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The Waves continue bringing the heat as they completed their fourth game on the road -- an exciting victory against UT Martin on Saturday -- moving the team to 2-2 on the season. Within the streak of road games, sophomore Allie Green has stepped up as a leader by making huge contributions.

Green led the team in their win over UC Irvine last Wednesday with 20 points. Although the Waves fell to Iowa on Friday, Green still contributed 16 points as the leading scorer. She also added 11 points in the most recent victory over UT Martin.

Even though having five away games in a row may seem daunting, Green views it positively.

"Our coach scheduled games on the road so we could build team chemistry," she said. "It has helped a lot; we hang out with each other all the time."

The biggest change she has seen from last season to this one is the team dynamic. She said she attributes the team's success so far to the time spent together.

"We all complement each other on and off the court," Green added. "Off the court we are always laughing with each other and there is never a moment of conflict."

The team heads to Cal Poly on Tuesday for their fifth consecutive road game. Green plans on staying focused and energized just like any other game.

"I want to have the same mindset as I've had with the previous games and to contribute as much as I can to the team," she said.

The women's basketball team fought hard in its regular-season opener against #16 Nebraska on the road Saturday -- which ended in a 100-65 loss. Coach Ryan Weisenberg commented on some of the valuable lessons learned from this experience and what the team is working on before heading to UC Irvine on Wednesday:

Q: After opening the season against Nebraska, what do you think the girls learned from playing such a tough competitor?

A: There are a couple of things that we learned. First, playing a team that is No. 16 in the country really opens your eyes to what you have to do if you want to compete with those types of teams. I thought that in the first half we played really well. We were right up with them and there were a couple of baskets that could have gone either way -- but we learned how to play to that competition.

Also, it was nice to get out on the road. We are going to play in more arenas like that so it gives us an early indicator of what we did well and what we didn't do well so that we can come to practice and fix it. Playing them brought us together as a team. Nebraska is a good team that executes well, and instead of us dropping our heads, we actually played a little bit harder. I'd rather do this now than when going into the WCC because this is great preparation.

Q: Ea Shoushtari was the high scorer Saturday with 19 points. How would you describe her role on the team?

A: I think she's our go-to player right now. She is consistent on both ends. Ea was up against Nebraska's best player and I think she did a really good job on her defensively. Offensively we can count on her to get us a basket when we have those lulls. When the other team was doing well on defense she was still able to get to the basket and make things happen. Once Ea gets going, everyone else gets going as well.

Q: Which areas of the game were you satisfied with and which ones do you want to focus on going into the game against UC Irvine?

A: Offensively I was really satisfied with the way we moved the ball -- we distributed it, hit some shots and got it both inside and outside. We did a really good job against a really good defensive team.

We just spent an hour-and-a-half long practice on defense. Nebraska had us basically like we were yo-yos, spinning us wherever they wanted us to go. We had to go back and reteach the fundamentals of how we dictate what happens on offense instead of reacting to everything.  We need to make them do what we want.


Pepperdine's regular season starts on Saturday! Before that, here's a quick Q&A with another one of the newcomers, freshman guard Kim Jacobs.

Year: Freshman

Major: Undeclared

Hometown: Agoura Hills, Calif.

How did you choose Pepperdine? I was the first freshman to commit. Pepperdine was the last school I looked at and I chose it because I love the beach and wanted to stay close to home. Also, the coaches and team are awesome.

What do you like best about it and what has been the hardest adjustment? The best part is the team -- they are hilarious and constantly make me laugh. The hardest part is adjusting to college basketball because it is a lot more intense.

What expectations do you have for your freshman year playing college basketball? Freshmen don't always make the biggest impact because we don't play a lot, but hopefully I'll get some playing time to get used to the higher level of intensity.

Who is your role model and why? My mom is my role model because she has always been there for me.

What do you do to get yourself pumped up before a game? I listen to music and sing along.

When you aren't playing basketball or doing school work, where can people find you? I would be sleeping, eating, hanging out with friends or watching Netflix. I also enjoy going to the beach and paddle boarding.

On Saturday, the women's basketball team defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills with a final score of 79-68 in the Waves' home exhibition game.

Four players scored in double-digits, including senior Bria Richardson and freshman Kim Jacobs. Richardson led the team with 21 points.

"It's always great to win; it gave us a lot of motivation going into our season opener against Nebraska," Richardson said. "The team exceeded the expectations that I had."

She commented that a major factor in having a successful season is consistently getting everyone to contribute.

"Having several players make double digits says a lot -- we are a team, we share the ball, everyone has to score," Richardson said. "The responsibility doesn't just fall on one person, which is going to make us hard to defend."

Richardson added that the focus of this season is coming out hard, aggressive and fast after halftime, which the Waves did on Saturday as they scored 47 second-half points. Head coach Ryan Weisenberg also wants to work on transition defense and rebounding before the next game.

The women's team will head to Nebraska this Saturday for their regular-season opener.

As the Waves prepare for their Friday season opener against Fresno State, head coach Marty Wilson is confident his team is ready for battle.

"The team is looking good," Wilson said. "Stacy Davis is back from injury, so having him back in practice and allowing the new guys to get comfortable on the floor with him has been great. We're getting better every day."

Although Wilson has yet to solidify a starting lineup, he emphasized the importance of a strong start to the season and maximum effort from all his players.

Said Wilson: "It's always important to start off strong because that builds confidence, both on the floor and in the locker room, especially with a young team. It's important that we play well, play smart and play together and gain some confidence. We hope the veterans do what's expected of them, which will ease the nerves of the new guys."

With the Waves starting the season with their first three games in five days, fatigue will certainly play a part in the team's opening stretch, but Wilson is looking to take those challenges in stride.

"It's hard to say right now what strategy I'll take regarding minutes," Wilson said. "It depends on how we do. We will do a better job of preserving their bodies in practice and focus on postgame stretching and icing."

One of the most important things Wilson emphasized was fan support.

"We want people excited and coming to the games," Wilson stated. "If they show up the guys will get excited and it will bring the most out of the players in terms of energy and competitiveness. We need our students to try to build a home-court advantage."

Following their Friday night game against Fresno State, the Waves host Cal Lutheran on 11/17 and travel to face San Jose State on 11/19.

With just about one week left of practice before the Pepperdine men's basketball team plays its first game (Friday, Nov. 14, vs. Fresno State in Firestone Fieldhouse), head coach Marty Wilson conducted this Q&A about what the team looks like:

Q: How has preseason training been going and what aspects of the game are you focusing on?

A: Training has been good. Our main mindset is picking up the pace and challenging our guys to run hard and push it faster because we want to play at a faster pace. We have more talent and quickness this season with our guards, Jeremy [Major] and Amadi [Udenyi], and also Shawn [Olden] and Atif [Russell]. We want to play faster, but we have to take care of the ball.

Q: What are your goals for this season?

A: Get better -- that's it -- get better and be better than we were last year. I never say we are going to win 'X' amount of games or lose 'X' amount because there are so many unpredictable things that happen during the course of the season. I go into every game thinking we win it until we lose it.

Q: How do you keep team morale high in tough times?

A: You know, it depends on what's going on during that particular time. I'm a pretty positive and enthusiastic guy; I try and highlight good things the guys have done on the court and I'm a big believer in positive and constructive criticism. I always try to praise guys in front of the team.

Q: Has the team philosophy changed?

A: Offensively it has. Our talent level is a lot better this year and the guys from last year have more experience. Our style of play will change. I want to emphasize pushing the ball and playing at a faster pace. We want to wear teams out. Our players have to make better reads but they will have more freedom within a structure. I think it's a better way to play.

Defensively it's the same. We're going to compete and be physical; individual and team pride is always important. I always put an importance on defense in practice.

Q: How will you build on your successes and improve on failures from last season?

A: I think what really helps is the young guys from last year getting older and gaining experience. Everyone understands what's expected of them; that helps build repetition, which will ultimately help lead to successes. We are gradually working the young guys in and seeing where they fit in and blend in. I think the scrimmages help players and coaches decide what they expect as far as playing time, and their role on the team, whether it be a scorer, role player, defender, or shooter.

Q: Who are you looking to be your leaders on the floor and in the locker room?

A: Well, Stacy [Davis] of course. He's always been the one to step up vocally in practice and during games. Another person I look to, though, is Jett [Raines]. Jett's always been pretty quiet so I always like to hear him speak up. When he talks everyone listens. Jeremy and Amadi also have to lead out there. As the guards, they always need to have a voice on the floor. That's really important.

Q: What can fans expect from this season?

A: They can expect that our team will compete. That's a big word for me. I think they can expect to have more fun watching the games, will be more entertaining. I think it will make them want to come back.

Before the women's basketball team faces Cal State Dominquez Hills in the team's first home exhibition game Saturday, freshman Devin Stanback sat down to share some information about herself and her experience at Pepperdine so far.

Year: Freshman

Major: Business, but plans to switch to liberal arts

Hometown: West Hills, Calif.

How did you choose Pepperdine? When I came here I immediately fell in love with the campus, but I tried not to think about that so much as the team. The team and coaches were a huge factor in me coming here. I met all of the coaches and I love each and every one of them. Also, I got to hang out with the team and they were so fun to be around -- so I knew this is where I wanted to be.

What do you like best about it and what has been the hardest adjustment? The hardest part is having early classes and lots of practice; it's hard to manage time with everything going on. You have to make sure you're studying at certain times instead of going out. My favorite part is just being on the team. We are trying to build up the program and it's going to be great within the next couple of years so I'm excited to be a part of it.

What expectations do you have for your freshman year playing college basketball? I think as a freshman you're coming in to prove yourself, so trying to work hard both on and off the court. Also trying to show the coaches and team what you're capable of -- so hustling all the time and getting rebounds.

Who is your role model and why? My role model is my mom. I look up to her so much because she inspires me to be the best that I can be. I know that she's gone through tough times but she has always persevered through it so I know that I can do that as well.

What do you do to get yourself pumped up before a game? I listen to fast-paced music and stretch.

When you aren't playing basketball or doing school work, where can people find you? Sleeping.

 

With the women's first home exhibition game less than two weeks away, Bria Richardson discussed how the team has been preparing, her journey at Pepperdine and goals for her senior year.

Q: What has the team been working on as the upcoming season approaches?

A: We have been focusing on defense, communication, and not allowing teams to walk all over us like last season.

Q: As the leading scorer of last season (averaging 16.9 points per game), how do you hope to carry this momentum toward impacting your team this year?

A: More than me scoring, it's about my teammates being able to hit open shots to take the focus off of me. As long as my teammates continue doing a great job, that will allow me to play at my full potential.

Q: Throughout the past three years playing for Pepperdine, what memory stands out to you the most?

A: Meeting people who will be my lifelong friends, not just teammates, through the women's basketball program. My best memories include the team bonding that has helped us become a family.

Q: What advice would you give to your freshman teammates?

A: I would advise them to stick through it because it's not easy, but definitely worth it. The key to being successful in college is perseverance.

Q: Last year you earned "bronze honors" on the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll. How do you balance your time between basketball and academics?

A: Balancing academics and athletics is a challenge, but I think I do a great job at it because I'm an efficient time manager. I write everything down and I enjoy checking items off of my to-do list. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your senior year?

A: I am looking forward to winning more games this season.

 

Pepperdine students and fans welcomed the start of basketball season Friday night during the annual Blue & Orange Madness event. The women's basketball team held a three-point shooting competition for the enthusiastic crowd that filled Firestone Fieldhouse. Senior Ea Shoushtari defeated two of her teammates to come out on top.

"I hit six shots in a row and the crowd was going crazy. It pumps you up to keep making them," Shoushtari said.

As a shooting guard she is accustomed to taking outside shots. Shoushtari made 59 three-pointers last year, fourth-most in program history.

"It's always great having the crowd, they give you energy," said Shoushtari, who explained that participating in Blue & Orange Madness is a great way to get the team excited for the season.

Another inspiring event for the team this week was attending the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for Jennifer Lacy -- a former Wave and the first women's basketball player from the West Coast Conference to make it to the WNBA.

"It was really awesome meeting her," Shoushtari said. "At first Jennifer Lacy didn't really know where she was headed, but she ended up traveling the world doing what she loves."

Lacy gave the women's team advice to work hard and follow their dreams. Going into her senior year, Shoushtari is taking this by heart as she sets expectations for the upcoming season.

"We want to make it to postseason as a team," she said. "I haven't made it since I was a freshman, so that's definitely something I would like to accomplish for my senior year."

With four weeks left of preseason basketball and practice, the men's basketball team is actively preparing for the start of the 2014-15 season. The Waves do so, however, with star forward Stacy Davis sidelined with a fractured hand.

The injury occurred in a workout while defending another teammate.

"I was trying to steal the ball while playing defense, and as I swiped for the ball one of my teammates came over and I jammed my hand into his body," Davis said.

Davis is taking his injury in stride and does not expect to have any limitations once returning to the court.

"I'll get the cast off in about a week and then start the rehab process to regain the strength back in my hand, which will take about four weeks. I'll be good to go once the season starts," Davis said.

Despite having an injury, Davis remains an active voice in practice while improving his shooting with his left hand and participating in conditioning drills to remain in top shape.

In his first two seasons with the Waves, Davis has averaged 11.2 and 15.1 points per game, respectively, and has a total of 806 total career points. Davis, with two more years like his sophomore season, would be on pace to break the all-time Pepperdine scoring record of 1,701 points, held by Dane Suttle (1980-83).

"Breaking the record would mean a lot to me," Davis said. "When I came to Pepperdine my mindset was to leave the program better than I found it. Putting my name in the history books would be great."

With the Waves opening the season Nov. 14 at home against Fresno State, Davis has high hopes for the 2014-15 campaign.

"The minimal expectation is to improve from last season; that's always the goal. We always shoot to be top three in the league," Davis said. "We want to take the basketball program to a different level and to one that hasn't been seen in a while. That's what it's all about."

With only a few weeks left before the start of the season, Pepperdine women's basketball coach Ryan Weisenberg gave an update on the team's progress and expectations for their upcoming season:

Q: How has preseason training been going and what aspects of the game are you focusing on?

A: Preseason has been going really well. I think the girls are coming into their own. In the weight room, on the track, and just conditioning altogether, I think we are doing a good job. We are beyond where I thought we would be. That is a little bit of a relief and a good thing to build on.

In the gym we are focusing on execution. We have a game plan and we put in only so many offenses and defenses before our first real game against Nebraska on Nov. 15, so it doesn't overload the kids but it gives them the tools to be successful in any situation that is thrown at us. We'll be able to evaluate after the first game and then we will start adding chunks as we go -- it will probably be every couple of weeks. But right now I feel really solid about where we are at in our learning curve.

Q: You have several new players this year. How are they contributing to the team dynamic?

A: They will contribute right away. Our three freshmen are going to be relied on to play some big minutes for us. Devin Stanback, who is one of our post players, was recruited late and she is going to be a handful for teams. She is very good on the offensive side and defensively she is coming into her own so we are excited about her potential.

Kim Jacobs, who is one of the recruits we went after hard last year, is a great shooter and great offensive player. Same thing; once she starts getting into her defensive mindset she is going to be difficult to take off the floor.

Olivia Ogwumike is probably our most athletic player on the floor and our longest player. She is going to create defensive matchups that we didn't have before where we can put her on a point guard all the way up to a post player. Olivia is a great rebounder and is really showing her IQ on the defensive end. She is a smart kid and a smart player, so we are really excited.

Our new kids are all going to contribute. Krista Pettepier, who is our 6-foot-3-inch transfer from Pittsburgh, is extremely smart and tough. She is picking up things well and making her teammates better around her. You can't really ask for anything more.

Q: After your first season as head coach, what have you learned and what are your expectations for the upcoming season?

A: First off, it's the buy-in. We wanted the girls to absolutely buy-in to Pepperdine women's basketball. We have to restructure the culture of the team and we saw that happening; it is a constant build but the girls have bought in. They want to be here, they want to compete. We are bringing in players that are going to compete right away with them -- so our freshmen and transfers that are coming in are going to push the girls that were already here. It is a building process, not just on the basketball court but also in the locker room and off the court. That is the biggest thing I am looking at: changing the culture and making it a competitive one. Accountability, team first and competition are three big core values.

Q: This Friday the women's basketball team is participating in Pepperdine's Blue and Orange Madness. What can fans expect from the team?

A: We are going to be really exciting. We have three great seniors in Bria Richardson, Ea Shoushtari and Tessa Emerson. Bria and Ea are going to be one of the more exciting backcourts on the West Coast. They are extremely quick and very good offensive-minded players. I think what people overlook is that they are great defensive players, so we are going to have a very solid, experienced backcourt.

We are going to be way more competitive than we were last year and fans are going to get to know these players. We want to get their faces out there so you recognize who you are cheering for. That's been a big thing for our program -- we don't want anyone to think that we are divas. We want to make sure that they know we are Waves just like them and we want them out there supporting us and in turn we support our other Waves.  

We did an offseason Q&A session with Pepperdine men's basketball coach Marty Wilson to talk about what's happening this summer and next year's team:

Q: After a few last minute roster changes, how do you feel about the team as your prepare for next year?

A: I'm feeling really good about everything, even after the loss of some great players. I am excited for our returning players this season. Stacy Davis received all-conference honors last year and we are going to continue to challenge him. Jeremy Major started every game and had more assists than any other freshman in Pepperdine history. We are hoping to take another big step with our leading players. Jett Raines, Amadi Udenyi, Marley Biyendolo, Lamond Murray Jr. and David Jesperson should play bigger roles next season.

We have spent some time talking to Lamond and coaching and challenging him, and he is going to come back even stronger than last year. We are also going to be challenging Atif Russell on defense, where he can have the most success. Both Atif and Lamond are great athletes and their true athleticism really plays out on the court and helps make the team stronger all around.

Incoming freshman Nate Gehring recently had surgery on his right shoulder but is already ahead in his rehabilitation and will continue his rehab when he arrives in Malibu next month. He will gradually begin conditioning and skill work when his body allows him. Ryan Keenan is a very strong player who is extremely tough and physical and not afraid to mix things up. He's a big guy, not slow, and has no problem getting up and down the court

A.J. Lapray is transferring from the University of Oregon and he's an older player with a lot of talent and experience, and is definitely going to be an asset to our team. I'm excited about A.J. John's athleticism and skill, he's got a great upside and can become a very good player. Shawn Olden was a great get for us late in the process, and he has an opportunity to come in as a freshman and compete right away for valuable minutes due to his ability to score and defend.

Q: What is the team focusing on this summer?

A: Right now it's quiet. Jett and Marley are the only players here before everyone else arrives in June. They are training eight hours a week, with six hours of lifting and conditioning and two hours on the court. This summer the team will work twice a week with our staff on the court, and with our strength and conditioning coach Matt Young four days a week lifting and conditioning on the beach. We are going to focus specifically on the individual growth of the players, as well as improve collectively both offensively and defensively.

One of our biggest focuses this summer is going to be on changing our defensive mindset. Last year I was not satisfied, especially late season, in how our team defended and our urgency. We will focus a lot on defense this summer and that focus will also carry over into the season.

Q: As the team reunites this summer and welcomes the freshman players, what do you hope to see the veterans teaching their new teammates?     

A: The successful transition of our new players is a top priority this summer. I was talking to Stacy about his role as a team leader, and really stressed the importance of reaching out to the new players, not just on social media and through texting, but by physically picking up the phone and calling them. It is very important that the players are able to develop a genuine bond with one another, and it is the job of the veteran players to act as role models and educate the new players. Establishing trust and building unity early on is only going to make our team stronger.

The veteran players will utilize the summer to teach the new players about the campus, show them where their classes are, where the shuttle is and how everything around Pepperdine works. The freshmen players are going to learn how our team is run, and what it is like being on the court in the heat of the battle. Our coaches and staff are really going to take the time during this summer period to spend time with the players both on and off the court.

Q: You recently went in for surgery to clean up an old knee injury. How is your recovery?

A: My recovery is great. I've been in the training room getting treatment. My stitches were taken out yesterday. I'm feeling good and on the bike everyday. My surgery was pretty minor and easy but Coach (Bryant) Moore tore his patellar tendon during an adult-league game and has a major six-to-eight month road to recovery ahead. He received 25-30 stitches and is currently in a brace and unable to drive. He is very passionate and energetic on the court but it will be tougher this summer for him due to his injury.

Q: What does your summer schedule look like right now?

A: Our staff is preparing for next year and really focusing on video and breaking down strengths and weaknesses and areas of improvement. I was planning on scheduling a staff retreat where we would all take a few days and analyze videos and practices from last season, but with Coach Moore's injury we might stay a little more local and plan something up at the Drescher campus for a few days so it's easier for him to move around. I believe that changes definitely need to be made, but it is essential that we have video confirming why a change is necessary. That will allow us to discuss and debate, and change and fix things as necessary.

Pepperdine had its most successful season since 2005 and finished with 15 wins. The Waves finished fifth in the West Coast Conference. Sophomore forward Stacy Davis was the first All-WCC first team selection for Pepperdine since 2005, Brendan Lane was named Defensive Player of the Year and also received a spot on the All-WCC honorable mention team, and freshman Jeremy Major was named to the WCC All-Freshman team.

The Waves fell short to Saint Mary's in the quarterfinals in the WCC Championships, but were able to celebrate finishing in the top half of the conference.

"We played well," said Pepperdine Coach Marty Wilson about the SMC game. "We scrambled a couple times in the game, allowing the Gaels to hit three's, and they took full advantage of every opportunity and were extremely confident. Unfortunately, it ended up being a little too late for our team to make the comeback that we needed, and it was hard to end the season with a loss, while also having to say goodbye to such great seniors."

The team's camaraderie this season played an essential role in the Waves' success.

Said Wilson: "What really made the team different this season was the chemistry. A lot of times, there are teams where players disagree and bicker, but as a whole, we never had that issue. Our team genuinely liked each other both on and off of the court, and that played a large role on how they were able to work together in games and be successful. The team leadership this season was also a tremendous advantage."

Lane, Malte Kramer and Nikolas Skouen all have played their final games as Waves.

"It was really hard to lose the last game, especially knowing that it would be the last game for our seniors," Wilson said. "It was difficult seeing the emotions of the seniors, and how the younger players reacted to their feelings, because it truly showed how much the younger players looked up to them. There was a time where I, myself had to turn away and hold back tears. As coaches, we all go through times like this where we have to say goodbye to players who are both quality people and players. It's a tough goodbye, but we were lucky to have such great role models for the younger players."

Though the season has come to an end, the Waves will soon begin preparation for next season.

"We will have a staff meeting, where we will collectively review players and film," said Wilson. "We've got a better understanding now of what our younger players are capable of and where we can incorporate them. We'll take a look at the team's strengths and weaknesses and actively continue the high school recruiting process for future classes."

The 2013-14 season ended for men's basketball on Saturday with the Waves falling short to fourth-seeded Saint Mary's in the WCC quarterfinals in Las Vegas. Both teams had slow starts offensively, and then the Waves trailed the Gaels by 13 points at halftime, and by as many as 16 points in the second half. The Waves were able to bring the deficit down to seven points later in the period, but were unable to overcome Saint Mary's, which advanced to the semifinals after defeating Pepperdine 80-69.

Pepperdine's record of 15 wins is the team's most since the 2005 season, making this year the Waves' best season in nearly a decade.

"I could definitely feel the difference between regular season and postseason play," said freshman point guard Amadi Udenyi, who led the Waves with 13 points against Saint Mary's. "I really realized how big of a deal this tournament was and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to compete there."

Udenyi suffered a knee injury earlier in the season. He said: "I feel like my injury stunted my growth as a player at the beginning, but once I was healthy and back on the court, I really began to appreciate and enjoy the team and develop strong relationships with both my teammates and the coaching staff. It has been a really fun season, and it's tough saying goodbye to Brendan (Lane), Niko (Skouen), and Malte (Kramer). All three of them really took it upon themselves to be leaders and really took the time to teach all of the new players how to properly work out, train and take care of our bodies. They are great role models, and I am lucky to have been given the opportunity to play with them."

All-West Coast Conference first team honoree Stacy Davis also reflected on Saturday's game: "I thought everyone played hard and gave it their all. Unfortunately we were unable to come back from the deficit that was established in the first half, but Coach (Marty) Wilson always explains to the team the importance of putting forth the maximum amount of effort and bringing everything to the court. As a team, I really felt that we all did that, and even though we didn't get the results we had hoped, we have no regrets about the way we played. It's all about seeing the light in every dark situation. Everything is an ongoing process of improvement. This season especially, having a large amount of young players that were able to make such an impact so early on, shows just how competitive our team will be in the coming years."

Davis stepped up this season as a leader, but credits his success to his teammates.

"This year was a good year, I've definitely improved since my freshman year, but I owe all of my success to my teammates and team staff," he said. "The seniors, Brendan, Niko, and Malte really provided our team with the leadership that we needed. It had been my goal this season to become more of a team player, and someone that my teammates could look up to, and I would not have been able to make that possible without the seniors. We are all already excited for next season and working out this summer and improving. We're ready to bring Pepperdine back into the spotlight."

 

The postseason will begin on Saturday for Pepperdine, as the fifth-seeded Waves will compete against fourth-seeded Saint Mary's in the quarterfinals of the WCC Championships in Las Vegas. Pepperdine's current 15 overall wins make this season the team's best since 2004-05.

"We had a short but intense practice yesterday," Pepperdine Coach Marty Wilson said. "We need to play with the same level of aggressiveness and passion that we do at our practices in order to finish the season off strong."

This season has been an adjustment for many of the team's younger players.

"Many of our players this season had to learn what competing at the college level was like," Wilson said. "Understanding the grit, intensity and dedication that goes into the sport at this level takes time and does not just pertain to on-the-court conditioning, but sleeping patterns, grades, social life and mental health."

Through the entire learning process, the team has been able to come out stronger and more reliant on one another.

Said Wilson: "We have had a lot of ups and downs this year. Unfortunately we had quite a few injuries, beginning with Jett Raines and Amadi Udenyi, and later followed by Malcolm Brooks and Brendan Lane. We have had to move bodies around a lot but the players have become more versatile and are able to utilize their strengths and abilities on the court."

The team's leadership this season has also greatly influenced the Waves' success. Sophomore forward Stacy Davis is the first All-WCC first team selection for Pepperdine since 2005, Brendan Lane was named Defensive Player of the Year and also received a spot on the All-WCC honorable mention team, and freshman Jeremy Major was named to the WCC All-Freshman team.

"Our team's accomplishments this season have been valiant," Wilson said. "Two out of our three players honored this season have at least two more years on the team."

As the Waves prepare for Saturday's matchup against the Gaels, the team will collectively create goals that they hope to achieve at the tournament, while also watching and analyzing game film. Wilson's main goal for the tournament is "to get the team back on track, and play with the same amount of heart and aggressiveness as we do at practice, while also making sure that we continue to play unselfishly. We hope that our efforts and determination will pay off and give us another opportunity to play again on Monday."

Saturday's (March 8) matchup against Saint Mary's at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas will begin at approximately 8 p.m. on ESPN2. There will be also be audio-only WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com with Al Epstein on the call for both men's and women's games.

 

With the Waves heading into postseason play and the season nearing its end, the team will soon say goodbye to its three graduating seniors: Brendan Lane, Malte Kramer and Nikolas Skouen. Following their final home game on Saturday, the players reflected on their season and experiences and explain what playing basketball at Pepperdine has meant to them.

Q: How did it feel playing in your final game at Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday night?

Malte: It was both really exciting and very sad all at the same time. It was fun during the game because I was focused and enjoying every moment on the court and my mind was focused on the game, but then when the game was over it hit me that it was the last time I would be playing there, and it was a bittersweet moment.

Nikolas: My mind was in the game the whole time, and it was difficult when we didn't come out with a victory, but our team came together and I was really able to appreciate the time we all had together. It was a weird kind of feeling I had after the game though, realizing that it would be my last game at Pepperdine forced me to come to terms with the fact that my time on the team is ending.

Brendan: It was definitely a thrill. It's crazy because I feel like I've been in college for so long, and realizing that it's all coming to an end is still unreal to me right now.

Q: What has been your favorite part about playing basketball at Pepperdine?

Malte: The camaraderie has definitely been my favorite part about playing basketball at Pepperdine. The team has been so lucky to have great players with personalities that work so well together. The group this year has been one of the best, and we have such an amazing group of guys. I'm really lucky to have been able to play on a team with people that I have such a deep amount of love and respect for.

Nikolas: Pepperdine has such a solid team. Everyone gets along really well, and the respect that we have for one another doesn't just stay on the court, but it also carries into our lives as students. The team has not only allowed me to grow as a player, but also gave me the opportunity to make lifelong friends that I now consider my family.

Brendan: The people. My teammates, the coaches, it's all really been a family experience. Everyone gets along really well and genuinely cares for one another. It has really made my experience on the team a great one, and the bonds I've formed with my coaches and teammates are solid.

Q: What is your most memorable experience during your years on the team?

Malte: The team trip to Hawaii where I played in my first game after recovering from my knee injury. It was a special game for me because I was finally able to play, and I felt great knowing that I had contributed to our team's win after having been injured for an extended amount of time.

Nikolas: I will always remember the games we played against BYU. Last year I was on fire in the first five minutes of the game, and for me, that was the moment I realized my potential as a player, and truly became confident on the court.

Brendan: Playing BYU for the first time this season. That was the game where we really came out as a team and showed everyone what we were capable of. We proved that we were the real deal and I think we really pumped everyone up for the season. It's been really fun.

Q: How have the basketball coaches and staff impacted your life on and off of the court?

Malte: The coaches and staff have helped me develop both as a player and as a person. Their passion for the sport is what really encouraged me to love the game. They cared so much about everyone, and that is what made me want to care so much. The amount of time and effort that our coaches and staff put into our team acts as the foundation for the mutual respect and love that we players have for one another.

Nikolas: Our coaching staff is extremely focused on all aspects of the game. Not only do they care about our performances on the court, but they also care about our lives outside of basketball. They always want the best for us, and are constantly checking up on us and making sure we all are all on the right paths. I am lucky to have been on a team that has such a hard-working and dedicated staff.

Brendan: The coaches have impacted me a lot as a player and in my personal life. They taught me how to be a leader and the importance of being vocal. I wasn't always vocal about things in my life, but learning to be more expressive on the court and seeing how that positively affected the team, encouraged me to be more like that off the court as well. Stepping up as a leader this season really allowed me to bond with everyone and establish long-lasting relationships.

Q: How do you want to be remembered by your teammates and coaches?

Malte: I want to be remembered as someone who my teammates felt they could come to about advice or for encouragement. I hope that I was seen as a reliable player that both my teammates and coaches knew they could always count on.

Nikolas: I hope to be remembered as a hard-working player who always tried my best. I hope that my discipline and dedication to the sport, as well as my obedience as an athlete, contribute to my coach's and teammates' views of me, and that I was able to positively impact each of their lives in some way. 

Brendan: I hope I am remembered as a player who was dedicated and dependable, had fun, and genuinely enjoyed playing basketball.

In the WCC Championships quarterfinals, the Waves will play Saint Mary's on Saturday (March 8) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas at approximately 8 p.m. on ESPN2. There will be also be audio-only WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com with Al Epstein on the call for both men's and women's games.

WOMEN: Coach Weisenberg on the Final Games

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Pepperdine women's basketball coach Ryan Weisenberg answered a few questions prior to the team's regular-season finale at Santa Clara:

Q: How is team morale?

A: "We are having a difficult season. There are a couple of people who are just waiting for this season to be over. Then there are the smart ones that are looking at this as an audition for next season. The team has actually stepped up the energy and the focus has gotten better. This is a great audition for next year and the players are starting to realize that we have six new players coming in next year. There are players who will be taking starting roles and the competition is going to be fiercer."

Q: What explains the team's difficulties of late?

A: "It is a lack of defense. We have a new defensive philosophy from the past, and it is easy to fall back into what you know. We have seen some major steps in the right direction. That point differential will not be there next year. We will have a whole summer to drill in that new philosophy. Our next two recruiting classes are impressive. We are battling between five players who would start for us right now and we can only give two scholarships to those five. The '15 class will be just as good as our '14 class."

Q: In the final games, what should fans expect?

A: "Our motto is we want one more -- we want one more win over last season. We are anxious to see who we will play at the WCC Tournament. We need to play at the top of our game. If all of us aren't there it will be a struggle.  For the people who have gone to the games they have seen how hard these girls have been working. We have made it extremely difficult for other teams."

Q: Has the team philosophy changed?

"The team's approach to the game has not changed since day one. We believe that if we start going soft on the players because we are losing, not only will we lose our players but we will lose our momentum going into next season. We have made adjustments, yes, but we have not done anything drastic. It comes down to player development. We need to keep these girls accountable on and off the court and that is the big thing we are doing."

Q: Who should fans be watching for in the final game and at the WCC Tournament?

A: "Ea Shoushtari. Ea has been playing a whole new role. She has been thrown back into the responsibility of carrying the team, facilitating, and scoring still. She has done a phenomenal job at what we have asked her to do.

"Fans should look out for Allie Green as well. She has the possibility of winning Newcomer of the Year for the WCC. We generally like to celebrate team over individual, but this is huge and she has done an incredible job, so we are really pushing for her."

Q: What do you expect at the WCC Tournament?

A: "Last year we went in and our focus and mentality wasn't there and we got blown out by San Francisco. I have asked the girls who they would like to see in the first round. A lot have said we want San Francisco. Some say LMU, because it is our rival and we would like to knock them out.

"The intensity of the tournament is different. Something I learned from being with the Lakers and Sparks is that there is a different mentality. It is a completely new season. We are going to teach these girls how to prepare for the playoffs even after a season like this.

"In Julie (Rousseau)'s first season here, they were 11-14 going into the WCC Tournament and she won it!  It is basketball and you never know what it can happen."

Last Thursday, senior forward Malte Kramer made Pepperdine history as the first basketball player ever to receive Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American honors (third team). Kramer an economics major, currently holds a 4.0 grade-point average and is one of just three basketball players in the West Coast Conference who received the honor this year.

Q: How do you manage to balance both school and basketball?

A: "It's definitely been a challenge at times. Classes become especially difficult during the season when the team travels because it's not always easy to catch up when we miss classes. Overall I have pretty good self-discipline so I always study when I need to, and stay on top of all of my assignments."

Q: Why did you choose to major in economics?

A: "I enjoy real world applications like math and feel that it is a subject that I excel in. As a major, I felt that mathematics would be too dry for me, so majoring in economics made sense to me, and I enjoy being able to see how my studies play a role in the real world."

Q: As one of the older players on the team, you have had more experience playing basketball on the college level than most of your teammates. What advice do you give your teammates who are just starting their college careers?

A: :The biggest piece of advice I give is to enjoy every single game. Time flies by so fast, and before you know it, you will be graduating. Cherish the moments you have with your teammates and enjoy this time as much as you can because before you know it, it will all be over."

Q: You're a senior with a perfect 4.0 GPA. What are your plans after graduation?

A: "Right now everything is up in the air. I will either go back to Europe and play basketball at the professional level, get a job, or attend graduate school. I still have not made a decision on what lies ahead in my future, but I am looking forward to the experiences, and no matter what I end up doing, I will miss my teammates and coaches back at Pepperdine."

Pepperdine faced rival Loyola Marymount for the second time in conference play on Thursday evening at LMU.  The Waves had a slow start, trailing the Lions by 10 in the first period, but stayed strong defensively, which allowed them to make a comeback and defeat LMU, 72-69, in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup game. The road win not only allowed Pepperdine to move back up to fifth place in the WCC standings, but was also Pepperdine's sixth road win of the season, the most the team has had since 2002-03.

Leading the Waves to victory, Stacy Davis contributed 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting, plus 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. Malcolm Brooks followed with 15 points, and Academic All-American Malte Kramer had 12 points.

"Our defense really contributed to our overall performance," said Davis. "We really locked in after being down by 10 in the first half, and were able to come together and play as a team and for each other. Every player on the team will tell you we are all very unselfish players, and that has really contributed to our team's success this season."

Davis came off the bench for his sixth consecutive game on Thursday and said: "At the end of the day I just love being on the court. Not starting really puts things into perspective and when I'm out there, I just really try to do everything in my power to stay on the court and contribute as much as possible."

As Pepperdine approaches its final two games before the WCC Championship tournament in Las Vegas, Davis described the emotions of the team.

"I think our team's overall mindset is to strive to be the absolute best that we can be," he said. "You always hear coaches talking about their teams peaking at the right time and I think this is our time to really come out and shine. We are all focused and determined to give our all everyday, at every practice, and every game, and we plan to finish the season at our peak."

The Waves end the regular season at home next weekend against San Francisco (Thursday, Feb. 27) at 7 p.m. and Santa Clara (Saturday, March 1) at 5 p.m. The Waves will honor their three seniors prior to the finale against the Broncos. It's also going to be Fan Appreciation Day, with general admission seats free to all. Both games will be shown on TheW.tv.

After a Thursday night loss to Gonzaga, Pepperdine faced the Portland Pilots on Saturday afternoon in the team's final game of the Pacific Northwest trip. It was the last home game of the season for the Pilots, who defeated the Waves 74-62, forcing Pepperdine to drop to sixth place in the West Coast Conference standings.

Junior guard Malcolm Brooks led the Waves with 15 points, followed by Stacy Davis with 12 points, and Brendan Lane with 10 points and 10 rebounds, achieving his eighth double-double of the season.

The Waves never led in Saturday's game and shot just 35.1% from the field compared to Portland's 46.0%.

"From the start, Portland came out a lot longer stronger than us," Brooks said. "Our team lacked energy in the beginning, which is really unusual, and Portland had the fan support and motivation to win.

"I was just trying to do whatever I could to help the team win. Points matter in every game, but it's always hard when you don't get the 'W.' If we could do it all over again, I wish we would have come out with more energy, had been more focused on the court, and paid more attention to detail.'

With just three games remaining before the WCC Championships in Las Vegas, Pepperdine hopes to re-group after the weekend's road losses.

"We want to go 3-0 for these final games, and really just put everything we've learned from this season on the court and finish on the strongest note possible," Brooks said. "We are all still confident about the remaining games of the season, and we are very resilient as a group. We survive the tough moments and always come out stronger. I'm looking forward to the next three games and am confident in our team."

Pepperdine's final road game is on Thursday (Feb. 20) at rival Loyola Marymount in a Wells Fargo PCH Cup battle. The game will be shown on ESPNU at 8 p.m. and there will be a free audio broadcast via WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com with Al Epstein on the call.  

Pepperdine traveled north to Spokane for a Thursday night matchup against the West Coast Conference's top-ranked team, Gonzaga. Pepperdine trailed #24 Gonzaga by just seven at halftime but the Bulldogs ultimately pulled out the win, defeating the Waves 83-68.

Stacy Davis led the team in points with 14, followed by Brendan Lane and Nikolas Skouen each with 12, and Malcolm Brooks with 11 points.

Skouen has been contributing on the court more and more as the season progresses and played 20 good minutes in Thursday's game.

"I am very grateful for the opportunities I have been given recently to contribute more on the court," Skouen said. "I have been praying a lot about it, and have focused on utilizing every opportunity I have to prepare as much as I can and make sure that I am ready to perform whenever the coach calls my name."

Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center, often referred to as "the Kennel," is a unique experience for any visiting team. Said Skouen: "It was a great place to play. The fans started showing up an hour and a half before the game, and they brought a lot of energy and adrenaline to the game. It was really fun to play there."

Despite the loss, the players continue to motivate each other and maintain a positive outlook on the remaining games of the season.

"We are able to stay together, stay aggressive, and play confidently," Skouen said. "We have the ability to do some amazing things on the court, and I feel like we are continuously growing, and we are more together at this point in time than we have been all season. Like we've said all season, this is a very unique team with a great group of guys, and we have the potential to do some really great things."

Pepperdine continues its Pacific Northwest series at Portland on Saturday (Feb. 15) at 1 p.m. It's the WCC Game of the Week and it will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. An audio broadcast of the game will be available for free via WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com with Al Epstein on the call.

Pepperdine suffered a tough loss on Saturday against Saint Mary's, falling short to the Gaels by just two points, 69-67, at the end of overtime. The Waves (14-11, 7-6 WCC) were strong defensively in the first half and led the Gaels (18-7, 8-4 WCC) by six points at halftime, but then had to rally to send the game into overtime.

Senior Brendan Lane led the team with 19 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and three steals, followed by Jeremy Major with 14 points and four assists, and Amadi Udenyi with 10 points and a season-high seven assists.

"Going into the game I really just wanted to be there for my team," Major said. "Last time we faced Saint Mary's I got hurt with 13 minutes left in the game, and I really wanted to go out in this second game and be able to play at my best, and not feel like I let the team down. Saint Mary's is one of the top teams in the conference, and we really did have a chance to beat them and move up in the rankings."

The Waves led the Gaels 28-22 at halftime and that provided great motivation for Pepperdine to continue playing hard coming out of the locker room.

Said Major: "We were really confident with the six-point cushion at halftime. We played great defense in the first half of the game, and we wanted to continue being aggressive on the court."

Pepperdine's tremendous amount of heart on the court carried on into their first overtime game of the WCC season.

"It was my first overtime game in college," Major said. "For me, I really thought we could win. I was confident coming out of the locker room that we could beat Saint Mary's, but ultimately the fact that we were getting foul calls away from the paint and kept sending them to the free throw really killed us. Stephen Holt played a great game and is a great free throw shooter, so in the end that was what really got us."

The team will travel to the Pacific Northwest this weekend, facing Gonzaga on Thursday (Feb. 13) at 6 p.m. and Portland on Saturday (Feb. 15) at 1 p.m.

"We have always been a good team on the road," Major said. "Playing at 'The Kennel' at Gonzaga is going to be a new experience and we are looking forward to the challenge. Gonzaga is beatable, but we really need to be at our best. Portland is going to be a good game because they're going to be playing hard and really be seeking out the 'W' since we beat them at home the last time we played them. As we get ready to travel up north we need to be in the right state of mind and play aggressively."

The Gonzaga game will be on ROOT Sports while the Portland matchup is the WCC Game of the Week and it will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Free audio broadcasts via WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com will be available for both games with Al Epstein on the call.

WOMEN: Meet Transfers Layana White and Krista Pettepier

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Two Waves who will take the floor next year are Layana White, a 5-foot-9 transfer from Arizona, and Krista Pettepier, a 6-foot-2 transfer from Pittsburgh. While unable to play, both players have been critical to the team by giving all they have to give at each and every practice.

Originally from Lancaster, Calif., White is excited to join the Waves on the court next winter. Pettepier is looking forward to studying abroad this summer and returning to play with the Waves come fall.

With injuries suffered by several of the Waves this season, practice players have been few and far between. White and Pettpier have stepped up to make sure that those who are healthy are getting the preparation they need to compete game after game.

Q: Why did you choose Pepperdine?

Layana: The coaches, the staff, I really loved the campus and it is a good school, and it's also close to home.

Krista: I'm not really religious, but when I came here I absolutely fell in love with the coaches who are so genuine and the people I meet that are so genuine.  A lot of people say it is the view, but it is so much more than that, it is the people, the school and the academic opportunities that are unbeatable. I am planning to study abroad this summer.  I would not have been allowed to do that while playing basketball at any other school. I have always put academics before athletics and I can have both here, it is a good balance.

Q: How are you doing in your classes? Is it different, or do you like it better?

Layana: I like it better, the classes are so much smaller. I am used to being one of 600 students in one class, and now it is 15, and it is better that way because the professors notice you.

Kristia: I have a close relationship with Dr Perrin who I took for stats last semester.  He actually spoke to my sociology professor this semester and told him to watch out for me.  I think that is really cool -- to be able to have such a great relationship with our professors that they actually know who we are when we walk down the street and know what kind of student we are and can put in good words for us.

Q: How are you liking the team?

Layana: I love the team, they are all very close outside of the court.  I just got here but I felt comfortable right away.

Krista: We are all very close and we hang out all the time. It is like a family, giving hugs is not uncommon, it is very close-knit.

Q: Who would you like to challenge on the court and why?

Layana: I would challenge athletic trainer Karissa (Scherer), because she is a baller. She used to play.  Or I would challenge one of the male basketball players!

Krista: I would never challenge Coach Ryan (Weisenerg) because he is such a cheater. If you box him out, he pulls your shirt.  Mallory (Winn) would be too much work. I wouldn't challenge Coach Jordan (Adams-Smith) because that would be too tough and it wouldn't be a level playing field.  Ultimately, I would challenge my stats professor because he attends all the men's games.

Coach Ryan Weisenberg's response: "Cheat! I think I would be more physical, but I wouldn't cheat. I do pull jerseys. See, I was never the best jumper, but I was playing against the biggest guys so I had to learn the little tricks, stepping on the back of the shoes or pulling jerseys. I can see where they are coming from, but I think she's just scared."

The Waves kicked off their weekend home game series on Thursday evening with an 80-69 win over Pacific.

Sophomore forward Stacy Davis has come off of the bench the past two games, and has spent much of his free time studying game film and working on his technique. The move paid off on Thursday as Davis scored a game-high 24 points against the Tigers.

Said Davis: "Coach Wilson really wants to get the most out of me, and if that means me coming off of the bench, then I need to look at that as motivation to improve. I really just need to constantly make sure that I am always at my best on the court, and making the right moves. I've spent time reviewing game film from some of the recent games and really observing my on-court presence on both sides, and analyzing my body language."

Aside from having a very young team, Pepperdine also has a very strong, well-rounded bench.

"It's a huge advantage having the ability to sub players in and out and still put points on the board," Davis said. "Our team is fortunate enough to have such a strong group, that if a player needs to sit down for a few minutes, we know that we still have the ability to play strong, while subbing in new players. It's a blessing to be on a team where the players depend so much on one another, and we all are very unselfish. When one person has a great performance the team isn't just excited because of the success that was brought to the game, but we are genuinely happy for one another and support each other."

Davis also went 11-for-11 from the free throw line and had eight rebounds against Pacific.

"When it comes to free throws, I just try to take my time and breathe," Davis explained. "I look at those shots as free points, and even though making them is a lot easier said than done, I believe that my free throws are the key to my success."

According to Davis, the team is fully committed to continuing their winning trend and hoping to improve their overall record. The Waves had 20 assists on 25 field goals in Thursday's game and have high hopes for a successful postseason.

"We are going to focus on improving in all areas," Davis said. "We are especially going to emphasize the importance of playing strong defensively. As a team we've been clicking a lot lately, and we all really are determined to get a postseason bid and continue working well as a team. I think our performance against Pacific is a great testament to how well we work with one another when we are all passing the ball and making shots. We plan to maintain the same state of mind going into Saturday's game against Saint Mary's so hopefully we can achieve a three-game winning streak."

The third and final game of the three-game homestand will take place on Saturday (Feb. 8) against Saint Mary's at 1 p.m. The game will be shown locally on Time Warner Cable SportsNet as well as on Comcast SportsNet California, ROOT Northwest and ROOT Rocky Mountain, as well as on TheW.tv, with a pre-game show beginning at 12:30 p.m. A free audio broadcast will be available via WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com with Al Epstein on the call.

 

Taking advantage of a week between games, Pepperdine came back as strong as ever on Saturday against rival LMU in a Wells Fargo PCH cup game. The Waves (13-10, 6-5 WCC) beat the Lions (11-12, 3-8) in the teams' 159th matchup, 80-69.

Sophomore forward Jett Raines made a surprising start for the Waves alongside Jeremy Major, Amadi Udenyi, Malcolm Brooks and Brendan Lane. Five Waves scored in double-figures: Brooks led the team with 16, followed by Raines with a career-high 15 points and eight rebounds, Stacy Davis had 12 points, and Lane and Nikolas Skouen each scored 10 points.

Junior transfer Malcolm Brooks describes participating in his first Pepperdine-LMU rivalry game: "It was a really good experience. Coach (Marty) Wilson emphasized the competitiveness between our schools, and even discussed his experiences playing LMU back when he played at Pepperdine. Prior to the game, Coach Wilson introduced the team to one of his former teammates Levy Middlebrooks, and he talked to us and got us all really pumped up for the game."

During his time as a Wave, Levy Middlebrooks scored 40 points and had 25 rebounds against the Lions in one rivalry game in 1988. After graduation, Middlebrooks later went on to play professionally for multiple teams in Mexico, Spain and Cyprus.

Brooks came out strong in the second half of the game, scoring the Waves' first couple of baskets, and later secured the Waves' victory with four more points in the final 1:30. Fourteen of his 16 points came after halftime.

"I really just wanted to win," Brooks says. "It didn't matter what I had to do; whether I had to rebound or play defense, all I wanted to do was play at my absolute best and come out with the win for the team. Our 9-0 run in the final three minutes was definitely the most exciting part of game for me, and coming out victorious in the end was an exciting, and much-needed win for the team."

The next matchup for the Waves will be on Thursday (Feb. 6) at Firestone Fieldhouse, when Pepperdine will host the University of the Pacific at 7 p.m. and then Saint Mary's on Saturday (Feb 8) at 1 p.m. The game against Pacific will be televised on TheW.tv and the contest against the Gaels is the WCC Game of the Week and will be shown locally on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Free audio broadcasts via WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com will be available for both games with Al Epstein on the call.

With only eight games remaining in regular-season play, Pepperdine (12-10, 5-5 WCC) currently stands fifth in the West Coast Conference. The Waves will play the next three games at home at Firestone Fieldhouse, beginning on Saturday (Feb. 1) against rival Loyola Marymount in a Wells Fargo PCH Cup matchup at 3 p.m.

Sophomore forward Stacy Davis and freshman guard Jeremy Major discuss their thoughts on the season thus far, and what they are looking forward to as WCC play continues:

Q: With less than 10 regular-season games remaining, what is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far?

Stacy: As a team, we really need to bring our 'A' game every night. In league play, this season especially, we've seen how every team is capable of pulling out a surprise win. We've had to learn that it's not just the top-ranked teams we need to worry about, but every single team in our conference is capable of beating one another, so constantly being prepared for every single game is essential.

Jeremy: I've learned that the game becomes as easy as you make it. Watching film has allowed the team to see what we need to improve on and further our overall consistency. At the beginning of the season I was nervous because I'm a freshman and really did not know what to expect in college play. I found that after reviewing film from the Great Alaska Shootout I have been very at ease with myself and am comfortable because I know where I excel and what I need to improve on. I knew that from that point on my comfort level was only going to get better as the season continued.

Q: In regards to your personal performance, what is one aspect you hope to improve on?

Stacy: I need to be more consistent in how hard I play both sides. The other day Coach (Bryant) Moore showed me my stats from the season so far, and physically looking at the numbers made me realize that I am capable of so much more. I recognize that I've been inconsistent in games; one game I will play really strong defense but poor offense, others I will be strong offensively and weak defensively. It's just a matter of being a steady player and playing to my full ability all times. I kept the piece of paper with my stats and I look at it every day as a reminder of my current standing, and view it as motivation to improve.

Jeremy: Personally, I need to work on being a better decision maker. I've found that sometimes I get too into the game and miss critical passing opportunities. After watching game film, I really get to see how I am on the court and specifically where I am weak. Decision-making is the area I feel I need to improve the most, and making sure that I have a clear mind on the court is going to be the key to success for me.

Q: Coming off of two losses against Saint Mary's and Pacific, what is your mindset like as you prepare for Saturday's game against LMU?

Stacy: Go hard. Saturday is a much-needed win, and we really need to come together and play hard consistently through both periods. There's eight games left in league play, and that's a lot of time for improvement. Our team really needs to capitalize on the fact that we are aware of our weaknesses, and correct our errors from previous games. We really just need to battle hard the rest of the season and be consistent.

Jeremy: LMU is definitely a must win for us, especially after going 0-2 on the road. We are really focused, and have a big home stretch coming up that we need to be mentally prepared for. When we play well defensively and rebound well, we can't be stopped,

Q: What has been your most memorable game, and why?

Stacy: When we played San Diego; and not just because of my career high (28 points), but because I had family and a former coach in attendance as well. That was a game where we were down, and I remember being on the court thinking about how I needed to step up and start making plays, and I ultimately was able to help lead the team to a victory. My role in the team's success in that game specifically is a memory that I really cherish.

Jeremy: The BYU game at home has definitely been the most memorable and was an extremely eye-opening game coming into conference play. BYU is an extremely consistent team, and the fact that we were able to beat them proved to the team that we possess something very special as a group. I felt that this game was proof that we can play against any team, regardless of age and maturity, because success is all about confidence, aggressiveness, and playing with heart.

Q: What is the most valuable advice you have received from one of the coaches?

Stacy: I was talking with Coach Moore recently and he described his experience working with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and how he had the ability to watch players like LeBron James mature and grow on the court. The thought really stuck with me. Our coaches and team staff all have countless years of experience in the sport, so it would be foolish to not utilize their advice and mentorship. Pepperdine is lucky to have such a wonderful staff, and as players we should really take advantage of everything they have to offer.

Jeremy: Coach Moore often says: "The separation is in the preparation." I really like this quote because it encourages me to stand out and be the best that I can be; but in order to do that, I must be aware of my weaknesses and do what needs to be done to improve. Whether that means watching film or going to the gym, I need to be prepared at all times so when game time comes, I know that I'm ready.

Saturday's 3 p.m. Wells Fargo PCH Cup matchup against LMU can be seen locally on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, while there will also be a free audio broadcast via WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com with Al Epstein on the call.

It was a tough two-game road trip over the weekend for the Waves, who suffered losses against both Saint Mary's and Pacific. In Saturday evening's (Jan. 25) matchup against the Tigers, a 76-66 loss and the first WCC contest between the two teams since UOP left the conference in 1971, Malcolm Brooks and Stacy Davis each had 12 points, followed by Amadi Udenyi with 11 points, and Brendan Lane with nine points.

Bay Area native and freshman guard Udenyi described the road trip: "At Pacific, we definitely had times of high energy and strong defense, but overall we were unable to stay consistent. Especially on the road, it's essential for the team to make sure we are on our A-game at all times, and on top of our defense. The Tigers are an older, more mature team, so that was one of the biggest challenges we had to face.

"I enjoy our games up north, I have my family and friends who come and support me, and this trip I even had the opportunity to play against some of my former teammates from high school. It was a tough road trip for us, but we are going to come back next game feeling stronger both mentally and physically, and we are looking forward to our improvement."

Beginning on Saturday (Feb. 1), the Waves will play five of their remaining eight games at home, starting with a Wells Fargo PCH Cup contest against the Loyola Marymount Lions at 3 p.m. Time Warner Cable SportsNet will televise the game locally, and live audio commentary by Al Epstein will be available via WaveCasts at www.pepperdinesports.com.

The Waves traveled to Northern California for a Thursday evening matchup at Saint Mary's in Moraga. Pepperdine now has a season record of 12-9 and a West Coast Conference record of 5-4, currently tying their most wins overall and in WCC play over the last nine years. Unfortunately, the Waves were unable to add to the total at McKeon Pavilion, falling short to the Gaels, 80-74.

The starters for the Waves remained the same for the third consecutive game: Jeremy Major, Amadi Udenyi, Malcolm Brooks, Stacy Davis and Brendan Lane. Lane led the Waves in points with 18 points. Brooks had 11, followed by Jeremy Major and Austin Mills with 10 points each.

Mills, a sophomore point guard, played aggressively throughout his 14 minutes on the court, and tied his career high of 10 points.

"I just feel like I need to step up, especially given the amount of injuries our team has had this season," Mills said. "I need to be reliable under pressure, and be able to perform well during crunch time so I can make as many plays as possible."

In regards to the team's performance against the Gaels, Mills said: "The team fought really hard to the end, and we performed better as a team defensively in the second half. Unfortunately, we would come close to securing a lead, but we were unable to really get into a steady rhythm. Luckily, the team seems to be pretty comfortable now with the crowds, so a lot of the focus is not so much on keeping our heads in the game, but rather making sure that we can regain control of the tempo, and know when to start picking things up and slowing things down."

Continuing their northern California trip, Pepperdine will face the University of the Pacific on Saturday (Jan. 25) at 7 p.m. The Waves have not played the Tigers in the WCC since they left the conference in 1971. TheW.tv will televise the game for free, and there will also be a free audio broadcast via WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com with Al Epstein on the call.

WOMEN: Weisenberg on Injuries, Tonight's Portland Game

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Women's basketball coach Ryan Weisenberg answered some questions about the season now that West Coast Conference play is nearing the midway point.

Q: Can you discuss the impact that injuries are having on the team and season?

A: The biggest impact is that we just can't practice as intensely and focused as we want to. We've been down to six players when we were on the road and eight when we are home. The shifting of the lineups is also difficult. We were getting into a nice rhythm with the lineup and then Allie (Green) went out, and then Bria (Richardson) went out, and now Keitra (Wallace) is out, and potentially Amanda (Lovely) could be out.

We are shuffling and putting people in different positions, and rushing Jaya Shultz to play bigger minutes than we wanted her to play this year. We want her to be able to get into a system and figure it out. But the team is stepping up and taking advantage of the opportunity and taking advantage of the minutes given to them."

Last Wednesday night in Moraga all the coaches were practicing. It is fun watching the coaches go because we are ultra-competitive and it steps the intensity up of practice and the girls responded really well. Then losing Bria a minute into the game at Saint Mary's, against one of the best teams in the WCC, was a shock. But practice-wise, coaches came out and practiced again on Friday, and now I am on the injured reserve with everyone else.

Q: If some of the team's top scorers are how, how important is it for players like Grace Leah Baughn and Ea Shoushtari to be stepping up?

A: It is critical for Ea to be stepping up because she now takes the point guard role, she also takes on a little more of the scoring burden. Defenses can key in on her so that is a hurdle. Grace, Kelsey Brockway and Jaya Shultz need to start taking shots when given the opportunity.

Q: What have been you working on this week to prepare for Portland?

A: "We actually gave them two days off. We wanted everyone to rest and get their legs under them and clear their minds a little bit. The game plan is done and we started implementing it Tuesday in practice.  Thankfully we have male practice players that will come in and the coaches will suit up and we will try to replicate what Portland does. They are a very good team, they are very up and down, they beat San Diego at home, but then lost to Santa Clara, so you don't know what team is going to show up.  But, they are very well coached and when they are hitting their shots they are a very tough team to beat.

Q: How important is it for morale to get that sixth win and show this team is different than last season?

A: I think they really got disappointed because we have missed some opportunities that we felt could have given us that sixth win, like San Francisco.  We thought we had a really good chance against LMU.  When we go back and look at things, we lose by three points to UCLA and two points to Oregon.  The goal was to get 10 wins and there is still a chance we can get that. This league has shown that the top teams can be beaten.

For the fans, it is really important that they watch these girls compete. Against Pacific everyone thought we were going to be blown out of the water by 50 points but we were right in there until the last few minutes. Against Saint Mary's, the shock of losing Bria, who is our top scorer, a minute into the game dug us into a really huge hole, but to come back and win the second half really shows the mentality of these girls and where this program has come from.

We always harp on things like, we don't rebound enough, or, we need more defense, but then you look at our numbers compared to last year, which we don't do enough. We are almost 12-plus in the rebounding category from last year and our scoring is almost 15 or 18 points up. Because of the losses, I don't think we are looking at the smaller successes that are going to really translate when the WCC Tournament starts and next year when we get our first recruiting class in and everyone is healthy.

After a Thursday night loss to Gonzaga, the Waves (12-8, 5-3) came back stronger than ever with a 76-65 win over Portland (11-8, 3-4) on Saturday evening.

The Waves got off to a slow start in the first 20 minutes of the game and trailed the Pilots by four going into the second half. But the team's reserve players scored 32 of the Waves' 76 points, and true freshman Lamond Murray Jr. played an essential role for the team in the victory.

Not only was Murray the top-scoring Wave, but he also achieved career highs of 16 points and eight rebounds.

Following Murray in total points scored were Stacy Davis with 14, Malcolm Brooks with 13 and freshman Jeremy Major with 11. Sophomore Atif Russell went 2-for-3 for both field goals and free throws and contributed six points. Senior Nikolas Skouen drained an impressive three-pointer in the second half and went 2-for-3 on field goal attempts, contributing a total of five points.

"The team really stepped up tonight," Murray said. "The coaches have been encouraging me a lot lately, helping me focus on defense and rebounding, so I really just went out there tonight and gave it my all. After our game against Gonzaga, it was really important for us to come out aggressive and confident and play smart. As the season progresses the team's chemistry is continuing to improve, we just keep getting closer and closer. At end of the day, we all want to achieve the same goal of finishing at the top, and as a team, we are all willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get there."

Pepperdine will travel to the Bay Area for a Thursday (Jan. 23) matchup at Saint Mary's (14-5, 4-2) in Moraga, followed by a Saturday (Jan. 25) game at the University of the Pacific (10-7, 1-5). Both games will begin at 7 p.m. and be televised by TheW.tv. Additional audio-only commentary by Al Epstein will be available via WaveCasts for both games.

More than 3,000 fans gathered in Firestone Fieldhouse on Thursday evening to watch the first-place showdown between Pepperdine and Gonzaga. The Waves (11-8, 4-3) began the game with high energy and led the Bulldogs by five points early, but Gonzaga (15-3, 5-1) had a change of pace later in the first half.

Pepperdine suffered a 70-53 defeat, and is now tied with San Francisco (11-8, 4-3) for fourth place in the West Coast Conference.

Pepperdine's field goal percentage was just over 32%, and the Waves went 15-for-24 from the line with 16 turnovers. Sophomore forward Stacy Davis was the only Wave to score in double-figures and he led the team with 12 points. Junior Malcolm Brooks followed with eight points, while senior forward Brendan Lane fouled out of the game late in the second half after having scored a total of seven points.

Freshman Jeremy Major said: "In the beginning we had a lot of energy and came out strong. Gonzaga went on a 15-0 run, and made three three-pointers in a row, and we just started playing catch up from there. As a team, we were never able to get into our rhythm, and it was a bad day to not have a good game. Offensively we struggled, we really weren't able to make shots, and defensively Gonzaga really had us. The game is over now, and tomorrow is a new day with a new beginning. We have suffered from this loss as a team, and it is important that we all stick together, learn from our mistakes, and go into Saturday's game against Portland with a clear mind and a positive attitude."

Pepperdine will host Portland (11-7, 3-3) on Saturday (Jan.18) at 5 p.m. The game will be shown for free online with Al Epstein's commentary and will be available to watch via WaveCasts.

WOMEN: Wallace on Saturday's PCH Cup Loss

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The Pepperdine women's basketball team fell on Saturday, 76-64, to PCH Cup rival Loyola Marymount.  The Waves, who normally come out of the locker room vigorously, were unable to capture a lead in the second half of the matchup.

On constantly fighting from behind, junior Keitra Wallace (who had 17 points on the night), said: "It's frustrating because I feel like LMU is good competition, but we can play with them and we didn't show up the second half."

Pepperdine Coach Ryan Weisenberg's big push this season is rebounding, both offensively and defensively, but on Saturday the Waves fell short. Shooting on the night was low (38.9%) and Pepperdine struggled to cash in on second-opportunity plays.

Wallace said that when Pepperdine travels down the road on February 1 for the rematch, rebounding must be a priority.

"We have to focus on rebounding," she said. "I feel like we gave up too many offensive rebounds and we just played with a lack of passion and that didn't help us."

In the first half Pepperdine was in the double-bonus with eight minutes remaining but struggled with free throws, making only 16 of 27.  Wallace, who spent significant time on the line, made six of her eight attempts.

"In regard to both teams, great defense was not being played because every other possession the opposite team was on the free throw line," she said. "As a team we need to figure out how to stop people before contact happens so we do not get called for a foul."

The Waves next take on Saint Mary's in Moraga, Calif., on Thursday (Jan 16) at 6 p.m.


Pepperdine defeated the University of San Diego in their second matchup of the conference season on Saturday night. The Waves earned their first regular-season sweep of the Toreros since 2011, and the 69-65 road win improved the Waves to 11-7 overall and 4-2 in West Coast Conference play.

Starting for the Waves were Brendan Lane, Stacy Davis, Jeremy Major, Lamond Murray Jr. and Amadi Udenyi. After the absences of Lane, Malcolm Brooks and Nikolas Skouen in Thursday's contest at BYU, all three players were able to return Saturday.

Davis finished with a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season, and was the game's top-scoring player. Davis went 8-for-15 for field goals and 11-for-11 from the free throw line. Eleven straight points by Davis late in the second half put the Waves just one point behind the Toreros with four minutes left in the game.

Said Davis: "Going into the game I really focused on wanting to play aggressively. I wanted to try to make the defense collapse to enable us to secure good shots. It was a really close game at times, and there was a certain point in the game when I told myself that I was not going to let the team lose, and that we were going to come out with the W."

In addition to Davis' 28 points, Major contributed an additional 12 points and five assists, Brooks had nine points and Lane had eight points and five rebounds.

The Waves are currently tied with San Francisco for second place in WCC play.

"The team is feeling good," Davis said. "The losses against San Francisco and BYU have been good learning experiences for us as a whole and we look at those defeats as motivation. We know what we need to do in order to be successful. We have more players coming up from off the bench and getting playing time. As a team our level of motivation has definitely increased and we are definitely going to be fighting for first place."

Pepperdine will host Gonzaga (14-3, 4-1) on Thursday (Jan. 16) at 7 p.m. and Portland (10-7, 2-3) on Saturday (Jan. 18) at 5 p.m. The Gonzaga game will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and there will be an audio-only broadcast at PepperdineSports.com. The Portland game will be shown online via WaveCasts at PepperdineSports.com.

WOMEN: Previewing Today's LMU Game

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In a Wells Fargo PCH Cup matchup, the Peppperdine women's basketball team (5-10, 1-3) takes on Loyola Marymount (3-12, 0-4) this afternoon at 2 p.m. in Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu to finish out a three-game homestand.

Pepperdine is coming off a week-long break since splitting two home games against Santa Clara and San Francisco and head coach Ryan Weisenberg says they have used that time to "get healthy and 100 percent on the same page both offensively and defensively."

The Waves have been struggling with consistency in their play. They had four players -- Bria Richardson (44), Allie Green (24), Ea Shoushtari (12) and Keitra Wallace (10) -- score double-digit points in the win against Santa Clara and only two in the loss to San Francisco -- Green (13) and Richardson (12).

Said Weisenberg: "The disparity is a tough one -- we distributed the ball better against Santa Clara and we rushed a number of shots against USF. As a coach, it's frustrating to watch the team play so hard and take a major step forward and then come out and lay an egg against USF."

The Waves are rested and ready to compete. In many of the games the team has made second-half surges for huge points. With WCC Player of the Week Richardson, Green and Wallace playing 30+ minutes per game, Weisenberg gives credit by saying: "the team's energy is a direct result of our strength and conditioning coach Jamie Faro -- she is one of the best."

Fans should expect that energy to hold strong this evening.  And according to Weisenberg, they should look forward to "a hard-fought game that will go down to the wire. This is a great rivalry and they took it to us last year. We need to repay them for that."

A commendable effort was put forth by the Waves on Thursday night, as they played their second matchup of the West Coast Conference season against BYU in Provo. Unfortunately, the team was unable to overcome the Cougars with a final score of 84-72.

Just prior to the contest, the team announced that senior forward Brendan Lane and junior guard Malcolm Brooks would not suit up for the game due to injuries, and senior Nikolas Skouen was also out due to illness. Lane and Brooks have been starters for all of the previous 16 games this season, and have been the highest-scoring players for the team in conference play.

The absence of the three players in Thursday's game forced the Waves to rely more heavily on sophomore Stacy Davis, and presented younger players like David Jesperson and Jonathan Allen with more playing opportunities.

The starting lineup for the Waves featured Stacy Davis, Jeremy Major, Malte Kramer, Jett Raines and Lamond Murray Jr. Davis led the team with 17 points, followed by Murray, who made his starting lineup debut with 14 points, and Major with 12 points.

"We felt pressure immediately in the game, beginning with the jump ball," Murray said. "The team knew that we really needed to step up and fill up holes on the court since Brendan Lane was not there to block shots or rebound. Not having Brooks or Brendan on the court made it easier for BYU to score, especially Haws."

Also contributing to the intimidation factor was the large amount of fans - 14,012 - in the Marriott Center.

"The crowd definitely got to us a lot in the beginning of the game, because we aren't really used to having such a large number of opposing fans knowing our names and trying to distract us," Murray said.

According to Major: "Not having Brendan's post presence, and his ability to get rebounds, was definitely a challenge for the team. Malcolm's ability to create his own shots, and be a consistent three-point shooter was also another component of the game that definitely would have allowed us to perform more aggressively. Jeff Van Dyke and David Jesperson had solid games, and having more playing time than usual was an adjustment for them; but ultimately we played hard and fought hard, but the win got away from us."

The Waves will travel to San Diego for the last of a stretch of four straight road games on Saturday (Jan. 11) at 6 p.m. There will be an audio-only WaveCast with Al Epstein at www.pepperdinesports.com. The game will be shown on FOX Sports San Diego and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and for out-of-market viewers on TheW.tv.

MEN: BYU Pregame Injury Update

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Brendan Lane (knee), Malcolm Brooks (ankle) and Nikolas Skouen (illness) are OUT for tonight's Pepperdine men's basketball game at BYU.

Lane had his knee checked by doctors this week after feeling pain following Saturday's game at San Francisco. Lane saw limited practice on Wednesday, but participated in today's shootaround. Coaches and athletic training staff have decided it is best to sit him out tonight as a precaution against further injury to the knee.

Brooks suffered a sprained ankle late in the first half of Saturday's game at San Francisco. He also saw limited practice this week and in today's shootaround and it was decided that his ankle had not healed enough to play tonight.

Lane and Brooks are the Waves' top two scorers in West Coast Conference play. Over the past four games, Lane is averaging 17.0 points (tied for fifth in the conference in WCC games) and Brooks is averaging 15.8 (ninth). Both players were in the starting lineup for all previous 16 games this season.

Skouen became sick earlier today and did not attend the Waves' shootaround.

Pepperdine's active roster tonight will include one senior, four sophomores and six freshmen.

It is hoped that Lane, Brooks and Skouen will all be available for Saturday's game at San Diego.

WOMEN: Meet Assistant Coach Mallorie Winn

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Women's basketball assistant coach Mallorie Winn joined Pepperdine in July of 2013. Winn both coached and played at Pittsburgh, where she was not only a standout player, but also helped to secure a top-20 recruiting class in her first season coaching with the Panthers.

Q. What drew you to Pepperdine?

A: From a coaching perspective, I was drawn to Pepperdine because it is truly a unique university with a huge potential to draw talented student-athletes from all over the country. You can meet a stranger in New York, Minneapolis or Dallas and the minute you say "Pepperdine" their face lights up. I also believe it is the kind of university that draws players who are truly committed to the mission of college athletics. 

Q: How has the team influenced you since you began this position?

A: This team has surprised me. They have an ability to make the changes necessary to win but struggle with consistency. They have taught me that the only way for me, as a coach, to address inconsistency, is to be specific and demanding.

Q: What is your main role on staff? 

A: My primary role is to bring Coach Ryan (Weisenberg) his coffee in the morning, pick up his dry cleaning and laugh at his jokes. Ha ha, just kidding! A little humor. I think Coach Ryan believed I could make an impact in the area of recruiting and felt I could help develop our guards. I see these as my primary responsibilities.

Q: How has basketball impacted your life?

A: Basketball is an amazing tool! Basketball has helped me to understand that the physical and mental boundaries we live with can be broken. There was no greater feeling as a student-athlete than making your timed mile, surpassing your previous marks in the weight room, or telling your coach you don't need a sub at the end of the game, sending the message they could rely on you to finish. There are little victories every day that squash self-doubt and give you a sense of confidence that you carry for the rest of your life.

Q: What are your personal goals as a coach?

A: My personal goals are to be a disciplined, well-thought-out, demanding, positive, fun, tough, loving and critical coach. 

Q: Allie Green stated that if she could challenge any staff member at Pepperdine on the court it would be you. How do you feel about that? And what would be your strategy to ensure you win a game of 21?

A: I am aware that Allie has so naively proclaimed, in a public document, that she would like to challenge me on the court. I admire Allie's confidence and believe it will make her one of the toughest players to contain in the WCC. However, this is a typical freshman mistake. I don't care what game we decide to play -- she will not score a point.

The Waves fell short to San Francisco on Saturday, ending their three-game winning streak in West Coast Conference play. Pepperdine (10-6, 3-1) was strong in the first half and led San Francisco 27-19 at halftime. The Waves excelled defensively in the first half and only allowed the Dons to make three shots in the team's first 18 attempts.

But with less than a minute left in the first half, junior guard Malcolm Brooks turned an ankle and did not return after halftime. Brooks scored eight points on 4-for-4 for shooting and played a critical role for the team in the first 20 minutes of the game. Senior forward Brendan Lane led the team with 13 points, Jeremy Major had 12 points and senior forward Malte Kramer had 9 points.

Kramer had 14 minutes of game play in Saturday's contest, and went 3-for-5 for three-pointers.

Reflecting on the game, Kramer said: "We defended very well in the first half. In the second half San Francisco turned it up a lot, and kept us out of our offensive rhythm. Defensively we did not manage to keep them off the glass, which ultimately made the difference. Malcolm's injury at the end of the first half affected us. He's a great defender and can create off the dribble."

Pepperdine has two games remaining in its four-game road stretch, competing at BYU on Thursday (Jan. 9) at 7 p.m. MT/6 p.m. PT, and San Diego on Saturday (Jan. 11) at 6 p.m. Audio-only WaveCasts will be available for both games on www.pepperdinesports.com with commentary by Al Epstein. Thursday's matchup will be shown on BYUtv and the San Diego game will be available on FOX Sports San Diego and TheW.tv.

After two victories over San Diego and BYU last weekend, the Waves (10-5, 3-0) continued their winning streak on Thursday night (Jan. 2) with a 70-61 victory over Santa Clara. Pepperdine and Gonzaga are the only teams in the West Coast Conference who are currently undefeated in league play.

Brendan Lane contributed an impressive 26 points and 17 rebounds against the Broncos, tying his career high for points and setting a new career high in rebounds.

"(My performance) felt good," Lane said. "Especially coming off of the BYU game, it felt really good coming out with the win tonight. League play really has the team confident and excited, and we realize that this is the meat of the season that counts so everyone is really looking forward to it."

Jeremy Major finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, junior guard Malcolm Brooks scored 11 points and made three of four three-pointers, and Atif Russell scored a season-high eight points.

Brooks, the current WCC Player of the Week, described the victory: "It was a great win for our team. The fact that we still remain undefeated is a great accomplishment so far and we hope that we can continue being dominant as the season continues. League play has really allowed our team's energy levels to increase and has positively influenced the team's overall performance." 

On Saturday (Jan. 4), Pepperdine will play their second of four consecutive road games, at San Francisco at 1 p.m. Time Warner Cable SportsNet will televise the game locally, and an audio-only WaveCast with Al Epstein will be available at www.pepperdinesports.com.

After a Monday night win over Brigham Young, Pepperdine is now 2-0 in league play for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Junior transfer Malcolm Brooks was the top-scoring player in Saturday's win over San Diego, and continued his streak against BYU by contributing a career-high 24 points, and went 6-for-9 for three-point field goals. Including Brooks, five players scored in double-figures for the first time this season. Freshman guard Jeremy Major had 13 points, sophomore forward Stacy Davis and freshman guard Amadi Udenyi each had 12 points, and senior forward Brendan Lane contributed an additional 11 points.

Pepperdine's 80-74 win over the Cougars is yet another testament of success for the team, whose chemistry both on and off of the court, is at an all-time high.

Udenyi went 4-for-6 for three-pointers and had five assists in his second game back from injury.

"It feels really good to be back," Udenyi said. "After being injured and having to watch so many games, I was able to pick up on some of the little mistakes that we made as a team. I made sure that I did whatever I could to help the team out on the court and tried to contribute defensively as much as possible. I'm happy with my game performance, and I contribute the success of my three-point shooting to the practice I put in before the game with (graduate manager) Ricky Fois."

Another freshman guard, Jeremy Major, has been a very consistent player for the team this season. Udenyi said: "Jeremy and I have great chemistry both on and off of the court. He is one of my good friends and we're together every day, so our ability to work well with one another comes very natural to us."

Pepperdine will play the next four games on the road, and will head north to the Bay Area where they will face Santa Clara on Thursday (Jan. 2) at 7 p.m. and at San Francisco on Saturday (Jan. 4) at 1 p.m. Thursday's matchup will be televised on TheW.tv and Saturday's game against San Francisco will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Audio-only Wavecasts will be available for both contests at www.pepperdinesports.com with commentary by Al Epstein.

The Waves hosted San Diego on Saturday night for the first game of the West Coast Conference season. Pepperdine led 34-26 at halftime, but it was tied 58-58 with less than eight minutes left in the game. The Waves did not allow the Toreros to score for the final three-plus minutes of the game, and went on to win 75-64.

Sophomore guard/forward Atif Russell made his first career start alongside Brendan Lane, Malcolm Brooks, Stacy Davis and Jeremy Major. Brooks scored a game-high 20 points, followed by Lane with 18, Major with 13 and Stacy Davis with 11.

Brooks said afterward: "We wanted to protect our house and win the first game of the conference. We came out with great energy, and the team did a great job sticking together and we all fought for the win. We knew that San Diego would double-team Stacy and Brendan so we made sure that we had good ball movement and plenty of space for open shots."

In regards to his own performance, Brooks said: "It felt good to knock down shots, be aggressive and play good defense. In the coming games I'm really looking forward to showing everyone what we are made of. Our team is really strong this season and our talent and chemistry will play a huge role in our success this season."

Pepperdine will host Brigham Young on Monday (Dec. 30) at 7 p.m. Time Warner Cable SportsNet will televise the game, and a live audio-only WaveCast will be available at www.pepperdinesports.com with commentary by Al Epstein.

As the West Coast Conference season opens Saturday (Dec. 28) with a matchup against San Diego, junior guard Allen Stevens discusses his experience as a Wave, his goals heading into the conference season and how he spent his Christmas holiday.

Q: You began as a freshman student manager for the Waves in 2011 before making the team as a walk-on last year. Overall, how has your experience been thus far?

A: My experience going from team manager to a player was definitely a change for the better. Since joining the team I have learned a lot about basketball, as well as myself. Being on the team has taught me important life lessons, such as decision-making and time management, and has also allowed me to grow closer to both my teammates and coaches. I used to see my role on the team as a job. Now being a player, it is my privilege and obligation to be the best teammate possible and I would not trade this experience for anything.

Q: How would you describe the team's chemistry this season?

A: This year's team chemistry is by far the best I have experienced at Pepperdine. There are no cliques at all and as a whole we all get along really well. The mutual respect we all have for one another is not just on the court, but also carries over when we are not playing. We all have each other's backs, and genuinely want to see everyone succeed. As teammates, and as friends, we are all very unselfish toward one another and that really contributes to our team dynamic.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the West Coast Conference season?

A: I'm looking forward to the team's new start. The conference season is all about learning from the non-conference games, determining our strengths and weaknesses, and applying the lessons we learned that hopefully will allow us to win more conference games. I am really excited not only to see how well we perform, but also observe how we have grown as a team since the beginning of the season.

Q: What are some of the team's goals heading into tomorrow's game against San Diego?

A: Staying aggressive offensively and making sure that we can contain their guards on defense.

Q: What are some of your personal goals for the season?

A: I just want to make the team as successful as possible, whether that's on the court or off of the court. I always give everything my all, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to better the team. I want to make myself as useful to the team as possible.

Q: How did you spend your Christmas holiday?

A: I went to my aunt's house in Corona for three days. Since my teammate Marley is from Australia, he came and spent time with my family for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. It brings my aunt a lot of joy having guests over so Marley choosing to spend both holidays with my family was really exciting for them. I enjoyed the quality time with my family and having the opportunity to hang out with everyone before heading back to campus.

WOMEN: Meet Sophomore Keitra Wallace

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Keitra Wallace, a sophomore guard/forward, has been stepping up for the Waves game after game.  Wallace averages 13.0 points a game and most recently picked up 10 points against Northern Arizona. Wallace also led the team against NAU with eight rebounds on the night.

Q: How do you feel about Coach Weisenberg calling you a team leader?

A: I feel honored that my coach looks at me as a leader. I know it takes a lot for coaches to trust their players sometimes, so it feels good to know that he trusts me to help lead this team. 

Q: Does that trust/responsibility bring any additional pressure?

A: Being put in this position doesn't exactly translate as pressure to me. I've been in this position on almost every team I've played on, and to me, it's more of a sense of responsibility and wanting to do whatever the team needs. I feel more at ease because I know what is expected of me. 

Q: It seems as though Bria Richardson, Ea Shoushtari and yourself are playing very smoothly together this season. What do you think is the reason for that cohesion?

A: I think Bria, Ea and I know that we have to play well in order to put the team in good positions for success. There is a lot that is on our plates but I think we know that we are capable of doing big things. Defensively, we have to keep learning to work together and get the best out of each other. Offensively, we are unselfish. Whoever is open is who gets the ball and takes the shot. I believe we trust each other to do the right thing in the right moment and I think the key is we don't compete with each other on who scores the most.

Q: What are your plans for Christmas?

A: Christmas plans for me are just being with my family, resting my body and getting my hair done. Oh, and eating good home-cooked meals!

Q: Are you excited about your classes next semester?

A: I'm excited about my American history class. History is my favorite subject so I'm excited about that. I will be taking my second Spanish class and a theory class and those should be interesting as well.

Q: If you could challenge one Pepperdine staff/faculty member to a game on the court who would it be and why?

A: If I had to challenge someone on the staff it would have to be (assistant) Coach Jordan (Adams-Smith). She is a legit player and a beast in the post. Watching her is amazing and I would like to see if I could handle playing defense against her.

The non-conference season has officially ended for the Waves, who defeated Houston Baptist at home on Saturday. The Waves trailed the Huskies by three going into the second half, but the team came together and stayed aggressive during the final minutes of the game before defeating Houston Baptist 76-64.

Senior forward Brendan Lane and sophomore forward Stacy Davis both had double-doubles as each scored 21 points. Lane had 11 rebounds and Davis added 10.

Davis describes the game as very competitive: "We were going back and forth most of the game but luckily in the second half we were able to stay persistent and pull out the win."

As the season progresses, the team's on-court chemistry is proving to be significant. 

"I am really proud of the team today," Davis said. "We fought hard and stayed aggressive. I feel like we are really clicking as a team right now and if we can continue on this same path, and remain consistent, I am confident that we will win a lot more games and have an impressive conference season."

After a few days off for the holiday break, the Waves will kick off the West Coast Conference season on Saturday (Dec. 28) hosting the University of San Diego at 5 p.m. followed by Brigham Young next Monday (Dec. 30) at 7 p.m. The San Diego game will be available to watch via WaveCasts at www.pepperdinesports.com, and the BYU matchup will be shown on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Be sure to follow @PeppBasketball and download the official Pepperdine Athletics app to stay updated on all things Pepperdine basketball.

WOMEN: Weisenberg on the Northern Arizona Win

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The Waves took on Northern Arizona on Saturday and won their final preseason game of the year, bringing the team to a 4-7 overall record.

Coming into the game against Northern Arizona, Pepperdine Coach Ryan Weisenberg said that the team had been "working on our mental toughness. All of our drills have been designed to push our girls physically and mentally. They play a great deal of zone so we have been perfecting our zone offense."

This strategy proved effective this evening, particularly during a big second half, as the Waves won with a score of 74-51 over Northern Arizona.  The team also hit hard on defense creating 24 turnovers on the night. Bria Richardson had four steals.

"Both Bria Richardson and Keitra Wallace had great games on both ends of the floor," according to Weisenberg.

Weisenberg added: "Keitra Wallace has really taken on a big role as a leader and go-to player the past few games."

The Waves have consistently seen big games from Richardson, who had a team-high 18 points on the night. Ea Shoushatri, with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Wallace, with 10 points and eight rebounds, have also consistently put up big numbers for the waves.

Freshman Allie Green also stepped up with 15 points and three steals against Northern Arizona.

Said Weisenberg: "Allie is amazing on the offensive end. She has great confidence in her shot and is working on her scoring moves. I think what impresses us the most is that she is really putting in the time to learn how to improve on the defensive end. Once she is confident on the defensive side the sky is the limit for her."

Following tonight's game the Waves enter into league play beginning December 28 when they visit San Diego.
"We have a very tough four games in an eight-day stretch," Weisenberg said. "Two of the teams have only lost one game between them. The start of the WCC is going to be very competitive.  We are still working on fine-tuning our stuff and so we will worry about USD and BYU after the break."

Before league play begins Weisenberg is looking forward to spending Christmas in Malibu with his family.

"We are a staying home and spending time with the family -- the girls have a list of things to do with Dad and Jack is about to start crawling so it's going to be a fun week," he said.  

Senior forward Brendan Lane has been a key player for the Waves this season, and with the start of the West Coast Conference season rapidly approaching, Lane discusses his role as a team leader and his contributions to the team thus far:

Q: After choosing to redshirt last season, this is your first year on the floor with the Waves and your final year of eligibility. How has it been for you so far?

A: It's been going really well. I am happy with the team and our performance. Our team is really young and it has been a little difficult at times, but we work well collectively and have a great team chemistry that really contributes to our on-court success.

Q: You're one of the older players on the team and play an important role as a leader. How do you feel about taking on the responsibility, and what do you do to keep the team together?

A: I am very comfortable being a team leader and being a role model for the younger players. Going into this year, Coach Wilson sat me down and talked to me about the role I would be playing for the team this season and encouraged me to motivate my teammates. This kind of team leadership role is not something I have ever had on past teams, but it has not been difficult for me at all. We have some younger players who can get discouraged, so I just make sure that I'm able to bring them up and teach them how to focus on the team as a whole rather than just them as an individual.   

Q: You currently rank first in the West Coast Conference averaging 2.4 blocks per game, and your 61.8% field goal average ranks fourth in the WCC and 21st nationally. Overall, how do you feel about your performance thus far?

A: I feel like I've played pretty well overall. I have had a few poor games that have been great learning experiences for me. As far as improvement, I want to defend better around the perimeter and exercise better judgment when it comes to choosing when to block shots.

Q: What experiences have been most valuable to you during the non-conference season?

A: I think the most valuable experiences have been the road trips, especially Central Michigan, Alaska, and even Irvine. When we perform well on the road and win games, the team becomes more confident because winning is something we all know we are capable of.

Q: As the conference season approaches, what are some of the goals the team hopes to achieve?

A: We definitely want to finish in the top half of the conference. We have the ability, it's just about being consistent and performing at our best at all times.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Wave?

A: My favorite part is just the overall community. Pepperdine's small campus is great and I really enjoy seeing so many friendly faces. I like that I can walk around and know so many people on campus.

On Saturday, Pepperdine will host Houston Baptist at 1 p.m. for the final game of the non-conference season. The Waves (6-5) hope to end non-conference play with a win, and use their previous game performances as motivation to go into the conference season with the best possible outlook.

Asked about the team, senior guard Nikolas Skouen said: "We are really good and perform well when we are all on the same page. I think when we played Denver during the Alaska Shootout Tournament, we communicated the best both defensively and offensively, which allowed us to stick together and come out victorious."

Skouen, who recently became the 14th Wave ever to sink 100 three-pointers in a career, hopes to continue promoting effective communication and trust on the court as the team prepares for Saturday's matchup.

He said: "I'm grateful for the coaches for believing in me and allowing me to have so much playing time, especially last season. Their confidence in me, especially during crunch time, inspired me to continue performing well, and I hope that I can make an even bigger impact on the team during this conference season.

"This year's squad has a great chemistry, and we have all of the tools needed for success. As long as we keep learning from our mistakes and being aggressive we have the ability to make our final game of the non-conference season a winning one."

Saturday's doubleheader will begin with the men's basketball game at 1 p.m., followed by the women's basketball game against Northern Arizona at 3:30 p.m. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Pepperdine toy drive and admission is free for both games.