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Pro Bruin Rundown: Samantha Mewis wins player of the year, Jrue Holiday donates remaining NBA salary

Former UCLA women’s soccer midfielder Samantha Mewis took home the 2020 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award Saturday. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Diego Farinha

Dec. 21, 2020 5:13 p.m.

As college sports continue to be pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic, professional leagues have restarted. Each Monday, Daily Bruin Sports will highlight a few standout alumni performances from the past week in ongoing leagues as we await the return of university athletics.

Samantha Mewis, Manchester City; Jessie Fleming, Chelsea, FA Women’s Super League

This yearโ€™s U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year reigns from Westwood.

Former UCLA women’s soccer midfielder Samantha Mewis took home this prestigious award as she bested the four other finalists, including former Bruin teammate Abby Dahlkemper.

Mewis recorded eight caps for the USWNT and transitioned from playing in the National Women’s Soccer League for the North Carolina Courage to playing in the FA Womenโ€™s Super League for Manchester City.

The 2014 Pac-12 Player of the Year netted two goals in her previous three club games and can continue her run of form into next year when Manchester City resumes play on Jan. 9 against West Ham United.

On Wednesday night in England, midfielder Jessie Fleming earned her first career start for Chelsea in its second leg UEFA Women’s Champions League fixture against SL Benfica.

Following her Champions League debut as a substitute in the 5-0 victory one week prior, the two-time MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist remained on the pitch for all 90 minutes in the Bluesโ€™ 3-0 win, helping the club advance to the competitionโ€™s round of 16.

The Canadian international played in 75 matches during her collegiate career from 2016-2019 at UCLA. So far, for her English club, Fleming has recorded eight appearances across all competitions and has already won a trophy, the FA Womenโ€™s Community Shield.


Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks; Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers; T.J. Leaf, NBA

The Holiday family is in the holiday spirit.

In an Instagram post Saturday, Bruin alumni, Jrue Holiday โ€“ a guard for UCLA men’s basketball from 2008-2009 โ€“ and his wife Lauren Holiday โ€“ a midfielder for UCLA women’s soccer from 2006-2009 โ€“ announced they would donate the remainder of their 2020 NBA salary to Black-owned small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement follows the former Bruin guard’s recent arrival to the Milwaukee Bucks, who held the NBA’s best regular-season record โ€“ 56-17 โ€“ last year.

Elsewhere in the family, Jrueโ€™s two younger brothers, Justin Holiday and Aaron Holiday, started the final two preseason games together for the Indiana Pacers.

Aaron โ€“ the Pac-12’s 2017-2018 leading scorer as a member of the Bruins โ€“ started all three preseason games for Indiana, racking up 26 points in 80 minutes. The youngest Holiday brother recorded 16 of his 26 total preseason points, which included four 3-pointers, in the Pacers’ 116-106 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 14.

Every Milwaukee-Indiana matchup this upcoming season will be a family affair after Jrue’s addition to the Bucks.

One former Bruin had a short stay in Oklahoma City.

Nearly a month after acquiring T.J. Leaf from the Indiana Pacers, the Oklahoma City Thunder have waived the power forward, the team announced Friday.

Leaf played 17 minutes in the Thunderโ€™s opening preseason win against the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 12th. He recorded eight points and five rebounds off the bench while maintaining a plus-12 plus-minus but only logged six minutes of action in the teamโ€™s final two preseason exhibitions before being released.

The former All-Pac-12 selection and 18th overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft is now a free agent with the start of the season just a day away.

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Diego Farinha | Sports reporter
Farinha is currently a Sports reporter on the women's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer beat.
Farinha is currently a Sports reporter on the women's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer beat.
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