News and Events
Women's Hoops Make Big Sister Day a Success
The Pepperdine women’s basketball team hosted a “Big Sister” clinic for under-privileged children on Saturday, Feb. 28. Eleven girls from the Tom Bradley Elementary School after-school program, in South Los Angeles, arrived at the Pepperdine Malibu campus to watch a Waves vs. Gonzaga game, followed by a Big Sister, Little Sister evening.
"It was truly our pleasure and a huge blessing for our young women to be a part of this occassion. It is always good to be able to give to others and spread joy and we always want to participate in that cause," said Pepperdine women's basketball coach Julie Rousseau.
The event had been planned for weeks and the Waves wrote personal notes to the girls welcoming them to Pepperdine and Firestone Fieldhouse. The notes were tucked in a packet with each girl's name on it and a picture and biography of their "Big Sister."
The girls arrived on Feb. 28 in a van courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department. Alice Sanders, 12, was particularly excited and somewhat nervous as she had been chosen to sing the National Anthem prior to the tip-off.
"I memorized the words from singing it everyday at school," said Sanders. "I was really kind of nervous because I've never sang it all by myself in front of lots of people."
Sanders received roaring applause from the fans, players and coaches at the conclusion of the anthem.
An added bonus for the girls was watching the Waves upset the Gonzaga Bulldogs 72-62, handing them only their second loss of conference play this season. The girls were especially excited when one of their "Big Sister's" made a basket.
At the conclusion of the game the Pepperdine players went to their locker room for a post-game speech, then to sign autographs for fans and meet their "little sisters."
The excitement at each Big Sister, Little Sister meeting was palpable. Smiles and hugs continued throughout the day as the girls were treated to some drills and games. The day ended with promises to stay in touch. The Waves hope this will become a mentor program where they might offer guidance and encouragement to their Little Sister's throughout the year.
The after-school program is sponsored by A Chance for Children Foundation run by longtime Pepperdine athletic supporters Tai Collins and Greg Bonann, who have been working with Pepperdine athletic teams for 18 years putting on various clinics for the children.
"It was wonderful and we got feedback all weekend on what a fantastic day the kids had," said Bonann.
Later in the evening, Collins received a call from one of the girls. She said, "Thank you so much, Miss Tai... We got to meet real basketball players and it was just so amazing."
This is the second event that Pepperdine athletics has hosted for A Chance for Children this school year. The men's water polo team put on a very successful "Big Brother" day last fall after they upset UCLA.
For more information about women's basketball at Pepperdine, visit the Pepperdine Athletics Web site.