Ayim Sets Blocks Record in Loss to Gaels
MALIBU, Calif. -- Senior center Miranda Ayim tied the Pepperdine single-game record of nine blocked shots en route to setting new school season and career records for blocks as the Pepperdine women's basketball team lost a tough one to Saint Mary's, 52-38, Thursday night at Firestone Fieldhouse.
Ayim (London, Ont., Canada/Saunders Secondary) broke the school record of 170 career blocked shots set previously by Lisa Siders from 1994-97, and she now has 172. Her ninth block of the game tied the single-game record by Earnesta Grace whose performance came against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 1, 1987. In the process, Ayim broke the single-season record of 74 blocked shots held by Grace in 1986-87. She now has 75.
The impressive numbers continued for Ayim as she scored eight points vs. the Gaels to put her over 1,300 career points (1,306) ranking her 11th all-time at Pepperdine and only six points out of the top 10. She grabbed seven rebounds in the game that gave her a total of 704; good for a tie for ninth place all-time in career rebounds.
Despite the big night in numbers for Ayim, Pepperdine (17-10, 8-5) struggled from the field and scored a season-low 38 points on 14 for 72 shooting (19%). Freshman guard Shay Cooney-Williams (Frisco, TX./Frisco HS) led the Waves with nine points. Sophomore guard Jazmine Jackson (Oakland, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep) added eight points and collected a team-high 10 rebounds.
Pepperdine jumped out to a 12-5 lead after the first seven minutes of the game. Saint Mary's (20-8, 11-2) countered with an 11-0 run to take a 16-12 lead with 7:54 remaining in the first half. The Gaels' Ashlee Smith scored on a layup and made three free throws during the run.
Jackson hit a top of the key three-pointer for the first Pepperdine field goal in over five and half minutes. Another three-pointer by Cooney-Williams gave the Waves a brief 18-16 advantage with 5:56 left. Pepperdine made only one free throw the remainder of the half as the Gaels finished on a small 4-1 run that gave them the lead at the intermission, 20-19.
Each team struggled in the first half with its shooting. Pepperdine shot 13% from the field on 5-for-39 shooting to tie a season-low in first-half points. Saint Mary's didn't do much better by making only 23% of their shots on 5 of 22 shooting. The Gaels' 20 first-half points represented a season-tying-low for points allowed by the Waves.
Saint Mary's compounded its problems by committing 17 of its 25 turnovers in the first half. Fortunately for the Gaels, the Waves only scored eight points off those turnovers. Both teams combined for only six assists in the first half.
The second half didn't fare any better for Pepperdine as Saint Mary's extended its lead to 26-19 in the opening minutes of the half and to a game-high 14-point advantage, 39-25, with 9:25 left in the game.
Six minutes later, an Ayim block of Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson led to a Waves fast break and a 10-foot elbow jumper by Cooney-Williams. On the next possession, Ayim hit an 18-foot jumper from the left wing as Pepperdine valiantly fought back to within seven, 43-36, with 3:02 remaining. After a Saint Mary's timeout, the Gaels closed the game on a 9-2 run to secure their 20th win of the season.
Saint Mary's had four players in double-figures, led by Smith who had game-highs of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Tomlinson contributed with 10 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks. The Gaels clinched second place in the WCC regular season as both schools prepare for the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas, March 5-8.
Pepperdine plays host to San Diego in the regular-season finale on Saturday (Feb. 27) at 7 p.m. The Waves lead San Diego by one game in the WCC standings as both teams look to take third place before the tournament. The game will be televised live by CBS College Sports.