Women's Basketball Upset At WCC Tourney By Pepperdine

Hailie Eackles (photo by Reagan Lunn)
Hailie Eackles (photo by Reagan Lunn)

Las Vegas, Nevada - The Pacific women's basketball team couldn't overcome a big hole early, falling to Pepperdine, 81-72 Thursday in the West Coast Conference Championship First Round at Orleans Arena. Hailie Eackles capped her Pacific career with 18 points and four assists.

Erin Butler hit 3-of-4 three-pointers for nine points, with five boards, three assists and no turnovers. Emily Simons and Desire Finnie each added 12 points, while GeAnna Luaulu-Summers scored eight points with eight assists and four steals.

The Tigers rallied from down 14 to pull within two at 60-58 with 7:58 remaining, but the Waves responded with seven straight points and held on to advance to Friday's WCC quarterfinals against top seed BYU.

Pacific wraps the season at 13-17 overall. Pepperdine improves to 7-22. The Waves were led by 21 points from Paige Fecske, 18 from Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, 17 from Allie Green and 12 from Devin Stanback.

Pepperdine opened with the first three buckets of the game, before Finnie sliced to the rim and finished.  Fecske hit a three for Pepperdine for an 11-4 lead before Mauriana Clayton scored inside while being fouled. The Waves led 15-6 before Simons provided a lay-up in transition and Queenland recorded a steal and run-out basket. Eackles drained a three to cut the Pepperdine lead to 17-13.

Queenland cut the gap to three with a triple from the top of the key. After an Eackles floater and post-bucket from Eli Lopez Sagrera, the Waves took a 24-20 lead on a pair of inside buckets. Butler drained a triple, but the Waves added a jumper before the end of the first to lead 26-23 at the quarter break.

Eackles drove for two, and Butler hit another three to tie the game at 28-28. But the Waves reeled off nine straight, capped by a Fecske three-pointer. Simons stopped the bleeding with a baseline jumper, but the Waves closed the half with an 18-4 run as the Tigers connected on one of their last nine field goal attempts.

Pacific shot 36 percent in the first half (12-of-33), while Pepperdine connected on 52 percent in the first half (17-of-33).

Pepperdine opened the scoring in the third with a three from the corner from Alloe Green before Luaulu-Summers answered with a jumper. Eackles hit a three-pointer to cut the gap to a dozen. A steal and fast break lay-up from Eackles followed by a Clayton lay-up brought the margin to eight, at 53-45. Luaulu-Summers added a jumper and Simons a lay-up for a 13-0 Pacific run. Green snapped the run, but Butler answered with a three, as the Tigers outscored the Waves 20-12 in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to four, 58-54.

In the fourth, Green and Eackles traded jumpers and Luaulu-Summers found Clayton underneath cutting the margin to two. But a put-back on a missed free throw and a transition lay-up put the Wavers back up seven with 6:50 to go. Finnie finished while being fouled. Finnie added a jumper in the paint to cut the gap to 70-65 with 5:03 to go. Brockway hit a turnaround jumper in the paint for the Waves before Simons answered right back.   Eackles and Finnie had three-pointers rattle in and out.

Simons scored in the paint to pull within 74-69, but Fecske hit a big three with 1:54 to go going the Waves an eight-point cushion.

Pacific finished 0-for-5 from three-point range in the fourth quarter and 6-of-21 for the game.

Pepperdine connected on 41 percent in the first quarter to build a lead, and 55 percent in the fourth to ensure the Waves kept it. Pacific's driving offense in the second half gave the Tigers a 38-32 advantage in points in the paint. But the Waves hit 19-of-29 from the free throw line to the Tigers' 12-of-17.  Pepperdine held a 42-33 edge in points in the paint.

The Tigers also won the turnover battle, forcing 20 miscues and turning them into 27 points, while 16 Pacific miscues led to 17 Pepperdine points.

It was Pacific's first loss to Pepperdine since joining the West Coast Conference.

Eackles finishes her career with 1,069 points, 19th on the Tigers all-time scoring list. Eackles' two three pointers give her 190 in her career, fifth on the Tigers all-time list, while Butler finishes tied for seventh in career threes with 159 in just three seasons with the Tigers.