SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the opening round of the West Coast Conference Tournament from The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Santa Clara women's basketball fell to Pepperdine by a final of 80-74. The loss ends the Broncos season at 10-20 overall and 6-12 in WCC action while the Waves are now 6-24 overall and 1-17 in conference play.
"I have to tip my hat to Pepperdine because they came out and took away our post players just like in the two prior games," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "I thought we were really tight in the first half but got ourselves settled down in the second half. Down the stretch they made big shots and unfortunately we came out on the wrong end of that one."
Santa Clara shot 42.9% (27-63) from the field and 27.8% (5-18) from three. The Broncos had 35 rebounds, 11 assists, 11 turnovers, two blocks, and two steals. Nici Gilday led the offense with 27 points on 11-21 shooting and eight rebounds. Jo Paine scored 17 points with nine rebounds while Marie Bertholdt scored 16 with five boards.
Pepperdine shot 40.0% (28-70) from the field and 31.3% (5-16) from three. The Waves had 50 rebounds, eight assists, 10 turnovers, three blocks, and five steals. Ea Shoushtari led the offense with 30 points on 11-25 shooting with seven rebounds. Grace Leah Baughn scored 19 on 4-4 shooting from deep with six rebounds while Allie Green scored 15 points with five rebounds.
Santa Clara went on a 7-0 run over 1:47 early in the first half to get on top 11-5. Gilday led the way with a jumper and a three that made the score 11-5. Pepperdine was 0-3 from the floor during the run but scored on a jumper by Shoushtari. Bertholdt answered right back with a layup at 15:21.
Right out of the under-16 media timeout, Green hit a jumper to make the score 13-9 at the 15-minute mark. Neither team would score for the next 3:22 until Baughn drilled a three to make it a one-point game. The teams went a combined 0-13 (SCU 0-4, PEP 0-9) from the field.
The Waves would go on a 10-0 run over 5:32 to take the lead 17-13. Two free throws by Raquel Avila ended the run and Bertholdt tied the game on the next possession with a jumper.
Pepperdine came right back with an 11-0 run over 3:34 to retake the lead 28-17 while the Broncos were on a 3:34 scoring drought. Shoushtari led the way six points while Santa Clara missed two shots from the field and three free throws. The run and drought ended when Bertholdt made a layup as the shot clock was winding down with 4:50 left in the opening half.
The Broncos went on a 7-0 run over the final 1:26 of the first half while the Waves were 0-3 from the floor. Ricki Radanovich drilled a three from the left corner and Gilday hit two short jumpers to send the teams to the locker room with the score 32-26 in favor of Pepperdine.
Santa Clara shot 34.6% (9-26) from the field and 20.0% (2-10) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 18 rebounds, four assists, six turnovers, and two blocks. Gilday led the offense with 13 points and five rebounds. Bertholdt scored eight points while Ruta Zurauskyte had three rebounds.
Pepperdine shot 35.1% (13-37) from the field and 30.0% (3-10) from three in the first half. The Waves had 27 rebounds, five assists, three turnovers, one block, and three steals. Shoushtari led the offense with 11 points and four rebounds. Baughn scored 11 points on 3-3 shooting from deep while Amanda Lovely, Keitra Wallace and Kelsey Brockway each grabbed five rebounds.
Paine came out of the locker room on fire and scored the first six points for Santa Clara of the half. After Bertholdt hit two from the charity stripe with 16:54 on the clock, the Bronco deficit was cut to just two.
Santa Clara took the lead 39-38 at 15:05 on a fast break layup by Bertholdt. The previous possession Gilday hit a three in transition. Green made a free throw line jumper to get the Waves back up by one on the following possession.
Paine made a reverse layup to get the Broncos on top and Gilday followed with a three-point play that made the score 44-40 Santa Clara with 13:21 left on the clock. Emerson got the Waves back within two but Paine continued her big half with a layup.
Baughn hit her fourth three of the day to start a 9-0 run over 1:30 while Santa Clara was 0-4 from the field. The run gave Pepperdine a 53-51 lead before Paine hit a three as the shot clock winded down to get the Broncos back on top by one.
One of two from the free throw line by Green with 3:19 on the clock tied the game at 60-60. Shoushtari drove to the lane and had a chance for a three-point play but missed the free throw. After an offensive rebound, Green hit a deep baseline two to put the Waves up four. Katie Hawkins hit two free throws to get Santa Clara back within two but Shoushtari continued her bit day with a three.
Two free throws put Pepperdine up five but Gilday came back with a quick layup to make it 69-66 Pepperdine. Wallace hit one of two and Gilday made another quick layup to make it a two-point game with one minute left in regulation.
Shoushtari came right back and answered with a layup. Baughn made a steal but was fouled on her layup attempt. She hit one of two to make the Bronco deficit five. Radanovich was fouled on the other end but missed the first free throw and only got it back to a four-point game.
Pepperdine continued to hit free throws down the stretch and was able to hold off Santa Clara for the win.