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Pepperdine Faces Saint Mary's in First Round of WCC Tournament

March 1, 2006

MALIBU, Calif. -

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March Madness Begins for PepperdineFor Pepperdine, the rest of the season is easy. Win and your season lives on by another game, lose and the year is over. This weekend the Waves head to the West Coast Conference tournament to battle for the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Pepperdine must win three games this week to extend its season.

About the WavesPepperdine is under the direction of second-year head coach Julie Rousseau. The Waves are 11-16 on the year after splitting last weekend's contests. Sophomore Daphanie Kennedy is leading Pepperdine this season with 11.6 points per game, while Jasmane Clarendon ranks second at 11.3.

Pepperdine head coach Julie Rousseau Julie Rousseau is in her second season as the head coach of the Pepperdine Waves. She came to Malibu after a four-year stint with the Stanford Cardinal. Previously, she served as head coach for the WNBA's L.A. Sparks.

About the Pepperdine ProgramIn its 30th installment, the Pepperdine women's basketball team has posted an overall record of 318-260, including a 166-124 WCC record. Since the 1985-86 season, the Waves have posted six 20 win seasons, with an all-time high of 23 coming during the 2001-02 season. Pepperdine has advanced to the NCAA tournament three times since the 1999-00 season and the WNIT post-season tournament three times since the 1998-99 season.

Pepperdine in the PollsPepperdine is not ranked in either the ESPN/USA Today Coaches or the Associated Press Preseason Polls.

Last Time OutThe Waves held off a late Saint Mary's charge to down the Gaels, 69-64, before missing a three-point try at the buzzer on Saturday and falling, 77-74, to Santa Clara the following night. With the weekend split, the Waves earned the No. 4 seed at this weekend's WCC tournament.

Waves Against the West Coast ConferencePepperdine holds a series lead over four West Coast Conference teams, including Portland, Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount and San Diego. Saint Mary's and Santa Clara are the only programs with winning records over the Waves. Since the 1999-00 season, Pepperdine is 68-28 against conference foes.

Home Winning Streaks Over WCC OpponentsThe Waves have won five or more consecutive home games against three conference foes. With nine consecutive home victories, Pepperdine has not lost to Portland since the 1996-97 season, the longest streak of its kind. The Waves have not lost to San Diego since the 1998-99 season, a span of eight games. Pepperdine has downed Saint Mary's in each of the last six home meetings dating back to the 2000-01 season.

Waves at home in FirestoneBuilt in 1973, Firestone Fieldhouse has been home to the Pepperdine women's basketball program in each of the team's 29 years of competition. During that time, the Waves have posted an overall record of 264-149. Pepperdine has won 10 or more games 14 times with a season-high of 15 coming during the 1980-81 season. The best winning percentage years came in 1979-80 and 1999-00 when both teams went 11-2 (.846) at home.

Ball Named WCC Defensive Player of the YearPepperdine's Kelsey Ball was named the West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year by the league's head coaches. The lone senior on this year's squad pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game with seven blocked shots and 11 steals. The only other Pepperdine player to earn this award was NeSha Thomas during the 2000-01 season.

Clarendon, Kennedy Two of WCC's BestJunior Jasmane Clarendon and sophomore Daphanie Kennedy were named to the All-WCC first team by the league's head coaches. Clarendon averaged team highs in points (11.9) and rebounds (7.3) during conference play, while Kennedy was second on the team in points (11.2) and third in rebounds (4.4). Pepperdine has had at least one student-athlete named to the conference first team every since the 1985-86 season. This season marks the ninth time Pepperdine has landed two on the first team and first since 2003-04.

Ross Lands on All-Freshman TeamTrue freshman Jessica Ross started all 14 conference games this season for Pepperdine, averaging 5.6 points on 37 percent shooting including 78.6 from the charity stripe and pulled down 2.8 rebounds. For her efforts, the Gilroy, Calif., native was named to the WCC's All-freshman team. It marks the fourth consecutive year Pepperdine has landed a player on the team and seventh overall.

Pepperdine In the WCC TournamentPepperdine is 14-11 all-time in the West Coast Conference tournament after posting 1-1 records in each of the last two seasons. The Waves won back-to-back tournament titles in 2002 and 2003 as part of a program-best six-game win streak. Pepperdine went 0-3 in its first three trips to the tournament but has compiled a 9-4 record since the 2000 season.

Waves Youngest in WCCThe 2005-06 Pepperdine Waves are the youngest team in the West Coast Conference. With just one senior, Kelsey Ball, and two juniors, Lauren Wenski and Jasmane Clarendon, this year's team is 75 percent underclassmen. The Waves have four sophomores on the roster, including junior college transfer Nakeya Isabell, and five freshmen.

Pepperdine Signee Tabbed High School All-American Honorable MentionPepperdine signee La-Teena Wickett was tabbed as a 2006 High School All-American honorable mention announced by the WBCA Wed., Feb. 15. The Waves were the lone school from the WCC to earn All-American recognition. Next year's incoming class was ranked No. 19 by Blue Star Basketball.

70 points Equals SuccessLast season, Pepperdine scored 70 or more points five times, with a season-high of 85 coming on January 13, 2005 against Portland. The Waves' record when breaking the 70-point barrier was 4-1, continuing a long-standing tradition of having success when scoring more than 70 points in a game. Since the 1990-91 season the Waves are 187-39 when scoring over 70 points including a phenomenal 36-5 over the past four seasons. In contrast, when Pepperdine fails to reach 70 points they are just 82-158 over the same 14-year span.

More on 70+The Waves had won 16 consecutive games when breaking 70 points until dropping an 84-81 double-overtime decision to the University of San Francisco on February 3, 2005. After scoring 73 in a loss against Indiana State, Pepperdine had dropped consecutive games when breaking 70 points until an 84-61 thumping of San Diego. The previous streak dated back to November 29, 2003 when Pepperdine dropped a 95-77 decision to #19 Oklahoma at the Yellowbook Turkey Shootout in Malibu, Calif.

Pepperdine Best D1-AAA SchoolThe Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association presented Pepperdine the 2004-05 All-Sports Trophy as the top-rated NCAA Division I institution not competing in football. Part of the prestigious Sports Academy Directors' Cup program for all NCAA Division I schools, Pepperdine competed in 14 sports. In addition to a National Championship in men's volleyball, the Waves women's golf team finished 4th in the nation, men's tennis ended the year ranked 5th nationally, Waves baseball finished 17th in the national polls, women's soccer was rated 33rd in Division I and men's golf concluding the year 31st in the NCAA as golfer Michael Putnam won the Byron Nelson Award taking home the silver trophy at the NCAA Championships (July 7).