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Brenner joins sand volleyball, leaves basketball

(The Register-Guard) — Oregon multi-sport star Liz Brenner has decided to drop basketball from her busy schedule.

Before the Ducks snapped a six-game losing streak with an 82-66 victory over Washington State on Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena, Brenner announced that she was leaving Paul Westhead's program to focus on the new Oregon sand volleyball season and an upcoming tryout with USA Volleyball.

"It hurts to leave my teammates and this program," Brenner said in a prepared statement. "But I have a chance to take the next step in my volleyball career and I take it very seriously. Balancing my volleyball goals with the demands of the women's basketball season is just not possible right now."

Brenner will take part in the USA Volleyball tryouts from Feb. 21 through Feb. 23 at the USA Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. She was already scheduled to miss the women's basketball road trip to Washington and Washington State to take part.

In the absence of the 6-1 junior forward, Oregon out-rebounded the Cougars 59-35. Jillian Alleyne, the NCAA's best rebounder, finished with 21 points and 19 rebounds.

"It's sad that she left, but I do understand where she's coming from," Alleyne said after Oregon's first conference victory of the season. "Now Megan (Carpenter) is here and she can step up and do just as well."

Carpenter, a 6-4 junior who played sparingly during the nonconference schedule because of a foot injury, had four points and four rebounds off the bench against Washington State.

"Liz Brenner has given us, prior to this, two seasons of steady play," Westhead said. "She's certainly a very journeyman inside player that can stabilize things, rebound for us and defend it well. She was a value to us. We simply have to adjust.

"The specific adjustment is we need more minutes out of Megan Carpenter. I was pleased with her play."

Danielle Love finished with seven points and a career-high 14 rebounds to help Oregon improve to 10-8 overall and 1-6 in the Pac-12.

The Oregon sand volleyball team has begun practicing and Brenner will join them immediately.

The sand volleyball competition season runs from March 21 through April 12. Sand volleyball was announced as a varsity sport on Sept. 27.

Brenner appeared in eight games this season, averaging 3.1 points and 2.1 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game. She joined the women's basketball program for the Dec. 18 game against Southern after an all-America campaign with the Oregon volleyball team in the fall.

Overall for her career, Brenner played in 49 games, including 26 starts. She averaged 6.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Her final appearances with the basketball team were last weekend against UCLA and USC.

Brenner's commitments to the sand volleyball and, potentially, the USA national team should wrap up in time for her to still throw the javelin again this season with the track and field team later in the spring.

Brenner finished eighth in the javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Championships a year ago, earning all-American honors.

Oregon will host the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships from June 11 through June 14.


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