Talking Turkey with UCLA star

first_img “Yeah, I learned to say ‘Merhaba,’ I think that means thank you,” she said. “But I said that for everything. ‘Merhaba’ meant so much stuff.” In which countries would she consider playing? “I would say Russia, because they pay the best,” Willis said. “I’m worried about food everywhere, though.” Also: UCLA’s Ben Kohlloeffel won his third successive men’s tennis title Sunday, beating Pepperdine’s Scott Doerner 6-3, 7-6 (5) at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Indian Wells. Kohlloeffel, who won the ITA Regionals and ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships last fall, received a qualifying wild-card berth for the ATP Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells in March. … The inaugural Pacific-10 rugby championship will be held Saturday and Sunday at UCLA’s North Athletic Field. Top-ranked Cal, which has won 20 of 25 USA Men’s Rugby college titles, is the overwhelming favorite. UCLA is ranked 11th and Washington State 14th. Action begins Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The title game is Sunday at 1:30 p.m. … Pepperdine is the coaches’ pick to win a third successive West Coast Conference baseball title. Loyola Marymount was predicted to finish fourth. … Cal State Northridge was picked to finish last in the Big West Conference baseball race. Cal State Fullerton is the favorite. Ramona Shelburne, (818) 713-3617 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! USA Basketball seemed to know what it was doing. Willis has been on a tear this season. The senior guard from Narbonne High of Harbor City broke the Pacific-10 career steals record (317) a little more than a week ago and is second in the conference in scoring (18.6 points per game), behind reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year Candice Wiggins of Stanford (21.6 ppg). So what did Willis pick up in her time overseas that has helped her this season? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita “I don’t even know what to take from the trip yet, there was just so much,” she said. “I’d never even been out of the country before, except to Tijuana, I guess.” She began the summer with UCLA’s two-week tour of Australia, then headed to Turkey for three weeks with USA Basketball. Willis says her international experience has her thinking about playing overseas when she finishes at UCLA this spring. It also broadened her outlook, although not all of it agreed with her. “The food was not a highlight,” she said. “I’m a very finicky eater in the States, so to go to a foreign country where they couldn’t even tell me if it was beef or steak. … I didn’t eat much except for rice.” She might not have saved any recipes, but she did pick up a little Turkish. center_img It wasn’t so surprising that a UCLA women’s basketball player was chosen to play for the United States at the World University Games last August in Izmir, Turkey. The Bruins possess three of the best guards in the country: Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis. The surprise was that Willis was chosen for the team, ahead of her higher-profile teammates. last_img read more