Colbey Ross against Santa  Clara.jpg

Pepperdine Waves basketball player Colbey Ross, in a game against Santa Clara

Pepperdine Waves basketball seasons will tip off no later than the end of the year. 

Earlier this month, the West Coast Conference, the hoops league that the Waves men’s and women’s teams compete in, released conference slates for squads hailing Pepperdine and the other WCC-member schools. 

The Pepperdine women’s team is set to host Portland on Dec. 28 to begin their WCC play, while the men’s squad’s first WCC contest is a home matchup against BYU on New Year’s Eve. 

College basketball’s governing body, the NCAA, set the start of the college basketball season on Nov. 25. Pepperdine Athletics spokesperson Roger Horne wrote in an Oct. 21 email that the Waves teams are in the process of scheduling games against non-WCC teams in order to have competitions before their conference schedules begin. 

“Both teams are actively scheduling non-conference games between Nov. 25 and the start of conference play,” he said. “There is no deadline, and we hope to have them completed soon.” 

After facing BYU, the Waves men’s team plays 15 more WCC contests. The group plays at Saint Mary’s on Jan. 2 and at San Francisco five days later. Pepperdine plays at Gonzaga on Jan 14 and hosts Portland on Jan. 16 and Pacific on Jan. 21. On Jan. 23, the Waves play at BYU, then host Gonzaga on Jan. 30 and San Diego on Feb. 4. Pepperdine hosts San Francisco two days later and plays at Loyola Marymount on Feb. 11. The team hosts Saint Mary’s two days later. The Waves play at Portland on Feb. 18, at Santa Clara on Feb. 20, hosts Loyola Marymount on Feb. 25, and closes the regular season at San Diego two days later. Pepperdine’s schedule includes byes on Jan. 9 and Jan. 28. 

The men’s team had a 16-16  record last winter before the college basketball season was ended prematurely in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Waves are led by senior guard Colbey Ross, who is set to break Pepperdine’s career scoring record and averaged 20.5 points a game last season. Ross, a two-time All-WCC first team pick, is also Pepperdine’s career assist leader. Another top returnee is Kessler Edwards, a junior forward. He was an All-WCC second-teamer last season.  

The Waves women’s team hosts Gonzaga two days after their season opener. Pepperdine’s WCC schedule includes 16 other matchups with no byes. The Waves play at San Francisco on Jan. 2, at Santa Clara on Jan. 4 and host San Diego on Jan. 7. The Waves host BYU two days later and play at Loyola Marymount on Jan. 16, at Saint Mary’s on Jan. 21 and at Pacific on Jan. 23. The squad hosts Santa Clara on Jan. 28 and hosts San Francisco two days later. Pepperdine plays at BYU on Feb. 4, at San Diego on Feb. 6 and hosts Loyola Marymount on Feb. 13, before hosting Pacific five days later. On Feb. 20, the team hosts Saint Mary’s, plays at Gonzaga on Feb. 25 and closes the season on Feb. 27 at Portland. 

The women’s squad finished last season with a 16-15 record. Sophomore guard Malia Bambrick is Pepperdine’s top returning scorer from last season. She averaged 10.4 points per game. 

Horne said Pepperdine hopes fans can attend games at the university’s Firestone Fieldhouse this season but must follow guidelines established by the State of California and Los Angeles County governments to halt the spread of the coronavirus. 

“With current rules in place, we would not have any fans if we were playing today,” he wrote in his email. “The NCAA, Los Angeles County, State of California and Pepperdine University will all have [their] rules in order to host athletic contests in as safe a manner as possible. We are currently examining all of our gameday operations and developing a plan to maximize social distancing during basketball games in Firestone Fieldhouse.” 

Pepperdine’s men’s and women’s basketball players will be tested three times per week for the novel coronavirus during the season, according to Horne. 

“The health, safety and welfare of our student-athletes is the most important thing,” he wrote. “Our student-athletes clearly want to compete and it’s important that we give them the best and safest opportunity to do so.” 

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