Women's Hoops Readies for BYU Trip
UPCOMING - Thanks to a 20-win season that included a strong finish, the Pepperdine women's basketball team earned an at-large bid into the Women's National Invitation Tournament and will play a first-round game at Brigham Young on Thursday. The Waves are making their first postseason appearance since the 2006 NCAA Tournament and have their first WNIT berth since 2004.
GAME #32 - Thursday (March 18) at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah: Pepperdine (20-11, 9-5, third place WCC) at Brigham Young (20-9, 11-5, second place MWC) at 7 p.m. MT/6 p.m. PT.
ON THE WEB - Subscribers to "Wave Casts" will be able to listen to Pepperdine's internet broadcast of the BYU game and any ensuing postseason games. Log on to www.pepperdinesports.com for more details.
TELEVISION - The game will be televised on BYU-TV, which is available on DirecTV (channel 374) and Dish Network (channel 9403) as well as many cable providers. Robbie Bullough and Kristen Kozlowski are the announcers.
BRIGHAM YOUNG - Pepperdine and BYU have only met twice previously, and not in the last 25+ years. The Waves won 67-66 at home on December 29, 1979, while BYU won 98-78 on December 9, 1983 in a Dial Classic tournament game played in Long Beach, Calif.
COMMON OPPONENTS - Pepperdine and BYU have played five teams in common this season: Nevada (both teams won once at home), Portland (Pepperdine split two games, BYU won once at home), San Diego State (Pepperdine won once on the road, BYU went 1-2 in three games), San Francisco (Pepperdine won twice, BYU won once on a neutral site) and Utah State (Pepperdine won once at a neutral site, BYU won once on the road).
2010 WNIT - The WNIT expanded to 64 teams this year and the Waves received one of 33 at-large berths. BYU received an automatic bid to the WNIT after not making the NCAA Tournament as the Mountain West Conference's second-place team. Saint Mary's is the only other WCC school in the WNIT.
SECOND ROUND - The winner of Thursday's game will move on to face the winner of the New Mexico State at Arizona State contest, which will be played on Wednesday. The window for second-round games is March 20-23. The other games in this quarter of the bracket are Eastern Washington at Oregon, SMU at New Mexico, UC Davis at California, Utah at Saint Mary's, Houston at Texas Tech and Nevada at Wyoming.
WNIT HISTORY - This is Pepperdine's fifth appearance in the WNIT and the Waves are aiming for their first victory. Pepperdine is 0-6 to this point and lost in the first round in 1982 (to Florida State), 1999 (at New Mexico), 2001 (at Arizona) and 2004 (at Washington). The Waves also lost twice in consolation play in 1982 (to DePaul and Southern Mississippi).
WCC TOURNAMENT RECAP - Pepperdine reached the championship game of the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Championships for the sixth time in program history, but couldn't get past league champion and 17th-ranked Gonzaga, which won by the score of 76-48 for its 18th consecutive victory. To get there, the Waves beat rival Loyola Marymount (60-51) for the third time this season, and knocked off Saint Mary's (62-56) for the first time in three tries. Lauren Bell (who averaged 15.0 points over the three games) and Miranda Ayim (12.0 points) made the All-Tournament team.
TWENTY WINS - Pepperdine hit the 20-win mark this season for the first time under head coach Julie Rousseau and for the 11th time in school history (the first since 2003).
MIRANDA AYIM - Senior center Miranda Ayim (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary) is approaching the end of one of the best careers in Pepperdine history. Here are some of the highlights:
• She was named to the All-WCC first team for the third consecutive year. She is Pepperdine's first three-time first teamer since Damaris Hinojosa from 2000-02 and is only the fourth player in Waves' history to earn first team honors three times.
• On the court this year, she is also a two-time WCC Player of the Week (Nov. 30, Jan. 18) and made the All-Tournament teams at the WCC Championships and the Arizona State Classic.
• She is a standout in the classroom as well. This year, she was a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, made the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team (she previously made the third team in 2009) and was picked to the WCC All-Academic team for the third year in a row (becoming Pepperdine's first-ever player to make the first team three times). Last year, she was Pepperdine Athletics' Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and made the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar second team.
• Ayim is Pepperdine's all-time leading shot blocker. She has set school records for career (179) and season (82 this year) and tied the school single-game record with nine against Saint Mary's on Feb. 25.
• Also on Pepperdine's career lists, she ranks 10th in points (1,358), eighth in rebounds (727), sixth in field goals made (576) and tied for sixth in games played (118).
• Ayim is the only player in the West Coast Conference that ranks in the top 10 in points (14.8, seventh), rebounds (6.6, seventh), steals (1.6, eighth) and blocks (2.6, second).
• She has posted six double-doubles this year (against the likes of Purdue, Arizona State, San Diego State, Santa Clara, San Francisco and Loyola Marymount) and has a total of 20 in her career.
MORE HONORS - Miranda Ayim wasn't the only Pepperdine player to earn accomplishments this year:
• Jazmine Jackson was named to the All-WCC honorable mention squad for the second straight season.
• Shay Cooney-Williams was picked to the WCC All-Freshman team.
• Lauren Bell was picked to the WCC All-Tournament team. She also made the Arizona State Classic All-Tournament team.
NATIONAL RANKINGS - According to the latest NCAA statistics, Pepperdine ranks #11 in the nation in turnover margin at 6.13. Individually, Miranda Ayim ranks #16 in blocked shots (2.6).
JULIE ROUSSEAU - The fifth head coach in Pepperdine women's basketball history, Julie Rousseau is now in her sixth season with the Waves. She is a former head coach of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks and was an assistant coach at Stanford before joining the Waves. In just her second season, she led Pepperdine to a WCC Tournament title and a spot in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Heading into the WNIT, her career record is 86-93. Rousseau was the assistant coach for the U.S. World University Games team in summer 2009, which won a gold medal in Belgrade, Serbia.
ASSISTANTS - Maylana Martin Douglas (UCLA '00), Darryl Brown (Temple '95) and Maurice Hilliard (La Verne '91) round out the 2009-10 coaching staff. This is the second season for each one of the assistants. Martin Douglas was one of the top players in the history of UCLA women's basketball. Rousseau describes "great chemistry among the staff and athletes" and says the trio consists of "evenly balanced, hard workers who have great character and a desire to mentor each of the young women in our program and help them grow."
SERVICE - The women's basketball team is one of the most involved teams at Pepperdine in terms of community service. In the summer, the team put on a series of basketball clinics for local youth to attend. All of this involvement, Rousseau believes, is the key to success in life and on the court - which is giving to others and making the world a better place.
WCC PRESEASON POLL - The league's coaches had it right, as Pepperdine was picked to finish third in the in the conference's preseason poll. The predicted order went as follows: Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland, Saint Mary's, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Clara.
WAVES IN THE PROS - Rasheeda Clark, who played for the Waves from 1999-2001 and was the 2000 WCC Player of the Year, became the WCC's first-ever player to be chosen in the WNBA Draft (however, she didn't end up making a team). Then, Jennifer Lacy became the first WCC women's basketball player to make a WNBA roster, as she won a spot with the Phoenix Mercury in 2006. Lacy was part of the Mercury's 2007 WNBA championship squad and is now with the Atlanta Dream.
FIRESTONE FIELDHOUSE - Firestone Fieldhouse opened on Nov. 30, 1973 and is the long-time home of the Pepperdine women's basketball program. Since the 1976-77 season, which spans the last 34 seasons, the Waves have compiled a 297-168 (.639) record in the Fieldhouse. Pepperdine has posted 27 winning seasons and just six sub-.500 seasons. All told, the Waves have posted a double-digit win total 14 times, including seven consecutive from 1997-2003. The single-season record for home victories came during the 1980-81 campaign when Pepperdine posted a 15-4 record.
PEPPERDINE HISTORY - This will be the 11th time Pepperdine has posted a winning record in the last 15 seasons and recorded a 20-win season for the seventh time during this run. The Waves captured the program's first-ever West Coast Conference Tournament title in 2002 and followed that up with victories in 2003 and 2006. Pepperdine won at least a share of the regular-season championship four times in a five-season span between 1999 and 2003. Pepperdine has made the postseason in eight of the last 12 years, including the NCAA Tournament four times.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won a total of nine NCAA championships in five different men's sports - one of just 14 schools to have accomplished this feat. Of the 14, Pepperdine is the only non-BCS school and has by far the smallest enrollment. The majority of Pepperdine's teams are ranked nationally year after year and compete for conference and national titles.