The Dons celebrate Taj Winston's game-winning putback as No. 8 USF advances to meet No. 1 Gonzaga. (Kyle Terada/WCC Photo)

2014 WCC Women's Tournament: Kicking Off the Madness Right

On the opening day of the 2014 WCC Tournament the men may have gotten the primetime TV slots, but it was the women who served up the nail biting drama synonymous with March Madness.  Both of today’s match ups made the BYUtv score bug do some major teeter-totter action, as all the teams took turns with the lead. Without further ado, let’s recap the first round of the 2014 WCC Women’s Tournament.


#10 Pepperdine 80 #7 Santa Clara 74

The Waves came into this game on a 15-game losing streak, with their last win on January 2nd in double overtime. Interestingly enough, that last win, the Waves’ only win in WCC conference play, came against Santa Clara.

Pepperdine took control of the game in the middle of the first half and they pushed out to a 32-26 lead by halftime. After the half, however, the Broncos seemed to have renewed energy as they fought back to take a 39-38 lead with 15:05 to go. One can only imagine what the Waves might have been thinking as Santa Clara stretched their lead to 51-44 with 9:46 to go. To their credit, Pepperdine did not fold, and followed with a 9-0 run to re-take the lead with 7:12 to go.

Overall, this game saw 15 lead changes and 6 ties. Pepperdine took the lead for good on a lay up by Ea Shoushtari with 2:36 to go, but the game was still very much in doubt until Santa Clara star Nici Gilday fouled out with 29 seconds left.

For Pepperdine, junior Ea Shoushtari owned the day with 30 points and 7 rebounds. Grace Leah Baughn also recorded a career high 19 points.

For Santa Clara, Nici Gilday put up 27 points and 8 boards. Jo Paine recorded 17 points and 9 rebounds.

Pepperdine outrebounded the Broncos 50 to 35, which led to a 16-8 advantage in second chance points.


#8 San Francisco 63 #9 Loyola Marymount 62

1 second. That’s all that was left after Taj Winston willed the ball in the bucket to give the Dons the 63-62 lead. In fact, the last 15 seconds were a tribute to the determination of Taj Winston. LMU had the ball with 15 seconds left and a 1 point lead, but Winston came up with a steal off the inbounds. After a timeout, she missed her initial shot, but would not be denied on the putback that sealed the game.

There were 7 lead changes in the final 3:02 of the game when USF took a 57-56 lead. Before that, LMU was ahead 56-49 at the 7:48 mark. What looked to be a possible runaway lead dissipated with the Dons’ 8-0 run over that span. The Lions next points came with 2:42 left to make it 58-57.

LMU guard Hazel Williams, the WCC assists leader, capped off a solid career with 6 points and 7 assists. She finished with 200 assists on the season. Senior forward Mackenzie Kerins pulled down 15 rebounds.

For USF, Winston finished with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Senior guard Alexa Hardick got it going from deep in the second half, with all of her 12 points from long range.


Televised live on BYUtv

#6 Portland vs. #3 Pacific 12:00 PT
#10 Pepperdine vs. #2 BYU approx 2:30 PM PT
#8 San Francisco vs. #1 Gonzaga 6:00 PM PT
#5 San Diego vs. #4 St. Mary’s approx 8:30 PM PT

If you can’t get BYUtv on your television, you can watch the games live online at and

Tags: 2014 WCC Women's Basketball Tournament Basketball College Basketball Ea Shoushtari LMU LMU Lions Nici Gilday Pepperdine Pepperdine Waves San Francisco San Francisco Dons Santa Clara Santa Clara Broncos Taj Winston USF Dons Women's Basketball

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