Women's preview: No. 19 Pepperdine
In preparation for the upcoming college season, Golfweek is breaking down the rosters of each of its preseason top 30 teams.
No. 19 Pepperdine
2011-12 Golfweek rank: 26
Go-to girl: Grace Na
Season outlook: Pepperdine had flashes of brilliance last season, such as a victory at the Bruin Wave Invitational and a third place at the NCAA West Regional. With a roster that lost only one senior (Kaitlin Drolson), those flashes could become brighter and more frequent this year.
The Waves take their lead from junior Grace Na, a bubbly, explosive player who has the ability to go absurdly low. Exhibit A: Last year's Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, where her first-round 9-under 63 tied an NCAA women's scoring record and spurred her to a wire-to-wire individual victory.
Behind Na in the No. 2 position is sophomore Alina Ching, who notched four top-6 finishes as a freshman, followed by returning juniors Liv Cheng and Danielle Gillaspy and sophomore Somin Lee. Pepperdine also adds freshman Marissa Chow, a Honolulu native who won the 2011 Hawaii Junior.
The bottom line: It’s a small but talented roster in Malibu. Head coach Laurie Gibbs called last season's squad an open-minded group that wanted to win. With the veteran Gibbs guiding these players through the season, more good things are bound to come.