The Pepperdine women's basketball team's 76-59 win over UC Irvine last Thursday continues to show that this team is not the same team as last season. Coming off a close loss to powerhouse UCLA, the team demonstrated a new positive outlook and determination, showing Pepperdine fans and community members that nothing can keep them down.
Commenting on the team's mindset coming off the UCLA loss, junior guard Ea Shoushtari says: "After that game we knew that we had to correct our mistakes, regroup, and move on to our next opponent. Our mindset was to come out in the beginning and be the aggressors, which we did against Irvine."
Shoushtari, who led the Waves against UCI with 21 points and 13 rebounds, added: "It felt great to have my first double-double of the season. Putting up those numbers is a great feeling, but knowing that I was being productive and contributing to the greater good of the team is an even better feeling. The double-double is reflective of my performance as an individual, but I couldn't have done it without the help of my team so it's reflective of their efforts as well."
The Waves as a team had four players besides Shoushtari (Keitra Wallace with 17, Bria Richardson with 15 and Tessa Emerson with 10) with double-digit points.
"Our team played well," Shoushtari said. "We were aggressive on the offensive and defensive ends, which was important for setting the tone for the game. We started out with intensity and played on that throughout the game. We stuck to our game plan and came out with the win."
Pepperdine Coach Ryan Weisenberg's focus on defense last week paid off, with the Waves getting 32 defensive rebounds to UCI's 24 (48-39 overall). Pepperdine led the game in steals with nine to UCI's six. Shoushtari had three.
"Our defense was definitely one of the main factors in helping us get that win," Shoushtari said. "Solid defense translated into good offense and helped us get into a comfortable flow of the game. I feel like when we're playing good defense we're more aggressive on the offensive end, which helps us."
Speaking to the first home game win and what it means for the rest of the season, Shoushtari is excited about the team's success.
"I think that it shows the teams in our conference and ourselves how dominant we can truly be," she said. "It's a great feeling to get a solid win at the beginning of the season and it's fun. It's fun to see our hard work pay off, especially in front of our home crowd."