Stunner: BYU women fall to Pepperdine, 62-51, in Cougars’ WCC basketball tourney opener

(Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU photo) |BYU guard Paisley Johnson attempts a shot against San Diego in the Marriott Center on Feb. 17, 2019.

The West Coast Conference saw its first tournament upset — and it happened against No. 3 BYU.

The reigning WCC champions were unceremoniously knocked out of the tournament in Saturday’s quarterfinals by sixth-seeded Pepperdine, 62-51. The Cougars finished the season with a 18-11 overall record.

The Waves will go on to Monday's semifinal game to face No. 2 San Diego.

In a game that would pit BYU's size against Pepperdine's speed, the Cougars came out sluggish and struggled to keep up throughout the game and were never able to fully dig themselves out of the hole they found themselves in early.

The Cougars were also held well below their shooting average, only making 33% of their shots from the field, and they were outrebounded 43-33 by Pepperdine.

Paisley Johnson, the reigning WCC Tournament MVP, led the Cougars with 15 points and five rebounds.

WCC Defensive Player of the Year Sara Hamson was able to score BYU's first two points and made four blocks early in the opening minutes of the game, but then seemed to disappear. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Waves' shortest player Paige Fecske, who measures in at 5-foot-4, pulled up against Hamson and knocked down a jumper to make her third basket off the bench.


• Third-seeded, reigning WCC champion BYU gets knocked out of the conference tourney in a 62-51 upset by No. 6 Pepperdine

• The Cougars struggled on both sides of the ball, but were only able to make 33% of their shots

• Paisley Johnson, the reigning WCC tournament MVP, led the Cougars with 15 points, five rebounds and two assists

While the Cougars are at the bottom of the league in scoring offense, they were on the top of the pack in scoring defense. Pepperdine not only tore apart their defense, they particularly made it hard on guards Johnson and Brenna Drollinger, who were clearly a pregame focus.

The Waves also only coughed up nine turnovers, limiting BYU’s fast-break opportunities (10 points).

Drollinger struggled to get shots to fall, not making her first basket until the second half. Nearly midway through the third quarter, after missing her first five shots, the senior nailed her first of what would be two consecutive 3-pointers.

The back-to-back baskets sparked some momentum into the team and led the Cougars to tie the game 40-all after Maria Albeiro was hit by some friendly fire and spent seven minutes in the locker room getting the gash on her nose treated.

However, by the end of the third quarter, BYU still found itself down 45-43.

BYU had previously beat the Waves in both of their regular season games this year. The last time they met up, thought, the Waves gave the Cougars a hard time, but Drollinger made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to edge them out 66-64.

This time around, the Cougars weren’t able to pull out the same late-game heroics. Instead of following up their strong third quarter performance, they fizzled out as Pepperdine outscored BYU 17-8 in the final period.

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