, the sixth-best average in Southern Section history. She led La Quinta to the 4-A Division sectional championship.

Advertisement

She scored 1,023 points in her last prep season, third on the all-time Southern Section list behind former Riverside Poly standout Cheryl Miller’s 1,197 points in 1981-82 and 1,050 in 1980-81.

Jalewalia’s career scoring average of 29.5 points is third in the section behind the 33.1 of Miller in 1978-82 and the 31.4 of Michelle Carter of Anaheim Magnolia in 1984-86.

Jalewalia once scored 60 points in a game--far short of Miller’s 105 in a 1981-82 game, but a record for Orange County.

But as a freshman at UCLA, Jalewalia struggled to a 7.6-point average last season.

Advertisement

She showed potential by scoring in double figures in 10 games, and five of those 10 were against teams that eventually went to the NCAA tournament.

Despite her career-high performance against Santa Clara, Jalewalia is averaging only 10 points in three games this season. She scored only three in an 80-67 defeat of Pepperdine after she got in early foul trouble and played about 14 minutes. She had only two points in Saturday’s 78-70 loss to UC Santa Barbara and fouled out with 7 minutes 22 seconds to play.

But UCLA Coach Billie Moore has been pleased with Jalewalia’s play thus far. She has noticed a change in her sophomore forward, that she is “much more aggressive, and, I think, has a lot more confidence in her ability to play at this level.”

Jalewalia said there is much more intensity in the college game and she has had to work to improve her defense. She said that sometimes in high school she got by without playing much defense.

Advertisement

Because the intensity level is greater and the games and seasons longer in the collegiate game, “it really makes a difference. You have to put out (a greater effort) all the time, which is more tiring.”

Moore said that Jalewalia, as well as the 10 other underclassmen on last season’s team that finished 15-13, depended on Rehema Stephens to carry most of the offensive load last season.

Stephens led the Pacific 10 Conference in scoring last season with a 25.3-point average. “At times I caught myself watching Rehema,” Jalewalia said. “She’s very good, and I enjoy watching her play and playing with her.”

But Jalewalia asserted that scoring is not the only part of her game. Last season, she said, “I didn’t try not to score but focused on other aspects of the game--rebounding and playing defense against good people.”

Advertisement

She also looked to forward Natalie Williams, also a volleyball All-American on UCLA’s defending NCAA championship team, to do part of the scoring. Williams averaged 14.2 points last season.

Moore said that Jalewalia’s 25-point game against Santa Clara may not be a good indication of what she may do this season because she is playing out of position at power forward.

When the NCAA volleyball playoffs end, Williams will move to power forward, and Jalewalia will go to small forward, her natural position.

Moore said that Jalewalia is far from being only a shooter. She said that Jalewalia has been working hard to improve her ballhandling and, “believe it or not, in improving her shot.”

Advertisement

She said that Jalewalia “is most effective in the open floor, where we can take advantage of her quickness and she can make perimeter shots on drives.”

Jalewalia said that she has worked with weights to improve her strength and endurance, but that she does not want to put on weight to get stronger. “If I gained even 10 pounds, I would lose some of my quickness. That’s an advantage I have, being tall and quick.”

Jalewalia wants to become a physical therapist after college. “The biggest adjustment is juggling both basketball and academics,” she said. “You’ve got to have your priorities straight and take care of business.”

But she is hopeful of continuing her improvement in basketball.

Advertisement

“No matter how good you are, you can always improve some aspect of your game,” she said. “I know I have a long way to go, but I think I’ve come a long way as well.”


Advertisement
Advertisement