Head coach Nina Matthies' team extended its school-record winning streak to 17 matches and will face top-ranked USC in a quarterfinal round contest on Friday night at UC Santa Barbara beginning at 7 p.m.
The match will be broadcast live via the Pepperdine Athletics website with Al Epstein calling the action.
It marks the first time in school history that Pepperdine has advanced to the "Elite Eight" at the NCAA Championships. The Waves had lost third round matches three times in the previous four seasons.
Pepperdine has posted six wins over Top 25 ranked foes during the winning streak, and toppled UC Santa Barbara tonight for the second time this season. The Waves upended the Gauchos at The Thunderdome in four games back on November 6.
USC ran its winning streak to nine matches and improved to 28-1 overall earlier tonight, as the Trojans swept Michigan State by scores of 30-17, 30-23, 30-15.
Ironically, Pepperdine's last loss was to USC by scores of 33-31, 30-26, 30-28 in a match played at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu on October 8.
Pepperdine benefitted from a balanced attack against UC Santa Barbara, as four players recorded double-figure kill totals. In addition to the 22 kills posted by Wilkins, junior middle blocker Lyndsey Hache and freshman outside hitter Breegan Mulligan both totaled 12 kills, while senior middle blocker Stacy Rouwenhorst registered 11 kills to go along with five blocks.
Senior setter Paola Rodriguez was credited with 56 assists and 15 digs, while libero Christina Hinds chipped in with 16 digs.
UC Santa Barbara, 30-3, was led by senior outside hitter Danielle Bauer and junior outside hitter Erica Menzel, as both players totaled 13 kills.
Pepperdine recorded a .305 team hitting percentage and held UC Santa Barbara to a .222 team attack mark. The Waves collected seven service aces, outblocked the Gauchos by a 14-8 margin and totaled 71 digs as compared to 60 digs for UC Santa Barbara.