Pacific Women’s Basketball Denied By Saint Mary’s On Road, 79-63
The Tigers didn't back down from the Saint Mary's post-presence, but despite matching the Gaels in the paint, the Pacific women's basketball team fell 79-63 as Louella Tomlinson recorded a triple-double for Saint Mary's. Kendall Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.) led the Tigers with a season-high 19 points.
Pacific (2-6) recorded 26 points in the paint, committed a season-low 12 turnovers, knocked down eight three-pointers and connected on more field goals than Saint Mary's.
The difference was Tomlinson -- the 6-4 senior who scored scored 14 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked 14 shots to lead the Gaels - and free throw shooting, as Saint Mary's was sent to the line 39 time to Pacific's 15.
Pacific led through out the first half, and after falling behind 49-40 in the second half, reeled off an 11-2 run to tie the game at 51-51 with 12:30 to go. But from there, the Gaels pulled away with a 20-4 run to seize control and closed the game from the free throw line.
"I thought we did a good job in a lot of areas," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "We did a better job of starting the game than we did against Fresno State, coming out strong today. We did a very good job taking care of the ball and limiting our turnovers. The difference in the game was free throws. They got to the line 24 times more than we did, and Tomlinson had a great night for them. They're a really good team."
Senior guard Jennifer Fath (Carrollton, Texas) added 14 points with a career-high seven assists and a pair of steals, while junior forward Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) chipped in a season-high 10 points.
The Tigers opened the game with a 19-7 lead as Rodriguez scored 10 of the Tigers first 14 points with a pair of three points. However, the Gaels whittled the lead down by getting to the free throw line and via a pair of three pointers from Suzie Davis to pull with 22-19 with 9:09 remaining in the half.
Saint Mary's pulled within one at 22-21 on a pair of free throws by Jasmine Smith, but Jennifer Fath got to the line and knocked down a pair and Taryn Garza added a layup inside to stretch the margin back out to five.
Kate Gaze scored for the Gaels as Saint Mary's continued to hang around. After a lay-up by Fath with 4:22 remaining in the half, Tomlinson got to the free throw line for two and then added a jumper to tie the game at 30-30.
However, Thompson beat the Gael defense down the court, scoring in transition on back-to-back possessions. But Saint Mary's closed the half with a 5-0 run as Smith drained a three and Tomlinson added two free throws to take a 35-34 lead into half time.
In the second half, Saint Mary's opened with a lay-up from Suzie Davis and stretch the lead to nine on and 'and-one' from Jasmine Smith with 15:14 remaining. Her free throw put the Gaels on top 49-40.
But sophomore guard Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) drained back-to-back three points to cut the margin to 49-46 and after a jumper from SMC's Danielle Mauldin, Rodriguez connected on a triple and Fath hit a pair of free throws to knot the game at 51-51.
At that point, the Gaels pulled away, embarking on their 20-4 run over the next 7:31. Mauldin opened the run with a pair of free throws and after a jumper from Morgan Hatten, Tomlinson connected with a baseline jumper to stretch the lead to nine. After Rodriguez hit another three for the Tigers, Pacific had the Gaels within seven, but the Tigers couldn't execute a fast-break and Kate Gaze scored from Saint Mary's in transition and the Gaels picked up a steal and another basket in transition to stretch the margin back to double-digits at 66-55 with 6:44 to go.
Pacific would get no closer than nine the rest of the way, as a three-pointer from Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) trimmed the deficit to 72-63 with 2:48 remaining, but the Gaels closed it out from the free throw line, taking the 13 point victory to improve to 5-4 on the season.
Rodriguez knocked down five three pointers, setting a season high and coming within a bucket of her career high, with 19 points. The sophomore forward was a rebound shy of her second-straight double-double. In her last two contests, Rodriguez has tallied 35 points and 19 rebounds.
Saint Mary's had four players in double-figure scoring, as Gaze tallied 18 points, while Smith chipped in 17. After Tomlinson's 14, Davis finished with a career-high 12. Tomlinson also handed out a team-high three assists
The Tigers had 18 assists on 23 field goal attempts, but it was the shots that didn't get through the defense of Tomlinson, and the shots Pacific didn't get from the free throw line that enabled Saint Mary's to post a 16-point decision in a game that was tight through out.
Pacific's three-game road trip will continue, as the Tigers take on the University of San Francisco on Saturday, December 11, at 2 p.m. The Tigers will also visit Santa Clara on Thursday, December 16 before hosting Portland on December 18 at the Alex G. Spanos Center.