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Pepperdine Women Fall in Final

As she has done so many times this season, Rasheeda Clark led the top-seeded Pepperdine women’s basketball team in a late rally, but it wasn’t enough in a 72-69 loss to St. Mary’s in the West Coast Conference tournament championship.

Clark, who guided the Waves from a 12-point deficit with 4:34 to play by scoring eight of the Waves’ 11 consecutive points in the run, missed a spinning jumper with time running down. St. Mary’s added two free throws to seal the victory and an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

“There was no doubt she was going to take the shot, everybody in the building knew it,” said Pepperdine Coach Mark Trakh, whose team actually led, 15-3, before falling behind by as many as 12 four times in the second half. “Rasheeda’s made those all year. She wanted it and just missed it.

“She made great shots down the stretch to get us back in it.”

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Clark’s seven points in those final minutes helped make up for what had been a disappointing night for the All-WCC guard. She finished with 16 points on seven-of-18 shooting.

Conference player of the year and tournament most valuable player Tracy Morris had a game-high 19 points and added 10 rebounds for the third-seeded Gaels (26-6), who are making their first NCAA tournament appearance.

The Waves (21-8), who have never been to the NCAA tournament, now have to wait until next weekend to see if they receive an at-large bid.

“We’ll play the waiting game and the lobbying game,” Trakh said. “We’ll crank out a lot of letters to people on the [selection] committee.”

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