Men’s Basketball freshman guard Cord Stansberry hypes up the crowd while surrounded by the cheerleading squad and Riptide Team in Firestone Fieldhouse on Oct. 15. Blue and Orange madness included the introductions for the men and women’s basketball teams. Photos by Chloe Chan
The annual Blue and Orange Madness tradition returned to Firestone Fieldhouse on Oct. 15.
The festivities for the night included Pepperdine’s PA announcer Asher Low introducing the men and women’s basketball team, a 3-point contest, a dunk contest and the shooting stars competition, along with performances from the cheerleading team and Pepperdine’s Step team.
“Great crowd, way more packed than last year,” sophomore center Carson Basham said. “I’m just excited to see these fans at the games.”
Blue and Orange Festivities: 3-Pointers, Slam Dunks and Introductions
The night began with the half court shot, where each person had to successfully make a shot from half court to get full tuition coverage for a year. A Pepperdine dad was the first to shoot, but he missed.
Pepperdine Athletics did not collect the names of the parents and students who participated in the events later that night.
Tim Perrin, senior vice president for Strategic Implementation, tried the final two shots, and although he came close on the second shot by hitting the rim, he ultimately missed. In the end, no one received free tuition.
From there, the shooting star competition started, which consisted of two teams of three players. The team that made a free throw, layup, 3-pointer and half court shot first, won.
Team one consisted of junior forward Jane Nwaba of the women’s team, sophomore guard Houston Mallette of the men’s team and a Pepperdine student.
Team two consisted of graduate guard Marly Walls of the women’s team, sophomore guard Mike Mitchell Jr. of the men’s team and a Pepperdine student.
The competition came down to the wire, with both teams taking multiple shots from the half court line. In the end, Mitchell Jr. made the half court shot before team one could, taking home the victory for his team.
Next up was the 3-point contest, where whichever participant who made the most shots from the 3-point line won. Each participant had 15 shots total — five each at three different locations.
Freshman guard Hailey Hoff, sophomore guard Helena Friend and sophomore guard Ally Stedman played.
Hoff set the tone of the competition early by scoring ten 3-pointers. Friend made four and Stedman made six, so Hoff took home the 3-point competition victory.
The festivities concluded with the dunk contest, with Dowling, President Jim Gash and Willie the Wave judging the competition.
Freshman guard David Mager, freshman forward Jalen Pitre, redshirt freshman forward Paul Jordan and sophomore forward Max Lewis played the game.
In the dunk contest, each participant was to make a slam dunk in 30 seconds. After each dunk, each judge would give a score from one to 10 based on how great they thought the dunk was. The sum of the three individual scores was that participant’s score for that round.
The competition started off with a three-way tie between Pitre, Jordan and Lewis all scoring a 27. Mager scored a 30, so there was a tiebreaker round to see who would face Mager in the finals.
In the tiebreaker, Lewis had his teammate, freshman guard Cord Stansberry, pass the ball to him from up the stairs then made a dunk. Lewis won the the tiebreaker with this dunk, advancing to the finals.
In the finals, Lewis once again teamed up with Stansberry. Lewis had Stansberry sit on the chair in the middle of the paint and toss the ball up to him while jumping to land his dunk. Lewis won the dunk contest with a score of 29, compared to Mager’s 27.
Hoff said she believed Lewis deserved his victory, while Basham said he believes Paul Jordan had the best dunk and would have won it if he didn’t go first.
Men’s Team Looks to Bounce-Back
Next, Low introduced the Pepperdine Men’s Basketball team. Each player entered through the back door while the crowd roared with excitement.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said this year’s team is looking to put the best possible product on the court.
“In terms of numbers, wins and losses, positioning, we can’t talk about that right now,” Romar said. “We’ve got to worry about ourselves and be the best team we can be.”
The five new first-year additions include forwards Jalen Pitre and Jevon Porter and guards Malik Moore, Cord Stansberry and David Mager.
“They’re learning from us,” Basham said. “They don’t have an ego, they’re just here, ready to learn and they picked it up quick and they’ll be ready for the season.”
Porter is a former four-star recruit and ranked No. 71 nationally. The 6’11” forward is from Columbia, Mo., and said he chose Pepperdine because Romar has a habit of producing pros and the Pepperdine coaching staff will turn him into the player he wants to become.
Moore is a 6’5″ guard from Ventura, Calif. and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee. Moore said he chose Pepperdine because he wanted to stay close to home and looks up to Romar.
Stansberry, who did “the worm” during his introduction, is a 6’3″ guard from Bermuda Dunes, Calif. Stansberry had interest from schools like Arizona State and UC Irvine — even receiving an offer from Rice University — but said he ultimately chose Pepperdine because he believes Romar will make him a better person and player.
Romar was a key reason why these new additions decided to come to Pepperdine. When trying to recruit players, Romar said he tries to be honest with them.
“We just always try to be honest with kids,” Romar said. “We don’t try to be something that we’re not. We do feel we have a track record in kids developing and becoming basketball players and better people. That’s what we try to get across.”
Basham said this year’s team chemistry is some of the best he has ever seen and will lead to success on the court.
“I’ve been a part of a ton of teams throughout my career, and this one of the closest teams I’ve ever been on, as far as guys’ camaraderie and guys just hanging out with each other.” Basham said. “Need to use the chemistry we have now, use our experience, and win some games.”
Despite how young this year’s team is, Romar said the returning players gained a lot of valuable experience during last year’s season.
“Because we were young, we didn’t have a lot of upperclassmen— a lot of young guys played a lot of minutes and therefore gained a lot of experience,” Romar said.
Women’s Squad Full of Energy
Like the men’s team, Low introduced the Pepperdine Women’s Basketball team as the players had their names announced as they came through the back door with the crowd cheering.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, freshman guard Hailey Hoff said the team is looking to build chemistry and compete on the court.
“I think as a team, [we’re] just gaining team chemistry and winning,” Hoff said. “That’s the main goal.”
The four new first-years additions include guards Hailey Johnson and Hoff, forward Drea Brumfield and center KK Brodie. In addition, the team also has two graduate transfers in forward Theresa Grace Mbanefo and guard Marly Walls.
Head Coach Kristen Dowling said she believes the two graduate transfers will play a big role in the upcoming season.
“Marly Walls will be our starting point guard,” Dowling said. “Theresa Grace Mbanefo, a grad student up at the law school, will be our starting forward.”
Hoff is a 5’9″ guard from San Bruno, Calif. and was a McDonald’s All-American Nominee while also being in the top 20 players from Northern California in her class. Hoff said she chose Pepperdine because it was the best fit for her.
“I just really loved the coaching staff and the team,” Hoff said. “And obviously the beautiful location.”
Brumfield is a 6’2″ forward from Chehalis, Wash. and was also a McDonald’s All-American nominee. She said she chose Pepperdine over other schools because she will be supported as a player and person, as well as find success in all areas on and off the court.
Hoff said she believes the chemistry she and her teammates have have will aid them in the upcoming season.
“We all love each other,” Hoff said. “We’ve been working really well together, so it’s been really good.”
Heading into this year, Dowling said she has been working her team hard to ensure they will stay competitive all year long.
“We wanted to get better offensively, so we’ve done a great job getting better offensively,” Dowling said. “We also want to get better defensively, specifically on the rebounding end, so we’ve worked on rebounding.”
As Dowling looks to the upcoming season, she said she believes her team will bring a high level of energy on the court.
“[They’re] energetic,” Dowling said. “They play hard, they play together.”
The Men’s season starts Nov. 7 at Firestone Fieldhouse when the Waves play Rice University.
For the Women’s team, their season begins on the road Nov. 7 against University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Their home opener is Nov. 22 against Concordia. Hoff said she is ready to compete in her first collegiate basketball game.
“Just a winning mindset,” Hoff said. “I’m ready to win.”
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