May 31, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Lauren Pedersen, a 5'10" guard from Brea, Calif., has accepted a scholarship offer to study and play basketball at UC Santa Barbara, head coach Mark French announced Wednesday.
Pedersen played the last two seasons at UCLA, averaging 2.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 54 career games, making 11 starts during that span. She scored a personal best nine points on two occasions - most recently on Jan. 22, 2005 at California in her first start as a Bruin - while her career-high rebounding total of eight came during the 2005 Pac-10 Conference Tournament against Arizona State. Last season, UCLA won the Pac-10 tourney title for the first time in school history and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before finishing with a 21-11 overall record. One of the Bruins' losses came at the hands of UCSB in the Thunderdome on Dec. 17, a game in which Pedersen played seven minutes but did not score. An excellent perimeter shooter, Pedersen knocked down 29 three-pointers during her UCLA tenure.
Pursuant to NCAA Division I transfer requirements, Pedersen must sit out the upcoming 2006-07 season at UCSB, but is permitted to practice with the team. She will have two years of eligibility with the Gauchos beginning in 2007-08, and plans to major in psychology.
"I'm most excited about what Lauren will bring to the Gauchos as a point guard. She's a tremendous floor general who always knows what's going on [when she's] on the court, and has that ability to make everyone around her better," French stated. "I think having Lauren here will be a big benefit to LaShay [Fears] in practice every day. They possess different strengths but will be very complementary to one another."
Pedersen enjoyed an outstanding prep career at perennial power Brea-Olinda High School, culminating in CIF Southern Section Division II-A Player of the Year honors in 2003-04. As a senior, she averaged 14.7 points per game while leading the Wildcats to the Southern Section Division II-A championship, and also earned Second Team All-State acclaim from Cal-Hi Sports. An All-Orange County selection in each of her final three campaigns, Pedersen did not lose a Century League game in any of her four seasons at BOHS. She can also boast honorable mention Street and Smith's All-American recognition as a senior, and gained club experience with California Swish, which posted a 318-3 record during her time with the team.
"Lauren was known in high school as a great clutch shooter, and possesses good all-around skills," French added. "She's also a very dedicated student who will be a great addition to the UCSB community both on and off the court."
Pederson will join a Gaucho squad that posted a 16-14 overall record in 2005-06 and captured a share of their unprecedented 11th consecutive Big West Conference regular season title. Santa Barbara made its 11th straight postseason appearance, advancing to the preliminary round of the Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament. In 2006-07, UCSB will feature nine returning letterwinners and add three scholarship freshmen as well as one Division I transfer.