Drollinger’s late-game heroics lead Cougars to 66-64 win over Waves
PROVO, Utah – Brenna Chase Drollinger made four 3-pointers in the fourth period to help BYU women’s basketball defeat Pepperdine 66-64 in the Marriott Center on Thursday.
“We didn’t play one of our best games tonight, but we found a way to win,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “Pepperdine did a good job of spreading us out. We tried to be more aggressive but we got too spread out. We did a better job with that in the last five minutes of the game. We needed this win to help give us momentum for the tournament.”
Drollinger finished the game with 17 points, a team-high six assists and a steal. Paisley Johnson shot seven of 14 from the field to lead both teams with 21 points while also grabbing four rebounds. Sara Hamson controlled the paint totaling 10 boards and seven blocks.
Johnson knocked down a 3-pointer for the Cougars’ first basket of the night and Hamson split a pair of free throws as BYU (17-10, 12-5 WCC) took an early 4-1 lead over Pepperdine (14-13, 8-9). Maria Albiero and Johnson each scored a layup to increase the lead to 8-2 midway through the first period.
After the Waves came within two points, Albiero drained a trey to make the score 11-6. Jasmine Moody scored in the paint and Drollinger stole a pass for a fast-break layup to extend the Cougars’ advantage to 15-9. Following a Pepperdine 3, Drollinger beat the shot clock with a 3 to give BYU an 18-12 edge at the end of the quarter.
Albiero added another 3-pointer while Hamson and Babalu Ugwu scored in the post to outscore the Waves 7-2 to open the second period. Pepperdine scored three-straight baskets from behind the arc to answer with a 10-0 run and close the deficit to a single point, 25-24, with 4:56 remaining in the half.
Hamson and Ugwu each added another basket in the paint followed by a Johnson 3-pointer as the Cougars responded with eight-straight points to retake control, 33-24. Ugwu made a free throw to send BYU into halftime with a 34-27 advantage.
Albiero and Johnson both led the Cougars with eight points apiece at the break while Hamson anchored the defense with four blocks. Making five of their first-half six 3-point attempts, the Waves shot 83.3 percent from downtown in the first half.
Following a layup by Moody, Pepperdine remained hot from deep scoring 3s on consecutive possessions. Johnson ended a four-minute scoring drought for BYU with her third trey of the game to make the score 39-35 five minutes into the second half.
Johnson scored a layup and Ugwu putback an offensive rebound as both teams traded baskets. The Waves outscored the Cougars 7-0 in the final 2:10 of the quarter to claim their first lead since the 9:33 mark in the first period, 46-43.
Drollinger caught fire from beyond the 3-point line draining three-straight treys to retake the lead for BYU, 52-47. Pepperdine made another 3 and three free throws to reclaim the advantage, 53-52. Drollinger answered with her fourth 3-point jumper on the quarter to give the Cougars a 55-53 edge at the 5:07 mark.
Johnson scored back-to-back layups to improve BYU’s lead to four points, 59-55. The Waves quickly brought the score within one with another 3-point basket, 61-60. Pepperdine made four free throws to take a 64-63 edge with 1:03 remaining in the game.
After getting fouled on a baseline jumper with 32 seconds left, Johnson made both of her free throws to retake the lead, 65-64. Moody pulled down a defensive rebound and was fouled with two seconds on the clock. The senior split her free throws and the Waves missed a half-court shot at the buzzer as the Cougars clinched the 66-64 victory.
BYU will host Loyola Marymount as the team honors four seniors on Senior Day at the Marriott Center on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 2 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on BYUtv and streamed on byutv.org and the BYUtv App.
- The Cougars shot 43.6 percent from the field compared to Pepperdine’s 33.3 percent. BYU also shot 45.5 percent from three-point range and 50 percent from the free-throw line.
- Two Cougars scored in double figures for the ninth time this season, with Paisley Johnson dropping a game-high 21 points and Brenna Chase Drollinger tallying 17.
- BYU dominated down low, scoring 26 points in the paint to the Waves’ 10.
- The Cougars held the advantage in assists, 16-12, and in blocks, 8-2.
- In rebounds, BYU pulled down 39 while Pepperdine had 41.
- The Cougars’ 23 points in the fourth quarter was a season-best.
- Paisley Johnson scored 21 points on seven of 14 shooting to go along with four rebounds, two assists and one steal. The game was her 19th reaching double figures in scoring this season and her fifth scoring at least 20 points.
- Brenna Chase Drollinger recorded 17 points while also adding a team-high six assists, one rebound and one steal. Drollinger hit five 3-pointers for the fourth time this year, going five of 12 from deep on the night. The game was also her 15th scoring in double figures this season.
- Sara Hamson tallied six rebounds, five points, four blocks and an assist during the first 20 minutes of play. She finished the game with a team-high 10 rebounds, seven blocks, five points and one assist.
- Maria Albiero contributed eight points to go along with four assists and three rebounds in the first half. She ended the contest with eight points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal.
- Babalu Ugwu chipped in eight points and pulled down two rebounds.
- Jasmine Moody added seven points and four rebounds.