Women's Basketball Falls in WCC Championship
March 3, 2002
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Senior guard Becki Ashbaugh scored eight points in 9.1 seconds to keep the contest close, but it wasn't enough as the Santa Clara University women's basketball team fell to Pepperdine 81-77 in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship, held this afternoon at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. It marked the Waves' first tournament title.
Santa Clara is now 21-9 overall, while Pepperdine moves to a 23-7 mark. The Broncos now await the NCAA selection show, which will take place on Sunday, March 10. SCU has advanced to the postseason the past four seasons, with two NCAA and two WNIT appearances.
Ashbaugh led the Broncos with 20 points, making four of five from beyond the arc. She finished with nine assists as well. Junior forward Tammy Annas added 15 points, while frontcourt teammate Kendra Rhea finished with her seventh double-double of the season, with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Pepperdine was led by Nadja Morgan, who posted 22 points and 13 rebounds. The Waves' entire starting lineup reached double figures in scoring.
For their efforts the entire weekend, Ashbaugh, Rhea and senior guard Caroline Gruening were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Pepperdine took the early lead, but it was a game the entire half. The Waves were hot from long range and had six three-pointers at intermission. Pepperdine built its largest lead at 21-14, but six straight Broncos scores pulled SCU to within one. A couple of possessions later, reserve Jennifer Bradley picked off a pass and converted the lay-in to tie the score at 24 with 8:30 remaining. A three-pointer by Gruening gave the Broncos their first lead at 27-26, but they were held without a field goal for almost five minutes, as Pepperdine rebuilt a slim for-point advantage. Tammy Annas ended the drought with her own score from long range to restore the Bronco lead at 32-31 with just over two minutes remaining. Rhea's 17-footer tied the score at 34 heading into halftime.
Rhea and teammate Julie Butler posted solid first periods, with 10 and 8 points respectively and combining for 12 rebounds. Shannon Mayberry had a strong first half for the Waves defensively, with three blocks and six boards.
In the second half, plays seemed to be going the Broncos' way, with two huge three pointers from Ashbaugh, as well as a three-point play by Annas and an outside jumper from Courtney Cushing to give SCU a 53-44 lead with 13:56 remaining. Pepperdine had two unforced turnovers and three missed jumpers to force Wave head coach Mark Trakh to call a time out. All-Tournament team member Morgan responded with eight of her team's nine-point run to wipe the deficit and tie the game at 53 with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Cushing regained the lead for the Broncos another lead at 64-61, but Tournament MVP Damaris Hinojosa hit two threes down the stretch to keep Pepperdine in the game. Combined with a Bronco turnover that Pepperdine converted for an easy lay-in and the Broncos were down five with 2:25 remaining.
The Waves made seven of 10 free throws down the stretch, but an Ashbaugh three on the right wing and two free throws followed by a long score from the left side that rattled in put the Broncos within one with 3.2 seconds, at 78-77. Pepperdine's Shandrika Lee and Morgan combined for three final scores from the charity stripe for the final score.