Waves Drop WCC Contest to Portland, 53-43, at Home

Tessa Emerson

Jan. 23, 2014

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MALIBU, Calif. - An early second half run by visiting Portland downed the Pepperdine women's basketball team, 53-43, Thursday night. Again competing with a seven player rotation, the Waves played even with the Pilots through the opening period, but a 19-2 run out of the gates in the second half was too much for the home team to overcome.

Pepperdine was able to close to within five on a Tessa Emerson jumper at the 5:13 mark, but 44-39 was as close as the Waves would come down the stretch. One more Emerson jumper and a late Ea Shoushtari layup was the only offense Pepperdine could find in the last five minutes of play.

"Playing with seven players is tough, especially in Division I basketball, so that put us in a tough spot," said head coach Ryan Weisenberg, whose team yet again had three injured players on the bench including top scorer Bria Richardson (Hawthorne, Calif./Serra HS). "There were a couple spots where the girls I think were looking toward the bench for a sub and we couldn't help them. They played through it, though. It just came down to our defense lacking a little bit in the second half and offensively they did a good job of making us throw up some shots we don't usually take."

In a low scoring half for both teams, the Waves held Portland to 32.1 percent shooting through the first 20 minutes, as the teams entered the break even at 22-22. The Pilots held the advantage through most of the half, but never went up by more than six.

A Cassandra Brown three at the 7:44 mark gave Portland an 18-13 advantage, but Grace Leah Baughn (Norcross, Ga./Wesleyan School) answered with a triple of her own and Alisha Roberts (Burnaby, B.C./York House School) followed with a jumper to even the score. The teams traded baskets through the final five minutes of the half, with two Emerson (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) foul shots knotting it up at the break. Emerson led all players with 10 points in the first half.

Out of the break Portland took control of the game, rattling off a 19-2 run to take a 41-24 lead at the 12:28 mark. Pepperdine answered with six straight points to cut it back to an 11-point game, but Jasmine Wooton knocked down a three for Portland to make it 44-30.

Emerson finished the game with a team high 14 points, her best scoring output of the season. Shoushtari (Los Angeles, Calif./L.A.C.E.S.) added 13 points, scoring 11 of her total in the second half. The junior guard also added eight rebounds and four assists in the game.

"Tessa has been working hard with the coach Jordan (Adams-Smith) on her post moves and also holding her seal and taking advantage of what the defense is giving her," said Weisenberg. "She did a great job tonight implementing all of those things. She's still getting her legs after coming back from injury, so it's good to see those shots falling for her."

Emerson was 5-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Pepperdine shot just 34.7 percent from the floor and hit just 2-of-13 threes in the game. The Waves came into play third in the conference in 3-point shooting.

Portland's Cassandra Thompson led all players with 15 points and Amy Pupa grabbed 11 rebounds. The Pilots shot 40.6 percent in the second half and out-rebounded the Waves 42-34 for the game. Portland had 17 offensive rebounds, leading to 14 second chance points.

The loss drops Pepperdine to 5-14 on the year and 1-7 in WCC play. The Pilots improve to 11-8, 4-4 WCC. The Waves have a quick turnaround, facing first-place and 25th-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday at 2 p.m.



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