Waves Pull Away Late, Win 81-68 at UC Riverside
Pepperdine has two more games at home before openeing up WCC play at the end of the month.
Dec. 6, 2013
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Pepperdine women’s basketball team got a win it sorely needed Friday night, beating a 4-3 UC Riverside squad 81-68 on the Highlanders’ home floor. The Waves got a career night from Bria Richardson who put up 31 points and big baskets from Keitra Wallace and Allie Green to hold off UCR in the second half.
Pepperdine was up by double digits in the first half, but the Highlanders pulled to within two in the second half. Green (Sacramento, Calif./Sacramento HS) would knock down a pair of threes and Wallace (Brea, Calif./Brea Olinda HS) led the charge to again make it a 10-point Wave advantage as the visitors held on for the win. The victory breaks a five game losing streak for Pepperdine.
“We executed and just played really aggressive tonight and that was the difference,” said head coach Ryan Weisenberg. “We started taking some rushed shots in the second half and they jumped on us. We knew that was going to happen and offensively we settled down, we attacked and got back to the free throw line which was the key for us.”
Pepperdine shot 54 percent from the field and a season best 90.9 percent from the foul line in the game. The Waves’ 81 points and 54 percent shooting were both the team’s second best totals this year.
The Waves opened up an early 16-8 lead behind a 9-0 run sparked by back-to-back Ea Shoushtari (Los Angeles, Calif./L.A.C.E.S.) threes. Pepperdine pushed it to a double digit advantage with another three from the junior, followed by a steal and coast-to-coast layup, going ahead 31-18 at the 7:30 mark.
Late in the half, UCR used a 9-2 run to pull within six under the four minute mark. Shoushtari answered with yet another 3-pointer in the final minute to help the Waves take a 38-31 lead into the half.
Shoushtari finished the first period with 13 points and Richardson led the way with 16 points as the Waves shot 52 percent from the floor and 60 percent from three.
Out of the break the Highlanders got a pair of quick baskets on turnovers, one of them being a three-point play, cutting it to a two point Wave lead.
Richardson (Hawthorne, Calif./Serra HS) held on to the lead for Pepperdine, scoring seven of the team’s first nine points to open the second half en route to her new career high.
Green came up big midway through the half, hitting a pair of 3-pointers to push the Waves back up to a 57-51 lead with 7:43 to play. Wallace then took her turn stepping up for the Waves, hitting a pair of layups and two free throws to push Pepperdine back to a 10-point lead with less than five minutes to play. Grace Leah Baughn (Norcross, Ga./Wesleyan School) matched the Waves’ largest lead of the first half, putting the visitors up 70-57 at the 3:43 mark.
“Our defense was big in this game as well,” said Weisenberg. “We got some stops at the right times and really settled down when they got that run. Allie and Keitra were big as well down the stretch. They’re both key players for us who were struggling up to that point, but they turned it around.”
The Waves would hold the advantage the rest of the way, getting six more points from Richardson down the stretch as she eclipsed the 30-point mark.
“My teammates were hitting open shots tonight and that really opened things up for me,” said Richardson. “We knew we needed this one and things finally clicked for us. This is the win that we needed to kick start the rest of the year.”
Wallace finished with 18 points and six rebounds to go along with Richardson’s 31. The junior’s previous career high came earlier this season when she put up 25 at UCLA. She also added four assists and three steals on the night.
The Waves’ hot shooting extended beyond the arc as well, where Pepperdine hit 50 percent of its attempts (7-14). Conversely UCR shot 22.2 percent from deep and 34.4 percent overall. Brittany Crain led the Highlanders with 21 points. The Waves hit all 11 of their free throw attempts in the second half.
The win moves Pepperdine to 3-6 on the season UCR falls to 4-4. The Waves will be back home on Monday, Dec. 16 to take on Cal Poly.