|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."