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For week ended January 3, 1999 Posted 22 Jan 1999
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A Mormon Standout at UCLA

Summarized by Leesa Magoch-Johnson

A Shooting High
Orange County CA Register 28Dec98
By Art Thompson III: The Orange County Register

UCLA's Melanie Pearson has honed her shot to near-perfection, but she remains focused on doing the little things.

Whenever a three point shot needs to be made Melanie Pearson is the one to count on. Playing basketball since she was a toddler, Pearson is one of the hardest workers on the team. Last season Pearson set a new school record with 49 three-point field goals. She's also ranked fourth in the Pac-10 when it comes to shooting three point field goals at 45 percent and third at total three-pointers made.

"Mel is our best three-point shooter, and when she's on it really stretches out the defense," says Coach Kathy Olivier. "When she's on, you can tell because she'll hit a substantial amount in a row." Last year it was the Washington schools who felt the full force of her hot streak when they visited Los Angeles last season. Pearson was 5 of 12 on three-pointers against Washington State; 5 of 7 against Washington.

Pearson works hard to make sure she can help out the team. Even on her days off if you ask her where she has been, her response would likely be, "I was hanging out at Pauley Pavillion practicing on my shot." While she's working out she makes sure to think of those three pointers that her team counts on.

A two-time state player of the year at Woodbridge High School, Pearson almost wound up at BYU. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, she also has lots of family in Utah. She decided on UCLA instead for the combination of academic and athletic opportunities, and also for the strong Mormon community nearby. "The most important thing in my life is my religion," Pearson said. "There are a lot of Mormons in the area, and I go to as many activities as I can."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information