But in the end, it was too much Nicole Powell and too much big-game experience that proved the difference for the Cardinal.
The game started out slow and plodding. The teams combined to shoot just a shade over 30% in the first half, and the Cardinal led by as many as eight before the Waves caught them at 25 late in the period.
After the Waves trailed by two at the half, the pace picked up significantly. A see-saw battle for the first 10 minutes of the period gave way to a 17-2 Stanford run that turned a 41-41 tie into a 58-43 buldge with less than five minutes to play.
The Waves weren't done fighting. They contined to scratch and claw their way back in, and the game never seemed entirely out of reach. But Pepperdine wasn't able to get closer than eight points.
Powell was a dominant force throughout, registering 28 points and 12 rebounds, and hitting 6 of 7 shots down the stretch to keep the Waves at bay. Chelsea Trotter added 15 points and seven boards.
Pepperdine's balanced effort featured 14 pints from Shanell Law, 13 from Kelli Spencer, and 12 from Nicole Funn. The Waves outrebounded the much bigger and more heralded Cardinal 37-34.
Head Coach Mark Trakh's club turned in a stellar effort all-around, especially considering the absence of the team's only point guard and best all-around player, Shandrika Lee, and its tallest inside player and best rebounder, Teiosha George.
Fortunately, the schedule is a lot kinder to the Waves over the next week. After a road date with UC Irvine, Pepperdine hosts its annual Yellow Book Turkey Shootout Thanksgiving weekend, featuring UC Riverside in the opener.
December 5, it's back to the National spotlight as the seemingly invincible #1 Connecticut Huskies make their second trip to Malibu in three years.