Ayim's 29 Helps Waves Beat Santa Clara

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MALIBU, Calif.-  Senior center Miranda Ayim tied a career high with 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Pepperdine women's basketball team defeated Santa Clara, 65-51, Saturday at Firestone Fieldhouse to sweep the season series.

Ayim had scored 29 in an earlier 83-67 victory at Santa Clara on January 14.

Ayim (London, Ont., Canada/Saunders Secondary), made 14 of 22 shots and added four blocks as she moved closer to the all-time record in career blocks with 162. She is now just eight blocked shots short of the school record of 170.

The Waves (16-8, 7-3 West Coast Conference), winner of four consecutive games, jumped out to a 14-2 lead, including a 12-0 run, after the first eight minutes of the game. Pepperdine took a 34-21 lead into the break and held off a late determined charge by Santa Clara (3-23, 1-10).

"We played well. Our defense was on point," Pepperdine Coach Julie Rousseau said. "Santa Clara did a good job of changing the pace of the game. But we have great opportunities to improve."

Pepperdine increased its 13-point halftime advantage to 50-33 on a three-pointer from the top of the key by sophomore guard Lauren Bell (San Bruno, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep) with 10:18 left in the game. Back-to-back three-pointers by the Broncos' Ashley Armstrong cut the deficit to 54-44.

A running three-foot layup by Jazmine Jackson (Oakland, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep) and a five-foot baseline jumper by Ayim gave Pepperdine a 58-46 lead with 1:28 remaining and the Waves would hit seven free throws over the final minute to secure the win.

Jackson had team highs of 10 rebounds and seven offensive rebounds while adding seven points. The Waves grabbed a remarkable 30 offensive rebounds in the game, scoring 21 second-chance points.

After leading early by 12 points, Pepperdine extended its lead to 24-8 with 8:14 remaining in the first half as freshman guard Kelsey Patrick (Mukileto, Wash./Kamiak HS) hit an 18-foot jumper and a long-distance three-pointer and Bell added a three-point shot and a fastbreak layup off Santa Clara turnovers.

The Waves forced 16 turnovers in the first half and 23 for the game resulting in 27 points scored off Bronco mistakes. In contrast, Pepperdine only had two turnovers the first 20 minutes and seven for the entire game.

Pepperdine increased its largest lead of the game to 32-10 with 4:40 left following the hot shooting of Ayim (8 of 12 first-half field goals) as she scored six points in a two-minute stretch. Ayim scored 17 first-half points followed by seven from Bell who scored 15 points on the day.

Santa Clara stayed within distance of the Waves behind the sharp shooting of sophomore guard Alyssa Shoji, who made four of six three-pointers and scored 12 points to lead the Broncos in the first period. Shoji finished with a team-high 20 points and connected on six of 10 three-point shots. Teammate Lena Gipson scored 15 and had a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Waves trail the all-time series with Santa Clara, 29-30, but have won four straight over the last two years.

"We need to execute defensively and offensively as we head up north," Rousseau said. "We just need to play team defense and play together. This team is a tight-knit group. We need each other and have to play hard for forty minutes."

Pepperdine now travels to the Northwest to take on Portland on Thursday (Feb. 18) at 7 p.m. and WCC-leader Gonzaga on Saturday (Feb. 20) at 2 p.m. Fans with a subscription to Wave Casts can listen to both games at www.pepperdinesports.com.




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