Pacific pulls away from Pepperdine with late push

Pacific pulls away from Pepperdine with late push

Pacific women's basketball (13-6, 6-3 WCC) got back on track with a big win over Pepperdine today, 78-67.

The two teams entered the game in a three-way tie for third in the West Coast Conference and played most of the game as evenly matched on the court as they were in the standings. The Tigers held a tight 57-54 advantage at the end of the third quarter, but the Tigers ended the game on a 13-6 run to put the Waves away to sit in a two-way tie for third in the league with Saint Mary's.

Valerie Higgins helped lead the way with a bounce-back performance after she had just four points on Thursday against Loyola Marymount. She finished with 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds tonight for her eighth double-double of the season. Sophomore forward Brooklyn McDavid and senior guard Ameela Li helped put the Waves away late with eight points each in the fourth quarter. McDavid finished with her seventh double-double and led the team in scoring with 21 points. Li had 18 points with four steals and three assists.

Pepperdine hung with the Tigers for most of the night thanks in part to another outstanding performance from the WCC's leading scorer, Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, who had a double-double of her own with 35 points and 13 rebounds. However, just one other Wave, Barbara Sitanggan, reached double figures.

The Tigers started the game by powering out to a big 15-2 lead thanks to Pacific's defense, which was impregnable to start the game. Pepperdine committed six turnovers and shot only 30% in the first quarter. In the first five minutes of the game, Pepperdine made just one shot.

The Waves powered back behind Robinson-Bacote who made 10 of her 23 shots and was 14-18 from the free throw line in the game. Eventually, the Waves worked into the lead in the third quarter, but only briefly.

In the fourth quarter, Pacific's defense locked back down and held the Waves to just 27% from the field and 0-5 from beyond the arc. Robinson-Bacote had seven points, but only three Pepperdine players found the stat sheet with two points. For the Tigers, McDavid tore apart the Waves defenders with stellar post play and Li made three of her four attempts to help put away the Waves.

A technical foul on the Waves in Pacific's defensive end with a little more than five minutes to play sparked a big run for the Tigers to close the game. Li made both of the free throws and the Tigers converted on the following offensive possession turned a two-point Tiger lead into a six-point Tiger lead.

Pepperdine scored only four points in the final five minutes.

Pacific's win bumped the Waves down to fifth in the league at 5-4. The Tigers sit in a tie for third with Saint Mary's who defeated Loyola Marymount in Moraga. BYU remains in first at 9-0 and Gonzaga, who Pacific hosts on Thursday, stays in second at 8-1.