The Shoe Fits, Pepperdine Goes Dancing!

March 5, 2006

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- A season that started for Pepperdine with humble beginnings turned into a championship campaign.

"I just wanted to step back and watch these young women celebrate; celebrate perseverance and that's really what they did, they persevered," coach Julie Rousseau said after Pepperdine's 71-67 upset of top-seeded Santa Clara earned the Waves an NCAA tournament bid.

With the score tied at 67-67, Daphanie Kennedy streaked down the middle for a layup with 9 seconds remaining to put Pepperdine ahead. She hit two free throws to ice the win, the first this season for the fourth-seeded Waves over Santa Clara.

Pepperdine started the season 1-6.

"I remember certain times of the season where I saw growth. And I kept clinging onto and holding onto the fact that I knew there was a lot of room for growth," she said. "And we saw the growth happen from week to week. I knew that we would continue to improve because that's the type of young women they are."

Kennedy, the tournament's MVP, finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for Pepperdine (14-16). Jasmane Clarendon finished with 15 points. Jessica Ross added 14 points for the Waves, who took an early lead and kept pressure on the Broncos (19-11).

"I just wanted to come back and play solid defense so we could get the win," Kennedy said.

Santa Clara's Michelle Cozad, the WCC Player of the Year, had 16 of her game-high 24 points in the first half.

The Broncos were unable to successfully inbound the ball for the potential tying basket with 6.8 seconds remaining and turned the ball over to Pepperdine with a change of possession after a scramble and tie-up with 1.4 seconds remaining. Tracey Walker fouled Kennedy, who sank both free throws.

Teiosha George scored 10 points and led Pepperdine rebounding with 8 grabs.

Trailing 18-8 with about 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Cozad led a Santa Clara comeback to knot the score at 22-22 with 8:20 remaining. Ashley Gonnerman came off the bench to score 8 of her 10 points during the next four minutes and tie the game at 30-30. Kayla Huss had 10 points for the Broncos.

The game was tied five times in the back-and-forth second period.

The Waves denied Santa Clara a perimeter game, holding the Broncos to just 3-of-14 on 3-point attempts.

"Our focus was to take away their 3-point attempts," Rousseau said. "They thrive on 3-pointers; it's like a team that likes dunking."

Santa Clara coach Michelle Bento-Jackson said the Waves played the Broncos tight on the perimeter.

"We didn't get enough in transition as we normally do," she said, adding she was proud of her team for "giving ourselves the opportunity to be in a position to play this game."

Pepperdine's Kelsey Ball, the WCC Defensive Player of the Year, had 11 points after fouling out of the Loyola Marymount game Saturday and scoring only one point.

Pepperdine beat Loyola Marymount 59-58 Saturday to advance to the championship game. Santa Clara beat San Francisco 75-65 in overtime.

The Broncos swept the Waves in two regular-season meetings, 77-74 at Pepperdine and 67-62 at Santa Clara.



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