Pacific Women's Basketball: Team Effort Leads Tigers Over Long Beach State, 77-67
Pacific improved to 5-21 on the year and 3-11 in the Big West, while Long Beach State dropped to 12-16 and 8-7 in conference action.
Pacific now sits one game in front of Cal State Northridge. Unless Cal State Northridge sweeps its final week of play against UC Davis and the Tigers next week, Pacific is assured the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament.
It was all about the Tigers from the get-go, as they jumped out ahead to take the lead first and never once looked back. A three-pointer from freshman Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) gave the Tigers the first 3-0 lead less than 30 seconds into the game, before Ally Wade countered with a jumper that diminished Pacific's lead to one (3-2) not even 15 seconds later.
Up to the challenge, the Tigers decided to respond with a 10-0 run complete with a pair of treys from freshman Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.), who led all scorers posting a career-high 19 points in the win. A lay-up by senior Emma Head (San Diego, Calif.) at 17:19 capped off Pacific's 13-2 lead.
Melanie Lisnock then snapped the 49ers' two and a half minute scoring drought when she drained a three at 17:11, to trail 13-5. Pacific, however, maintained its intensity throughout and responded by padding its lead back to 10 three different times over the span of the next four minutes. At 13:07 sophomore Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) contributed a jumper that put the Tigers up by 10 once more, 19-9.
From 12:20 until 6:59 remained in the first half, Pacific turned it on and compiled an 11-2 run that put them up by 19, the largest lead of the game, after Head's jumper gave the Tigers the 32-13 advantage. During the next three minutes, Long Beach State attempted a come-back effort, using its own 10-0 run to trail by nine at 3:38 (32-23). But Head contributed two more back-to-back layups in the first half's final two minutes to give Pacific a 36-23 lead.
Pacific headed into the locker room leading 37-28. Starting out the second half the 49ers tried to rally and set the tone for the game's second half, cutting the lead down to four points by 18:07, to trail 37-33.
Unwilling to let the game slip away when it mattered most, Pacific retaliated with a 10-3 run and topped the 49ers 47-36 after four points from Head and back-to-back treys from Rogers and senior Jasmine Dana (Bakersfield, Calif.). The lead dropped down to 10 once again at 12:07 after a jumper from Lauren Sims, kicking off a 10-0 run for the 49ers. By 8:19 Long Beach State was back within two points of Pacific, trailing 54-52.
The back-and-forth resumed with a jumper from junior Jennifer Fath (Carrollton, Texas) gave Pacific the 56-52 lead at 7:50, but was reeled back to two off a pair of successful free throws from Tipesa Moorer at 7:20. After trying the better part of the game to do so, Long Beach State was finally able to knot the score at 56-56 after two free throws from Wade at 6:40.
Both teams tangled up the score three more times over the next minute and 20 seconds, locked at 60-60 by 5:23. Showing heart and persistence, the Tigers ran away with the game over the next four minutes off a 13-3 run that saw them out ahead, 73-63.
The score would go back-and-forth two more times before a final 10-point margin decided the victory in favor of the Tigers, 77-67.
Rogers led a pack of four Tigers in double-digit scoring with 19 points after 6-of-7 three-point shooting, while Head finished just behind her with 18. Freshman Kendall Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.) tallied 14 points in the win and Fath rounded out the top four with 10.
Pacific next returns to action when they host Cal State Fullerton (Thursday, March 4) and Cal State Northridge (Saturday, March 6) in the final week of regulation play. Thursday's tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. in the Spanos Center, while Saturday's 2 p.m. tip-off will occur after the Head and Dana are honored in their final home game for senior night.