Pepperdine's men's basketball program is on an upswing, in part because a former UCLA player has found a new love for the game.
The Waves are 10-6 overall, 3-1 and tied for second place in the West Coast Conference. Their only conference loss came at San Francisco, when Pepperdine Coach Marty Wilson said his team had an inexplicably bad second half.
The good-news story for the Waves is that of Brendan Lane, a 6-foot-9 forward who played at UCLA, graduated in three years and decided to transfer and use his final season of eligibility at Pepperdine.
Lane was eligible to play last season but decided to take a year away from basketball to get healthy and rebuild his confidence. He is in a master's degree program at Pepperdine and he leads the Waves with averages of 15.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots.
Wilson said taking the year off worked for Lane.
"His confidence is sky-high," Wilson said. "He's become a leader for us and he's such a smart player at both ends of the court. He's just a great kid."
Wilson said that when twins Travis and David Wear transferred to UCLA from North Carolina, Lane was relegated to the end of the Bruins' bench and lost his confidence.
"For us," Wilson said, "he brings a lot to the table. I just wish I was going to have him for more than one year."
Pouring it on
Bria Richardson, a junior guard on the Pepperdine women's basketball team, scored 44 points in a double-overtime win against Santa Clara last Thursday.
Fannie Allen, who scored 46 points in a game in 1980, is the only Pepperdine player who has scored more in a single game.
Richardson's outburst was a point shy of the WCC record for points in a conference game, established by Portland's Martha Sheldon in 1992.
'Eaters can pass, block
UC Irvine (9-7) opens Big West Conference play Thursday at Long Beach State (4-10), the conference's regular-season champion the last three seasons.
Irvine defeated Long Beach twice last season.
Irvine has 282 assists, which leads the nation, and the Anteaters are fifth in blocked shots with 104.
The nine nonconference wins are Irvine's most since the 2000-01 season, when the Anteaters finished with a record of 25-5.
Long Beach had a chance to tie now-21st-ranked Missouri with less than six minutes to play last Saturday but ended up losing, 69-59.
Guard Mike Caffey scored 10 points, marking the 10th consecutive game he had scored in double figures. Forward Kris Gulley tied his career high with 13 points.
Long Beach has played a typically brutal nonconference schedule — top-ranked Arizona, No. 25 Kansas State (twice), Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth, Washington and North Carolina State are among the 49ers' losses — and has a record that shows it. But conference play offers a second chance, Caffey said.
"We're just looking at our record as 0-0 now," Caffey said. "All of this that's come before is to get us ready for the league. Now the fun starts."
Molly Goodenbour, a member of two national championship teams at Stanford, has turned the tide for Cal State Dominguez Hills' women's program.
She inherited a team that had gone 3-26 and coached the Toros to a 9-17 record last season.
This season, Dominguez Hills is 8-2 overall, 4-2 in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. The Toros are on a six-game winning streak and are a game out of first place in the CCAA.
Goodenbour, who was MVP of the women's Final Four in 1992, replaced Van Girard, who had coached Dominguez Hills for 24 years.
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