MALIBU, Calif. - The chaotic 2017 season in the West Coast Conference continued Thursday as the Pacific women's basketball team fell at Pepperdine, 59-58. Pacific and Pepperdine exchanged 13 lead changes with the Waves fending off the Tigers in the final seconds to create a seven-way tie for first in the WCC.
Desire Finnie led the Tigers with points while Emily Simons added 10 points and seven rebounds. Tylah King scored nine points, GeAnna Luaulu-Summers added eight and Chelsea Lidy chipped in seven.
The game was played relatively whistle-free, as the Waves picked up nine fouls in the entire contest, including the final one on purpose in the final seconds. The Tigers, who lead the WCC and are 15th in the nation in free throw shooting, hit 4-of-5 from the line, a season low for attempts. Pacific entered the game averaging 20.5 attempts per contest. Pepperdine connected on 9-of-11 from the free throw line.
Pacific held a 24-15 edge in points off turnovers and a 17-10 margin in second chance points, but the Waves held a 28-24 margin in the paint in addition to their advantage at the free throw line.
Finnie drained a three from the corner to start the scoring, and Simons added an inside-layup for a 5-0 lead. Finnie's runner gave the Tigers a 9-4 advantage, but the Waves posted back-to-back inside finishes to pull within one. Finnie answered with a three, but Sydney Bordonaro gave the Waves a 16-12 lead with back-to-back three-pointers. Mauriana Clayton finished while being fouled, and Chelsea Lidy added a bucket inside to bring the Tigers within 17-16 after the first.
In the second, Clayton gave the Tigers the lead with a pair of free throws. Tylah King rattled home a three, and a Lidy jumper provided a 23-19 Pacific lead. King hit back-to-back triples for a 29-21 Pacific advantage. Lidy added a three from the corner as Pacific took an 11-point lead at 32-21 via a 14-3 run over 2:58. Simons answered four-straight Wave points with a jumper, but Pepperdine clawed within five on a pair of free throws before the end of the first half. The Tigers led 34-29 at the break, hitting 4-of-7 from three-point range in the second quarter.
Pepperdine opened the third with a pair of jumpers, Megan House added a lay-up for a 35-34 Pepperdine lead. Finnie gave the Tigers the lead right back with a put-back. But the Waves' 10-2 run saw the Tigers fall behind 39-36 before a Simons bucket inside. Luaulu-Summers rattled home a three-pointer as Pacific surged back in front. After the Waves regained the lead, Simons sliced to the rim for a bucket and a 43-43 tie. The Waves tallied twice from the paint as Pacific hit a 1-for-9 shooting skid. Simons added a bucket to pull within 47-45 after three quarters.
Finnie's baseline jumper cut the deficit in half, and Ameela Li hit a pair of free throw to tie the game at 49-49, and Eli Lopez Sagera's reverse lay-up off an offensive rebound put the Tigers back in front, 51-49, with 6:04 to go. Yamsmine Robinson-Bacote hit a jumper for another tie, and gave the Waves the lead. After a pair of Pepperdine free throws, Luaulu-Summers hit a three to pull within one. Finnie added a runner for a 56-55 lead, but Robinson-Bacote tallied. Allie Green hit a jumper with the shot clock expiring, but Luaulu-Summers answered back with a jumper as the Tigers trailed by one, 59-58, with 1:15 to play.
Pacific picked up a stop as Li recorded a steal. Simons lofted a shot as the shot clock went off, but it was ruled after the horn giving the ball back to Pepperdine with 6.8 seconds left. The Tigers appeared to force a turnover out of bounds on the sideline, but play continued and a replay was ruled inconclusive. The Tigers forced a turnover with 1.2 seconds left, but with two fouls to give, Pepperdine was free to smother any shot attempt, as the Tigers could only get off a long-distance fling to the rim at the buzzer.
Robinson-Bacote led Pepperdine with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Green added 10 points.
The Tigers fall to 3-2 in the WCC, and 7-9 overall. Pepperdine improves to 5-11 overall, 3-2 in the WCC. BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara and San Francisco are also 3-2 in the WCC.
Pacific will return home to face San Francisco on Saturday in a 2 p.m. tip-off at the Alex G. Spanos Center.