Emerson signs NLI for Pepperdine

Tess Emerson signs her NLI to play NCAA basketball at Pepperdine with parents, Holly and Brad, to either side. Dons coach Andrew Butcher watches from above.

Santa Barbara High’s Tess Emerson signed her National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, signaling her plans to play NCAA basketball at Pepperdine University next year.

“I’m just really excited to go there to see what I can do. I just want to help out,” Emerson said moments before signing the NLI.

Emerson was flanked by her parents, Holly and Brad, and Dons head coach Andrew Butcher as she officially signed the paperwork.

The Dons senior comes from a family rich in basketball history, as her mother played basketball at USC and for the women’s national team while her uncle, Don Ford, played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Emerson is the 20th girls basketball player from Santa Barbara High to make the jump from the prep ranks to Division I. The last was Maria Cordero in 2004.

Emerson is a 6’0″ low-post player that will head into her senior season with the Dons expected to be their leading scorer and rebounder. In her junior season, Emerson averaged 10.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, and 1.1 blocks per game.

Pepperdine is coached by Julie Rousseau. The Waves have qualified for postseason play in 8 of the past 12 seasons, including last season’s WNIT berth after their third-place regular-season finish in the West Coast Conference.

The Waves open up their 2010-11 season on Friday when they host the UCSB Gauchos.

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