Women's Hoops Gets Two Biggies

The UCLA women's basketball team took another step toward getting back to elite status last week when it received a pair of verbals from two talented local players from Orange County, including one top 30 national player...

Lindsey Pluimer, a 6-3 power forward/center from San Clemente High School, gave UCLA coach Kathy Olivier and her staff a verbal commitment Thursday, while Lauren Pedersen, a 5-10 guard from powerhouse Brea-Olinda High School, gave her verbal earlier in the week.

Pluimer is a top 30 recruit in the high school class of 2004, rated as high as No. 20 by one publication and was named for the second consecutive season the Orange County Register Player-of-the-Year after averaging 14 points and 9 rebounds a game last season. Pluimer has lead San Clemente to three consecutive CIF Southern Section Division I-A titles and the Tritons fell one point short of advancing to last year's Division I Southern California Regional championship game.

Coming into this season, the Bruins already have a stellar backcourt presence with sophomore All Pac-10 guard Nikki Blue and freshman high school All America guard Noelle Quinn. However, they are regarded as being a little thin and inexperienced at both the power forward and center positions. Therefore, Pluimer was considered a high-priority recruit for UCLA, according to various sources. She chose UCLA over Stanford, Notre Dame and Georgia.

Pedersen, an All-CIF Southern Section, Division II-A First Team member last season who averaged 13.9 points, 4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 4.6 steals and 1.3 blocks, is known for her leadership, court vision and three-point shooting, which is an area of weakness that the Bruins have had in the past few seasons.

Pedersen's father, Arnold, said, "Lauren chose UCLA because she admires the great sports tradition there. She wants to help bring the women's basketball program to national prominence, and because it's close to home."

He also said that his daughter's final list of schools included Washington, Oregon, University of San Francisco, UCSB, Colorado, Vanderbilt, and Arizona State.

Both Pluimer, Pedersen and freshman forward Amanda Livingston are very familiar with each other and according to Arnold Pedersen, they were teammates on the California SWISH club team. It was arguably one of the best club teams in the country, as it won the prestigious End of the Oregon Trail tournament the past two summers.

"We're both Orange County girls," Pluimer told the Orange County Register when hearing about Pedersen's commitment. "It will be nice because everyone will still be able to watch us play together."

In other women's basketball recruiting news: The Bruins are still in the running for two elite recruits from San Diego: Charde Houston, a 5-11 guard/forward from San Diego High School who is rated as high as the No. 6 rated recruit in the nation by one publication, and 5-10 guard Candice Wiggins from La Jolla Country Day, who is rated No. 9.

Houston has the Bruins on her wish list, but it is not known who leads for her services. UCLA is the only West Coast team she has named. Wiggins is also interested in the Bruins, but some sources say she is leaning toward going to Stanford.

The Bruins are also in the running for one of the top point guards in the country in Newhall Hart High School's Ashlee Trebilcock who is a junior. Trebilcock is also a member of the SWISH club team and some rumors say she may follow in her teammates' footsteps and commit to UCLA. She has been seen at many UCLA games over the past few seasons and one recruiting site has the Bruins listed as one of the schools she is interested in.

For everything you want to know about UCLA Women's Hoops, including more recruiting news, go to UCLA HomeCourt

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