W. Hoops: Guard Delivers
Big off Bench
By Bryan Chu
DAILY BRUIN SENIOR STAFF
once it wasn’t Nikki Blue or Lisa Willis that sparked
It was seldom-used Shaina Zaidi.
In UCLA’s loss against USC, the sophomore guard was
the most efficient player for the UCLA women’s basketball
In just eight minutes of play, Zaidi tallied 10 points,
all in the first half. The sophomore connected on two of
three attempts from beyond the arc and sank four of five
“I’ve been on in practice,” Zaidi said.
“I’ve been pretty confident in my shot, so I
knew once I was in there, I just needed to step up, and
I can’t let the team go down because I’m in
“It felt just like practice when Nikki and Lisa pass
me the ball.”
But despite a very productive first half, Zaidi found herself
on the bench for all but 3.8 seconds of the second half,
hoping her number would be called.
“I was definitely ready on the bench, cheering the
team on,” Zaidi said. “The way the game was
going, it was a fast-paced game, possession after possession,
and I just stayed ready.”
Nevertheless, her 10-point performance, which was also a
career-high for Zaidi, was the first time this season a
Bruin reserve has scored in double digits.
Zaidi, who averaged only 1.8 points per game in 4.6 minutes
of play this season, was ready for her opportunity after
Bruin guards Lauren Pedersen and Ortal Oren got into early
foul trouble in the contest.
With Oren picking up three fouls in just two minutes, and
Pedersen collecting a pair of early fouls in the first half,
having to call on Zaidi may have been a blessing in disguise
for UCLA coach Kathy Olivier.
“She did a lot of good things,” Olivier said.
“She stayed out wide and she took the open shot. Shaina
is just going to get better and better and I think that
next year she’ll see more playing time if she continues
“She got us some momentum, which was nice.”
But with the Bruins trailing for the majority of the game,
Olivier felt that there was not an opportune time to put
Zaidi back in after her scoring flurry.
“When I feel like I can use her, I’ll put her
in,” Olivier said. “But in the second half I
didn’t feel like there was an opportunity for her
to get in there. I thought we were in a better flow in the
second half and we were doing some good things.
“She’s going to get more and more opportunities,
she just has to stay ready.”
Though her performance may have been a surprise to those
not familiar with the Bruin sophomore, Zaidi’s teammates
were not at all shocked to see her contribute. In fact,
it was a relief that someone aside from the usual suspects
“Sometimes it’s just unfortunate she’s
a point guard playing behind me,” Blue said. “But
the girl can shoot; she’s one of the best shooters
on the team. I think Shaina has it in her to come out and
score 10 points any night.
“It’s a big boost for us to see someone come
off the bench and score.”
When UCLA faces Arizona State, a team that defeated the
Bruins two times this season, in the Pac-10 Tournament in
the opening round, Zaidi will maintain the same outlook
she always has.
“My teammates know I’m ready,” Zaidi said.
“Whatever to help the team, I’ll do.”
(Courtesy Daily Bruin. The article appeared a couple of