Waves Hit the Road for WCC Matchups with Saint Mary's, Pacific
Pepperdine will close out its January slate with a pair of home games following this week's road trip.
Jan. 14, 2014
THIS WEEK FOR THE WAVES: The Pepperdine women’s basketball team continues West Coast Conference play as it travels to Northern California for a pair of road contests against Saint Mary’s on Thursday (6 p.m.) and Pacific on Saturday (2 p.m.).
COVERAGE: Live audio for both games will be available via WaveCasts and live stats will be available on smcgaels.com and pacifictigers.com.
FOLLOW AND LIKE WAVES WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Be sure and join Pepperdine’s growing communities on Facebook and Twitter. Follow and like the Waves today. Facebook: Pepperdine W Bball / Twitter: @PEPPWBKB
HOOPS EXTRA: Pepperdine is providing more insider content to its fans this season via the Hoops Extra basketball blog, which can be accessed at www.pepperdinesports.com/hoopsextra.
MOBILE APP: Pepperdine Athletics has launched a mobile app for iPad, iPhone and Android users. The app is free to download and features live scoring updates, news stories, on-demand video, photo galleries and much more. A subscription platform is also available to watch live video of home games. Go to your app store and search for “Pepperdine Athletics.”
HOW THEY MATCH UP: Thursday will be the 61st game between the Gaels and Waves with Saint Mary’s holding a 31-29 advantage in the overall series. Pepperdine did pick up the win last time the two teams met, scoring an 80-79 victory in the final regular season game of the 2013 season. The Waves’ matchup with Pacific will be just the fourth meeting between the teams as the Tigers rejoined the WCC this season. The last time the two teams met was in 2002, a game Pepperdine won 82-74 at home.
THE OPPOSITION AT A GLANCE: With just three losses on the year, the Gaels have been near the top of the WCC standings since conference play opened up and are currently tied for second place with BYU and San Diego. Saint Mary’s is coming off wins over Santa Clara and San Francisco. The team’s only two WCC losses are to BYU and USD on the road, they are unbeaten at home. Pacific is also coming off wins against SCU and USF last week. Prior to those two victories the Tigers had dropped three of their last four.
SCOUTING JANUARY: The Waves play five home conference games in the month of January. Just two of the seven games Pepperdine plays this month will be on the road, as they head to Saint Mary’s (Jan. 16) and Pacific (Jan. 18). With three home contests already in the books, Portland (Jan. 23) and Gonzaga (Jan. 25) also come to Malibu this month.
WINNING OFFENSIVELY: In each of the Waves’ five wins the team has shot better than 41 percent from the floor and in seven of the team’s losses it has shot 39 percent or lower. In fact, in its victories the Waves shoot 47.4 percent and in losses the team shoots 37.2 percent. No other statistic shows as great a disparity between wins and losses for Pepperdine than the offensive numbers with the Waves averaging 83 points per game in wins and 63.8 ppg in losses. Pepperdine also has five players averaging in double figures in victories, with Bria Richardson putting up a whopping 24.8 ppg.
BRIGHT SPOT: One bright spot in last week’s loss to LMU was the strong play of Alisha Roberts. Prior to the LMU contest, Roberts was averaging 3.5 minutes per game and had one field goal. Getting time in a depleted backcourt against the Lions, Roberts played 10 minutes, was 2-of-2 from long range and hit a free throw to finish with seven points. She hit her two long balls during a late first half run that helped keep the Waves close heading into the break.
X-FACTOR: Ea Shoushtari has been key in the teams five wins, averaging 14.8 ppg in the victories as opposed to just 9.1 ppg in losses. Through non-conference play, Shoushtari posted eight double-digit scoring games, including a career best 21 point, 13 rebound, six assist night in the Waves’ 17 point win over UC Irvine. Since the open of WCC play the junior guard has eclipsed the 10 point mark once; a 12 point, nine rebound effort in Pepperdine’s lone conference win over Santa Clara.
WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bria Richardson became the first Wave to take home WCC Player of the Week honors since Lauren Bell on 2/6/12, when she took home the weekly honor this past Monday. Richardson put up not only the second best single game point total in Pepperdine history when she scored 44 against Santa Clara, but the second best total in WCC history as well. Her 44-point night was just two short of the Pepperdine record of 46, set by Fannie Allen back in 1980, and one short of the WCC record of 45, set by Martha Sheldon in 1992. It was the first 40-point night by a WCC student-athlete since San Diego’s Michelle Augustovo scored 42 against Clemson (12/11/05) and only the fifth overall. In three games last week the junior guard averaged 20.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.0 assists per game.
WCC PLAY: Since opening conference play the Waves have shot just 34.9 percent from the floor as opposed to the 43 percent the team shot in non-conference action. Opponents are also shooting 44.4 percent in WCC action against the Waves, considerably better than the 39.9 percent they shot early in the year. Pepperdine has improved its perimeter defense in conference play, holding opponents to a 28.7 percent shooting clip from beyond the arc.
WCC NOTES: The Waves’ 34.1 percent shooting from 3-point territory is good for third in the WCC. The team’s assist/turnover ratio (0.9) is also top 3 in the WCC. Pepperdine is fourth in 3-point field goal defense with opponents shooting 30.0 percent from deep. Bria Richardson is third in two major categories in the WCC, sitting top 3 in points per game (17.9) and steals per game (2.8). Richardson’s 2.81 steals per game is also good for 24th in the country. Ea Shoushtari is third with 2.06 3-point field goals per game and fourth with a 32.7 3-point percentage. Richardson’s 44.4 shooting percentage and 3.9 assists are sixth in the conference and Shoushtari’s 7.3 rebounds per game average is eighth.
2013-14 ROSTER: This year’s roster does not feature a single senior. There are five juniors, six sophomores (two of whom will have to sit out due to transfer rules) and a pair of freshmen in the fold for the 2013-14 season.
ON THE UPSWING: With just over half of the season in the books, the Waves’ five wins so far this year already equals the team’s total from all of last season. The 2012-13 Waves got their fifth win in the final regular season game, March 2 against Saint Mary’s. Pepperdine’s win over Santa Clara was the team’s fifth this year and came on Jan. 2.
Ryan Weisenberg ERA: The start of the 2013-14 season marks the opening of the Ryan Weisenberg era at Pepperdine. Weisenberg has made stops on the professional, collegiate and prep level during his coaching tenure, most recently coaching the Manawatu Jets in the New Zealand National Basketball League. Weisenberg has also spent time on the staffs of the Los Angeles Lakers and Sparks, winning a total of five titles with the teams from 2000-05. He is the sixth coach in program history.
CAMPUS LIFE PROJECT: In May 2011, Pepperdine launched The Campaign for Pepperdine, the largest fundraising campaign in the University’s history. The goal is to raise $450 million to support the Campus Life Project, which will benefit the entire campus. The key piece for Athletics is a new, state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat University Events Center, which will replace Firestone Fieldhouse as the Waves’ home. The project has been approved by the County of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission, so the biggest step remaining before the arena can be built is fundraising.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY
Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men’s sports – one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat – and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that’s given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.