Burnaby’s Alisha Roberts is waving goodbye to NCAA Division I Pepperdine University women’s basketball team.
The former York House all-star guard will play her final two seasons of varsity NCAA Div. II hoops at Simon Fraser University following a transfer from the Waves. As a freshman at Pepperdine, Roberts played in 24 games, starting five consecutive games at the beginning of West Coast Conference play. She scored a career-high nine points in a victory against San Francisco in her conference home opener. She appeared in another 18 games as a sophomore.
"Alisha had a solid high school career in B.C. both at York House and on the B.C. provincial team," said Clan head coach Bruce Langford in a SFU press release. "Now, she has two years of ball in California, so it is great to add a player with that type of exposure. On the court, she brings a fiery competitiveness, shoots the three well, and has high expectations for herself, all qualities that we value. Being older has big advantages as she has a wealth of experience which will make us all better."
Roberts collected her first career points with a seven-point performance against the No. 17 UCLA Bruins on Dec. 28, 2012.
"First and foremost, I think of myself as a team player," said Roberts in the release. "I will do everything that is required and expected of me to make our team a better team and to take us to the next level. I am a basketball player that loves to handle the ball, with the first option of looking to pass to an open teammate."
Roberts also pulled down a season-best five rebounds against the Saint Mary's Gaels, collected a season-high three steals against Santa Clara, while notching three or more assists on five other occasions throughout her freshman year.
"I have grown up around the SFU campus, attending SFU camps from a very early age, so the attraction has always been there. If I had not chosen to go south of the border, SFU would have been my first choice, so I am so happy to be coming back home. SFU is also very special to me for one other reason. The last camp I attended here was courtesy of a very special friend, Nicole Eidsvik, who has since succumbed to cancer. I would love to dedicate my first year at SFU to her fighting spirit and memory," continued Roberts.
The Burnaby Edmonds resident graduated from York House School, playing for coach Winston Brown and earning four varsity letters along the way. She was a four-time athlete of the year and a three-time honour roll student, leading York House to a fourth-place finish at the B.C. provincial AA championship and a AAA Lower Mainland championship as a senior.
"I'm excited that Alisha is coming back home, but also that she is entering a program that fits in with her goals as a basketball player," said coach Brown. "She is a young woman, who since she was little has dreamed of playing for Team Canada and dreamed of playing pro in Europe, and what Bruce (Langford) seems to do better than any other coach in Canada is embrace people's goals and their abilities and help bring them in to what they're doing as a program, so it's perfect for her.
"She will be the second point guard I've had go play for Bruce and it's an incredible honour to see them grow in front of you. It's heartbreaking when you watch them go away like a parent with a child, but now that she's come back I'm going to be able to go see all her games. I'll get to see her play with some of the people she played against in high school. It's exciting for me, but not only me, our program at York House to go and see one of our own students play. She grew up in Burnaby and for her to be able to play with the local school is an unbelievable accomplishment," added Brown.
Roberts represented her province with the B.C. under-17 team, earning 15 points per game, four assists and four rebounds as she helped Team BC to a second consecutive silver medal at the 2011 Canadian championships.
She also played on the Basketball B.C. club team from 2008 to ’11, earning first team all-star honours twice along the way, while also helping her under-15 club team to two runner-up finishes at nationals before winning a Canadian championship with her under-17 club team.
"I had an awesome rookie year at Pepperdine, adjusting very well from high school ball to the highly rigorous and demanding NCAA league. My sophomore year came with its challenges, but I continued to adjust and to get better. Now I am blessed to play for my home university that is steeped in a winning tradition. I couldn’t ask for much more. I am ready and cannot wait to be a member of the Clan. As far as my goals for next season are concerned, my personal goals will be framed and referenced by our team goals. I am just so excited to be a member of the Clan," said Roberts.
Roberts will be coming to a Clan team that made it to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament last year and returns Great Northwest Athletic Conference first team all-star Erin Chambers.
Roberts will join her new teammates in preparation for the 2014-15 season in the fall.