Women's Hoops Drops Close WCC Contest

Jan. 25, 2002

Box Score

MALIBU, Calif. - A three-pointer by Pepperdine's Keani Christianson with 32 seconds sealed a 70-60 victory for the Waves over Santa Clara in West Coast Conference women's basketball action tonight at the Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

With seven seconds left on the shot clock, Christianson scored from the top of the key to give Pepperdine its 11th straight victory. Up 61-60 with one minute left to play, her basket gave the Waves a four-point advantage that it extended by making all six free throw attempts to close out the game.

The Waves improve to 5-0 in league play, 14-4 overall, while the Broncos fall to 13-5 overall, 3-2 in WCC action.

"That was frustrating," Santa Clara head coach Chris Denker said. "We had a chance for a huge victory and we let it slip away."

Junior forward Julie Butler led the Broncos with her first double-double, an 18-point, 11-rebound effort. Fellow junior forward Kendra Rhea also notched a double-double, her third of the season as she finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Another upperclassman frontcourt member, junior forward Tammy Annas, added 18 points, while senior guard Caroline Gruening notched 11 from the perimeter.

The game featured the WCC's highest scoring offense against the conference's top field goal percentage defense. The Broncos were scoring 76.5 points per contest entering the night, while the Waves have been holding opponents to 37.8 percent shooting. The Broncos, who average 44 percent from the field, were held to a season-low 32 percent.

Both teams starting the night with offense, as the score favored the Broncos 9-5 after just three minutes of action. The defense then took over, and the score was just 12-10 for the Broncos five minutes later. Early foul trouble for SCU put Pepperdine in the bonus just 10 minutes into the game. The scoring was still slowed after another five minutes, with the Waves holding a short lead, but Rhea--who posted the first four points of the night--added a three-point play to return the Broncos to a 15-13 lead. Pepperdine, who used a full-court press most of the first half, earned two quick baskets by Sarah Richen to reverse the lead. A transition layup by Annas, a block by Rhea, and three steals in the last two minutes helped give SCU a seven-point half time lead, 30-23.

Pepperdine slowly caught up and tied the game at 40 on a Richen three. The two teams traded leads through the rest of the game.

Santa Clara held Pepperdine leading scorer Damaras Hinojosa to two points at intermission, but two second-half three pointers led to her 12-point performance. Tamara McDonald led the Waves with 16 points while Richen added 15. The Waves hit 22 of 24 free throws, led by McDonald's 8-8 night.

With the win, Pepperdine has tied the program's all-time consecutive win streak at 11 games, originally set in the 1999-2000 season. The 6-0 start in league play is the best start for the Waves since WCC women's basketball was formed in 1985-86.

Santa Clara was also held to a season low 1-17 (.059) from three-point range. Additionally, the loss marked the first halftime lead the Broncos hadn't protected all season and the first time this year that the team's bench was held scoreless.

The Broncos continue league action tomorrow night when they visit Loyola Marymount at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles. The contest is slated to begin at 7 p.m.