Photo by Matt Benton
After a rough start to the four-game homestand at Firestone Fieldhouse, the women’s basketball team looked to kick off the second half of conference play by rebounding from two tough losses.
Pepperdine began the second half of conference play with a matchup against Pacific on Thursday night. However, it was a tough matchup, as Pepperdine learned they would be without leading scorer and senior starting guard Bria Richardson, who suffered a minor injury. The Waves started off hot behind Wallace’s six points in the first minutes of the half as both teams battled down in the post with hot shooting, exchanging the lead four times. Pacific would then pull away, going on a 10-0 run to go up 21-10, but the Waves would counter with an 8-0 run led by Wallace, who had 13 points on 5/10 shooting in the half, to cut the Tigers’ lead to 6. With time winding down, the Tigers would get a desperation 3-pointer to take a 39-27 lead at halftime.
After halftime, freshman forward Olivia Ogwumike keyed a 6-0 run that cut the lead to single digits before Pacific brought the lead back to double digits (15) with a 7-0 run of their own. The Waves then rallied back with a 19-4 run to tie up the score late in the game. However, Pacific went to the free-throw line multiple times and knocked down key free throws to steal the game. Despite shooting 41 percent in the half led by Ogwumike, who had a career-high 16 points and 9 rebounds, the Waves fell to the Tigers 63-59.
Head Coach Ryan Weisenberg praised the valiant effort put on by his players, saying, “We came out doing a really good job of staying within the game plan, being very physical and attacking on offense.”
After falling to Pacific, the Waves had another chance to rebound from the loss against another Northern California team in Saint Mary’s. Again, the Waves were without senior guard Richardson for the second consecutive game, this time due to an illness. After posting a career-high in points against Pacific, Ogwumike got the game started with a jumpshot to put Pepperdine up 2-0. Saint Mary’s responded with a 14-5 run, giving them the lead before the Waves cut the lead to 4 by holding Saint Mary’s to a dry spell, as the Gaels shot 1/5 with 3 turnovers in that stretch. Over the last 5 minutes of the half, Pepperdine stormed back with a 7-0 run, including freshman guard Kim Jacobs’s 3-pointer with 2 seconds left which cut the Gaels’ lead to 5, 22-27.
Coming out of the half, the Waves went on a 4-0 run to cut the lead to one, 27-26, behind Ogwumike’s jump shot just outside of the paint. However, the Gaels increased the lead back up to six. The Waves responded with a battle of their own, led by members of the bench in a quick run to take the 49-48 lead after Kim Jacobs’ clutch 3-pointer down the stretch. Jacobs finished with 12 points off the bench to lead the team along with Ogwumike, who had 10 points and 7 rebounds. It was indeed a freshman takeover, but it wasn’t enough as the Waves fell to the Gaels 53-49.
“It was a gutty performance without having Bria Richardson out there. I think the girls all stepped up, especially our freshmen, who did a really good job by showing me what they are capable of doing,” Head Coach Weisenberg said. “We’re knocking on the door right now, and I’m hoping the girls kick in the door, but right now we’re knocking on it.”
The Waves will look to “kick in the door” as they embark on a two-game road trip against BYU tonight and San Diego on Saturday afternoon.
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