Waves Turn Back Lions, 67-66 in OT
LMU drops WCC opener
Jan. 10, 2009
Malibu, CA - LMU overcame a 15-point deficit with 7:30 left in regulation to force overtime but hosts Pepperdine pulled out a 67-66 overtime victory in the West Coast Conference opener on Saturday afternoon at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, CA. The Lions (10-5, 0-1 WCC) suffer their first loss in Malibu since 2003 while the Waves (8-7, 1-0 WCC) win their second straight over LMU. The loss is LMU's second in overtime this year.
Momentum was the key to the game as LMU built up a 12-point first half lead, only for Pepperdine to come back and lead by as many as 15 with just 7:30 left. The Lions then held a three-point advantage with 30 seconds left in regulation, only to see Pepperdine tie it with three seconds left. LMU then led by three in overtime before the Waves closed the game with a 4-0 run.
Senior Cassady Moore led the Lions with 15 points, adding five rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Sophomore Renahy Young scored five of her 13 points in overtime. Sophomore Melanie Ysaguirre carried the load early and sophomore Aleyse Evans finished it off late as both totaled nine points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.
Jazmine Jackson and Miranda Ayim each had 12 points to pace the Waves. Ayim also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds while blocking five shots and making four steals. Taylor Smith, Jessica Ross, and Joy Lelo each had nine points.
LMU shot 38.6% (22-for-57) from the floor and 38.1% (8-for-21) from three-point range. The Lions hurt themselves at the line, where they were just 14-of-26 (53.8%). LMU held a 49-34 rebounding advantage, including grabbing 16 on the offensive end but could only turn that into nine second-change points. The Lions were also undone by 24 turnovers to Pepperdine's 16.
Pepperdine shot 54.8% in the second half to finish at 40.6% (28-for-69) overall. The Waves were just 3-for-11 (27.3%) from long range but made up for it at the line by sinking 80% (8-for-10).
After slow starts in each of its last two games, LMU had no such trouble against the Waves, scoring on its first five possessions to jump out to an immediate 12-2 lead. Ysaguirre provided the spark on both ends, equaling her season high of six points while grabbing five rebounds (four offensive) and blocking two shots in the opening six minutes. However, after making six of their first seven shots, the Lions went cold, making just one of their next 14 but maintaining a double-digit lead thanks to a stingy defense that limited the Waves to a 4-for-21 start. LMU went more than nine minutes without a basket and had just one hoop over the final 13:54 but still managed to enter the half with a 26-20 lead.
Pepperdine's defense turned the tide to start the second half, forcing three turnovers as back-to-back steals by Nakeya Isabell tied it up at 26-all. Ysaguirre quelled the run with a strong move inside but the Waves kept coming, taking the lead on a jumper by Smith and increasing it on a three by Ross to complete a 13-2 run to open the half. That was part of a bigger 22-4 push that saw the home team build the lead up to 12, 42-30, with 13:06 left.
The Waves led by 15, 52-37 with 7:30 remaining before LMU began to claw back. The Lion bench, who had totaled just two points to that point, emerged to bring LMU back with a 14-0 run. Freshman Candice Nichols started things with a three and junior Kavita Goss hit two long-range bombs during the spurt to bring LMU back to 52-51 with 3:09 to go.
With less than two minutes left, Pepperdine stole the ball and fed Smith, who laid in it for a three-point Wave lead. Moore answered right back with a driving layup and a foul, finishing off the three-point play to complete LMU's comeback and tie it at 54 with 1:24 left. After a Pepperdine timeout, Nichols stole the ball. LMU went inside to Evans, who missed her initial jumper but got the offensive rebound and put it back in, with a foul. Just a 44% free throw shooter on the year, Evans sank the and-one to give the Lions a three-point cushion with 30.9 seconds left.
Pepperdine called its final timeout with 22.8 seconds left, setting up a play for Isabell, who snuck underneath for a layup with 16.9 on the clock. Isabell then fouled out on the inbounds and Young made both for a three-point LMU lead. There was still enough time for Pepperdine, who tied it again on Smith's three with 3.7 seconds left. LMU elected not to call a timeout and Young had a good look from 22 feet but her game-winning attempt came up short, sending the game into OT.
Pepperdine opened with the first four points of overtime but LMU forced turnovers on the next three possessions and converted to regain the lead. Evans scored inside and Young hit a three from the corner, then drove to the hoop for a layup for a three-point LMU advantage. Those would be LMU's last points of the contest, however, as Pepperdine came back with consecutive baskets by Jackson to take a one-point lead. Nichols was then fouled going to the hoop with 18.2 seconds left but missed both. LMU was forced to foul, sending Jackson to the line with 10.1 on the clock but she missed the front end of the bonus and Evans came away with the rebound. Out of timeouts, Young pushed the ball downcourt and fed Goss, whose three-pointer at the buzzer was offline.
The Lions open their West Coast Conference home schedule next week with a pair of games. LMU hosts Saint Mary's on Thursday night at 7 p.m. before welcoming defending WCC Tournament champions San Diego on Saturday. The game against San Diego will feature a special start time of 8 p.m. and will be televised live nationally on ESPNU.
- GO LIONS -