Pepperdine Women’s Basketball beat UC Irvine 63-58 Nov. 7 at Firestone Fieldhouse to kick things off for the 2023-24 season. This is the first time Women’s Basketball has opened up the season with a win since the 2020-21 season.
Graduate student guard Myra Gordon started the scoring for the Waves and finished as the teams top scorer with 17 points and five assists. Junior guard Addi Melone followed in Gordon footsteps with double digit points, finishing with 11 along with four assists.
“Everyone says there’s no ‘I’ in team,” Melone said. “We all had to come together at the end of the day.”
Pepperdine struggled early in this game trailing UC Irvine 12-0 within the first three minutes. A common theme for the Waves this game was turnovers, as within this three-minute span the Waves turned the ball over three times.
The Waves finished the game with 24 turnovers as a team.
“We got to continue to work on that turnover number,” Interim Head Coach Kelsey Keizer said. “We’ve got to handle to ball better, and we’ve got to be smarter with it.”
The first quarter was rough for Pepperdine as UC Irvine ended the quarter up 12 points. Pepperdine shot just 5-13 from the field surrendering 12 points in the paint, four second chance points and five fast break points.
“We knew that Irvine was going to be really, really quick getting to the paint and scoring in transition,” Keizer said. “We knew we had to prevent the transition game, and one way to do that was to finish baskets, to finish in the paint and try to slow them down.”
Pepperdine started clawing their way back into this game throughout the second quarter utilizing the paint to their advantage. The Waves scored in the paint on four separate possessions only allowing Irvine to score in the paint once, closing out the half on a 10 point run.
“Our intensity changed right off the bat, and coach said we’re playing defense on our heels,” Melone said. “I just had to be more aggressive, and our aggressiveness on defense change to our offense allowing us to really change the tempo of the game.”
The start of the third quarter marked the beginning of the end for the Anteaters as the momentum quickly shifted toward the Waves. Junior guard Emerita Mashaire gave Pepperdine their first lead of the game off a three-pointer, and the Waves never looked back closing out the quarter 51-43 — an eight point lead.
The Waves entered the fourth quarter maintaining a steady lead over Irvine up until the last minute and a half of the game.
UC Irvine got within two points of Pepperdine as they brought the score to 60-58. A turnover against the Waves gave back possession of the ball to Irvine; however, a five-second clock violation was called against Irvine as they were trying to inbound.
The Waves maintained their lead for the rest of the game, securing a 63-58 win over Irvine.
“[We] executed and trusted coach,” Gordon said. “We went out there today and got down early, but we kept fighting and kept believing in each other. That’s all that matters.”
The Waves hosted New Mexico on Nov. 9 at Firestone Fieldhouse forfeiting their first loss of the season with a 57-48 scoreline. They bounced back with a home win against Caltech on Nov. 11 with a score of 79-42.
The Waves next game is on the road to face off against Fresno State on Nov. 15.
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