Feb. 21, 2013
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MALIBU, Calif. - It's the old adage that defense and free throws win basketball games. The LMU women's basketball team took that to heart Thursday night in Malibu, hitting seven free throws as part of a game-ending 11-0 run and coming up with big rebounds and steals down the stretch to clinch a 58-56 win over Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse.
With the win, LMU improves to 10-16 overall and 4-9 in West Coast Conference play while also claiming a season sweep of Wells Fargo PCH Cup rival Pepperdine. Perhaps the biggest note, however, is that the victory snapped a 10-game road losing streak for the Lions, marking the first true road `W' for the squad this season.
Hazel Ramirez led all scorers with 18 points and Alex Cowling chipped in 10 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Mackenzie Kerins was huge with a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with seven points. Off the bench, Ashley Lovett stepped up with seven points and six boards while Deanna Johnson chipped in eight points.
Trailing 56-47 with 5:51 to play, the Lions turned up the defensive pressure, not allowing a Pepperdine (4-20, 1-12 WCC) point for the remainder of the game. At the other end of the court, the Lions slowly chipped away.
A Lovett layup with 1:51 remaining gave LMU its first lead since early in the first half, 57-56, and a Johnson free throw with 29 seconds on the clock capped the 11-0 run.
Ramirez near singlehandedly kept the Lions going in the first half, scoring 15 points, including the first seven of the game. Her jumper at the 16:07 mark gave LMU its lone lead of the half, 7-6.
The Waves would respond a 9-1 run, pushing their lead to seven, 15-8 with 12:04 on the clock.
A Danielle Pruitt jumper followed by five straight Ramirez free throws knotted the score at 15 apiece, but Pepperdine put together an 11-2 run, opening back up a nine-point advantage.
A Ramirez layup and free throw cut the Waves' lead to four late in the half, but Kelsey Brockway and Tessa Emerson scored the final buckets of the half giving Pepperdine a 32-24 lead at the break.
LMU opened the second half with a 7-2 run, climbing to within three, 34-31. The second-half surge continued as an Ashley Lovett layup brought the Lions to within one at the 14:25 mark.
The Lions remain on the road on Saturday, traveling to Moraga for a 7 p.m tip off against Saint Mary's.