Brenner leaving women’s basketball program to focus on volleyball

Oregon forward Liz Brenner (15) works to get around Beavers defender Ruth Hamblin (44) in the first half. The Oregon Ducks play the Oregon State Beavers in the 91st Civil War at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Jan. 11, 2014. (Michael Shaw/Emerald)

Oregon forward Liz Brenner (15) works to get around Beavers defender Ruth Hamblin (44) in the first half. The Oregon Ducks play the Oregon State Beavers in the 91st Civil War at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Jan. 11, 2014. (Michael Shaw/Emerald)

Posted by Jonathan Hawthorne on Friday, Jan. 24 at 9:49 am.

Liz Brenner has decided to leave the Oregon women’s basketball program immediately, the school announced Friday.

Brenner will focus on the new sand volleyball season and an upcoming tryout with USA Volleyball, according to a press release from the basketball program.

“It hurts to leave my teammates and this program,” Brenner said in the press release. “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.”

Oregon’s sand volleyball team has already begun practicing, so Brenner will join them immediately. The sand volleyball competition season runs from March 21 through April 12. The University announced sand volleyball as a varsity sport on Sept. 27, 2013.

The Portland, Ore. native is scheduled to travel to the USA Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. to tryout with the USA Volleyball tryouts on Feb. 21 through Feb. 23. She was already scheduled to miss the women’s basketball road trip to Washington and Washington State to take part.

“We are really going to miss Liz,” Paul Westhead said in the press release. “She is a phenomenal athlete, but we have understood all along that her future lies in volleyball, both here at Oregon and beyond.”

Appearing in eight games this season for the Ducks, Brenner averaged 3.1 points and 2.1 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game. She joined the team for the Dec. 18 game against Southern after an All-America campaign with the Oregon volleyball team last fall.

Overall for her career, Brenner played in 49 games, including 26 starts. She averaged 6.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. She played in both games in Southern California last weekend against UCLA and USC.

Brenner is still expecting to throw the javelin for the track and field team later this spring. Her commitments to the sand volleyball program and potentially the USA national team should be all completed in time for her to join the squad in the spring.

Follow Jonathan Hawthorne on Twitter @Jon_Hawthorne