MALIBU, Calif. (AP)—In a rollercoaster season, Pepperdine players were all smiles after one of the program’s biggest wins in years.
Lauren Bell scored a career-high 26 points, Kelsey Patrick had 13 and Pepperdine used a strong second half to upset No. 22 BYU 61-49 on Thursday night, ending the Lady Cougars’ nine-game winning streak.
“It’s a great moment,” Pepperdine coach Julie Rousseau said. “We haven’t been playing well of late. Our kids stuck with it. It’s just a testament to the fortitude of this team.”
Jazmine Jackson added 10 points for the Waves (11-10, 6-4 WCC), who shot 55 percent after halftime and harassed the Cougars into 23 total turnovers.
“Our main goal was to keep pushing them,” said, Bell who hit 9 of 14 shots, including four 3-pointers. “The energy we had coming out of the second half was very important.”
Kristen Riley had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Haley Steed added 10 points to lead BYU (20-4, 8-2). The loss dropped the Lady Cougars out of a tie with Gonzaga for first place in the West Coast Conference.
“It hurts because we worked so hard to get where we want to,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “You come in and you’re ranked, and people play their best and give their best effort.”
Bell hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the same spot near the top of the key to push the lead to 53-36 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Lady Cougars made a late push, getting as close as 56-49 with just over a minute to play. Bell was then intentionally fouled and made both free throws to preserve the win.
“We were well prepared for the game,” Bell said. “Everything was clicking for us.”
Pepperdine trailed by one at the half but quickly went ahead with eight straight points.
Bell stole the ball on the Cougars’ opening possession and raced down for a layup. Shay Cooney-Williams hit a jumper, Jackson made a pair of free throws and Bell capped the spurt with a steal, going the length of the floor for a layup that resulted in a 30-23 lead.
BYU went scoreless for nearly five minutes, missing its first four shots of the half and turning it over four times. Jennifer Hamson broke the drought and Riley hit a free throw to get back within 30-26.
The Waves extended the advantage moments later when Patrick accounted for six points during an 8-0 run. She had a jumper, two free throws and a layup to make it 38-26 midway through the half.
Bell would later put the game out of reach with her pair of 3s.
“They were timely and they were awesome,” Rousseau said.
Skye Barnett had eight points and nine rebounds for Pepperdine, which recorded 12 steals.
BYU struggled with its outside shooting, going 4 of 24 on 3-pointers.
“We missed a lot of open shots,” Riley said. “We were just a little bit off.”
The Waves were able to overcome some early shooting struggles to stay close, thanks in large part to Bell. She had 10 points in the first half.
Steed gave BYU its largest lead of the half on a pair of free throws that made it 17-12. The margin hovered in the same range until Bell hit a 3 to get the Waves within 21-19.
Riley then finished a layup at the rim before Pepperdine closed the half with three free throws as BYU held a 23-22 lead at the break.