Women's Hoops Recruiting

With three out of its four commitments in the Hoopgurlz.com Top 100, UCLA is still in the hunt for one of the biggest impact players still uncommitted in the Class of 2007: Vicki Baugh, the potentially game-altering, 6-foot-4 forward out of Sacramento, Calif., and the #8-ranked player in the class...

Only two players remain in the Class of 2007 who have the ability to make a signing class. One of them, Vicki Baugh, a potentially game-altering, 6-foot-4 forward out of Sacramento, Calif., provides a bit of commentary about the fortunes of UCLA women's basketball recruiting. That is, the Bruins, along with the likes of LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee, still are in the running for Baugh's commitment, along with sister Pac-10 program California.

Vicki Baugh
Baugh, a five-star prospect ranked No. 8 in the HoopGurlz National Hot 100, is as tall as most women's college posts, but is one of the fastest and most athletic players in the country and skilled enough to be projected as a wing on the next level.

Landing a player of Baugh's stature would catapult coach Kathy Olivier's 2007 recruiting class to a high national level. She has six scholarships to offer - with the possibility of a seventh - in 2007. With three prospects already ranked among the country's 100 best, the UCLA class already is more than solid.

The centerpiece so far is Candice Brown, a four-star post prospect out of Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, Calif. Brown is 6-4, smooth on the blocks and considered by HoopGurlz to be one of the most unsung inside prospects on the West Coast. She is No. 62 in the HoopGurlz National Hot 100.

Brown is joined among Bruin commits by her Finest Basketball Club (FBC) teammate Nina Earl, a wing out of Diamond Ranch High in Pomona, Calif. Earl, an extremely athletic 6-1, is No. 73 in the Hot 100. She can come in and immediately make a difference at UCLA on defense and, with development of her shooting and ballhandling, could contribute throughout the lineup.

UCLA's third Hot 100 verbal, Doreena Campbell, is significant because Olivier coaxed her all the way from Alexandria, Va. Campbell was open to the long-distance commitment because she is from a military family and has an aunt who lives in Los Angeles. A four-star guard who is No. 83 overall in the country, the wiry Campbell has a good one- or two-dribble, pull-up jumper, gets to the basketball pretty well, and has the long arms, active hands and feet and fundamental grounding to be a good defender against all but the most athletic guards.

Nina Earl
The Bruins' fourth commitment is from Darxia Morris, a three-star guard from Pasadena, Calif. A club teammate of Brown and Earl, Morris is 5-9, tough and athletic with plenty of potential to be a contributor, even a starter, in the Bruin backcourt.

UCLA also is on the finalist list of Regina Rogers, a 6-4 post from Seattle, Wash. Rogers is built like a linebacker and can be explosive if, in a college environment, she overcomes her chronic issues with conditioning. At No. 42, Rogers would be the highest-ranked Bruin commit, if they don't snare Baugh. UCLA's main competition for Rogers is hometown University of Washington.

In the Pac-10, Stanford (No. 4 Kayla Pedersen, No. 22 Jeanette Pohlen, No. 44 Hannah Donaghe and No. 72. Ashley Cimino) and Washington (No. 35 Kali Bennett, No. 65 Sarah Morton and No. 80 Candace Nichols) are the only other schools with at least three commitments from the Hot 100. The Huskies also still are in the running for Rogers, No. 13 Melissa Jones of Thornton, Colo., and No. 32 Christina Nzekwe of Seattle, Wash.

Baugh may trump them all, of course. She already is devastating in the open floor, as a lead or finisher, and extremely difficult to stop when attacking the basket in halfcourt situations, at least on the high-school level. She is scheduled to visit Oklahoma on Oct. 20, LSU on Oct. 27 and is considered by some to be a lean to Tennessee, but has been an extremely hard recruit to read all summer and into fall.

Adding Baugh to a class that already addresses every position except, possibly, point guard, UCLA would distinguish itself as one of the country's top 10 in 2007.

Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girls basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He can be reached at hoopgurlz@comcast.net.

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