Jan. 26, 2008
Malibu, CA - LMU opened a three-game road swing with a 70-57 victory at Pepperdine in a West Coast Conference game Saturday afternoon at Firestone Fieldhouse. Four Lions scored in double figures as LMU (11-9, 3-2 WCC) gained its fifth straight win over the Waves (6-12, 1-4 WCC) in Malibu.
In a physical contest, the Lions showed great poise to maintain their composure. LMU recovered from a slow start to take a double-digit halftime lead, stretching their advantage to as many as 25 before holding off a late Wave surge. In addition to the balanced scoring on offense, LMU's defense also performed well, forcing Pepperdine to turn the ball over 22 times and outscoring the Waves 25-9 off those turnovers.
LMU's backcourt of freshman Renahy Young and senior Amanda DeCoud led the way with 14 points apiece. DeCoud also grabbed a career-high eight rebounds despite leaving the game in the first half after receiving a blow to the face that opened up a cut on her lip. Inside, senior Valerie Ogoke carried the load with 13 points and nine rebounds (five offensive) and redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans tied her career-high with eight points. Sophomore Kavita Goss came off the bench to spur the Lions' initial run, finishing with 13 points
The Lions shot 41.4% (29-for-70) overall and 38.1% (8-for-21) from three-point range while holding the Waves to 35.1% (20-for-57) from the floor and 26.1% (6-for-23) from distance. LMU also held a 41-38 rebounding edge, including 18 offensive boards that they converted into an 18-7 advantage in second-chance points.
Daphanie Kennedy led all scorers with 22 points but committed nine turnovers. Katie Menton added 14 points and Teena Wickett had 13 points and eight rebounds.
Despite a week off, the Lions' recent habit of slow starts followed them up the coast as they made just one of their first ten shots and fell behind 10-2. Kennedy was hot for the Waves, knocking down a three on the game's opening possession and connecting on a pair of drives for seven of Pepperdine's first 10 points.
Three-point shooting brought the Lions back as they rattled off four straight triples to take a 16-14 lead. Goss opened the run and Young followed from the top of the key. After LMU forced a turnover, sophomore Lisa Helmers hit from the corner and then Young completed the 12-0 string with her second three, also from the corner.
While Pepperdine was relying heavily on the play of Kennedy, who scored 13 of the team's 23 points in the first half, LMU was getting solid efforts from its guards. Six different Lions had scored in the opening half, led by Young's nine points, eight from Goss, and DeCoud with six. LMU's defense was strong, holding the Waves scoreless over the final 3:46 but it was seven straight points from Ogoke that staked the Lions to a 12-point lead, 35-23, that they took into the half.
Ogoke and Evans hit the glass to get the Lions going in the second half. The two combined for LMU's first six points to open up a 14-point lead, 41-27, and Young followed with a steal and layup to increase the advantage.
The Lion defense kept working to expand the lead. Three straight steals led to fastbreak points and the Lions hit the defensive boards to limit Pepperdine's opportunities. That lead grew to as many as 19, 54-35, on a three-pointer by Goss with 11:37 to go, and up to 25 at the eight-minute mark.
Pepperdine chipped away, mounting a 17-5 run via three-pointers and free throws to pull within 13, 67-54, on a layup by Kennedy with 2:27 left. But DeCoud put the game away on the next possession with a three of her own.
The Lions continue their road trip Thursday at San Diego at 8:00 p.m. in a game that will be televised live on ESPNU. The trip ends Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at San Francisco.