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WEST COAST WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT

Pepperdine Prevails in Overtime

March 06, 2004|Rob Fernas | Times Staff Writer

SANTA CLARA — Pepperdine barely avoided elimination Friday against hot-shooting Santa Clara in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference women's basketball tournament.

Steadying themselves down the stretch, the Waves won in overtime, 82-77, before 849 at the Leavey Center, keeping alive their goal of a third consecutive WCC tournament title.

"We were fortunate," said Pepperdine Coach Mark Trakh.

The third-seeded Waves, who trailed by as many as six points with 12 minutes left, withstood a tournament-record 13 three-point field goals by sixth-seeded Santa Clara, which rallied from deficits of 15 points late in the first half and six points with two minutes left in regulation.

Three-pointers by Santa Clara's Jennie Rondel and Quinn Thomas tied the score, 63-63, before the teams traded field goals in the final minute. Reserve forward Kelly Greathouse made a shot from the baseline to give Pepperdine the lead with 42 seconds left. Thomas answered by sinking a leaning jump shot with 15.4 seconds left to tie it, 65-65 -- the final score of regulation.

A three-point play on a spinning layup and free throw by Shanell Law gave Pepperdine a 75-67 lead with 2:48 left in overtime, but the Broncos pulled to within three with three three-pointers in the final 1:09. It wasn't until Shandrika Lee made two free throws with 14.3 seconds left to make it 82-77 that Pepperdine could breathe easy.

The Waves (17-11) won for the 11th time in their last 13 games and will play second-seeded Gonzaga (17-10) in the semifinals at about 2:30 p.m. today. Top-seeded Loyola Marymount (22-5) plays fourth-seeded Portland (14-14) at noon.

Pepperdine had defeated Santa Clara (9-20) by 23 and 20 points during the regular season, but the Broncos stayed close this time by making 11 of 20 three-point shots in the second half. Rondel, a senior forward, made five of eight three-point shots and scored 28 points, a career high.

Lee scored 23 points, and Jennifer Lacy had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Pepperdine, which had a 50-30 advantage in rebounds.

In the other quarterfinal:

Portland 76, San Diego 64 -- The Pilots opened the second half with a 14-0 run to erase a three-point halftime deficit and take control. Lauren Himmelspach scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half, and Hanna Seltzer scored all of her 15 points after halftime for Portland. Marta Menuez had 25 points for eighth-seeded San Diego (7-21).

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