Summer Work Helped Clark Do the Job
A wiser, well-traveled Rasheeda Clark led Pepperdine to the West Coast Conference women’s basketball championship this season.
“I played a lot internationally over the summer and it was a key in helping me mature as a player,” said Clark, who was chosen conference player of the year.
The Waves (19-8, 12-2 in conference play) take a nine-game winning streak into their WCC tournament opener Thursday against last-place Gonzaga (9-18, 2-12).
Three more victories and Pepperdine will qualify for the NCAA tournament.
“We played a tough nonconference schedule to prepare us and it really helped,” Coach Mark Trakh said.
Clark’s maturation was a key element.
“I’m a lot more patient with my teammates and I’m able to focus for the duration of the game,” she said. “I know I have to be intense for 40 minutes. I’ve tried to be someone my teammates can look up to.”
Clark has helped Damaris Hinojosa, a freshman from Moorpark High who was an All-WCC choice.
“Damaris is a great scorer,” Clark said. “We really played well together. She took a great deal of pressure off me.”
Six guards made the All-WCC men’s team. Easily the most improved is Tezale Archie of Pepperdine.
Archie, a fifth-year senior, had to battle with senior Robert Fomby for the starting position. But he won the job early in the season by making the winning three-pointer against Fresno State and by dishing out 28 assists while committing only three turnovers during a tournament in Puerto Rico.
“There are great guards in this conference, but the improvement of Tezale Archie is unbelievable,” said Mark Few, Gonzaga coach.
Archie is second in the conference with 5.8 assists a game and averages 9.9 points, second-best on the team.
“I got an opportunity and I’ve gained confidence as the season has gone along,” Archie said. “For the team to win the conference championship, this has been everything I could have hoped for as a senior.”