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.