With all of the exciting basketball action that happened Thursday night, and a night the Blazers choked against the Clippers at home, the most exciting Oregon sports event took place in the Chile’s Center where the Portland Pilot’s women’s basketball team hosted Pepperdine.
Coming off a heart breaking loss in Malibu in their last meeting, the Pilots had their eyes set on some good old fashion pay back.
We will jump right into the action at the beginning of the second half. With only a two point lead at half, 21-19, it seemed that the Waves had the momentum coming out of the half. The Pilots leading scorer, Natalie Day, was held to only six points and two turnovers.
The second half compared to the first was as different as night and day. Natalie Day regained her normal form and began to carve up the Pepperdine defense. A three, a drive straight through the lane, a fast break lay-up, another three and in a span of roughly ten minutes Day was a thorn in the Waves side.
The Waves, led by senior guard Lauren Bell’s 18 points off of 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc, never allowed the Pilots to pull away in the second half keeping it within two possessions the majority of the half.
With three minutes left, the Waves conducted a 7-0 run putting them six ahead. The Pilots quickly bounced back, answering with a 6-0 run to tie the game and send it into overtime. Neither team was in unfamiliar territory with an overtime period. Last season, each meeting between the two went into overtime with one going into double overtime.
It would be the Pilots who would come out with the victory on their home court after the extra period expired. With one more shot attempt and one more made bucket than the Waves, the Pilots got their revenge, not in buzzer beater fashion one would think. Pepperdine again had the ball with the clock ticking away, but this time senior guard Jazmine Jackson took the shot for the Waves but it came up just short and off the right side of the rim after she was able to create good separation from the defense.
Alexis Byrd and overall sloppy offensive execution by the Waves were the two reasons for the Pilots success. Pepperdine, who leads the WCC in turnover margin at +5.74 coming into the game, committed the second highest amount of turnovers all year with 24 and a turnover margin of -4. Byrd ended the game with only 13 points, however with the shot clock winding down and 15 seconds left on the game clock, Byrd made a baseline move on the Waves’ Jackson, who was last year’s WCC defensive player of the year, and got a reverse lay-up to fall giving the Pilots the go ahead basket.
If you missed the game, then you missed out on an absolute thriller. Anytime these two teams play please make it a point to tune in somewhere. Three of their last four meeting have gone into overtime, one going into double, and the other was decided game winning half court buzzer beater. They might not be power schools and you may not be interested in women’s basketball, but if you consider yourself a sports fan then next time you know which matchup to tune in.