Pacific Women's Basketball: Tigers Pick Up Second Straight Victory With 76-70 OT Win at Cal State Northridge
Sophomore Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) scored a career-high 23 points, as Pacific outscored Cal State Northridge 16-10 in overtime to take home a 76-70 road victory in their Big West opener on Saturday, Jan. 2.
With the victory, the Tigers improved to 3-8 overall and 1-0 in Big West play, and have now won back-to-back games for the first time this season. With the loss, the Matadors fell to 2-8, 0-1 in Big West action.
Up until the final five minutes of regulation play, the Tigers commanded control of the game. With 5:50 left in the second half, Katrina Thompson chipped in a jumper after trailing by one to lead 51-50 for the first time in the half. However, the Tigers would not let the hiccup get out of hand when the Tigers' Thompson contributed another lay-up with 5:40 to play in the half that put Pacific back ahead 52-51.
Thompson then turned it on and scored six of the Tigers' next nine points over the next two minutes to seal a 9-0 run that put Pacific up to its highest lead of regulation play, 53-60 with 3:47 to play. But the back-and-forth continued as Cal State Northridge was unwilling to go down without a fight, returning the favor with a 7-0 run to close out the second half.
With only 12 seconds remaining in regulation, Pacific inbounded the ball under the Matadors' basket and pushed the ball up the court in dramatic fashion. Pacific had time for two more shots before the buzzer expired. However, junior Jennifer Fath's (Carrollton, Texas) lay-up with four seconds remaining was not destined to go in. Senior Jasmine Dana (Bakersfield, Calif.) crashed boards with one of her 10 rebounds, finishing on the night with a double-double including 11 points. Dana released the ball at the buzzer for the final lay-up in the second half, but also came up empty-handed as the Matadors pushed the game into overtime.
Cal State Northridge dictated the pace of the overtime period within the first 15 seconds off a jumper from Jasmine Erving to take a brief 62-60 lead. Pacific regained possession of the ball and tried to get back to leading the game, after doing so for the majority of regulation period. After a foul from Violet Alama at 4:25, Thompson went to the line where she made 1-of-2 to cut the lead in half, 62-61.
In the next possession for the Matadors, Amanda Thompson drained a lay-up at 4:04 increasing Cal State Northridge's lead, 64-61. But that was the last chance Matador would have, when Pacific went on a 12-0 run up until the final 17 seconds of the game, as the Matadors went scoreless until the clock read 0:17 and then again in the final three seconds off of two long three-pointers from Amanda Thompson. But back at the 4:04 mark, Cal State Northridge's lead would only last for the remainder of the next minute after Dana recorded a perfect 2-for-2 trip at the free throw line at 3:57 that put Pacific back within one, 64-63.
Another trip to the line, this time from senior Emma Head (San Diego, Calif.) inched the Tigers closer to their fifth and final lead of the game, which would carry Pacific to victory. After a foul at the hands of Erving at 3:13, Head split her two free throws and tied the game, 64-64. The Tigers finally secured the win halfway into overtime, at 2:35, when freshman Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) drained a jumper just inside of the three-point arc that pushed Pacific ahead 64-66.
Over the final two minutes of the contest, Pacific pushed its lead to as much at nine during the 12-0 stretch off of fouls from the Matadors in desperate attempt of regaining possession of the ball. Pacific hit the nine-point lead at 0:26 when Fath tallied two free throws that gave the Tigers a 73-64 lead.
From 1:48 remaining on the clock until the final second of the game, Cal State Northridge committed five fouls, which included the loss of two players, Amanda and Katrina Thompson, who both fouled out in overtime. Amanda Thompson's final foul occurred with 0.6 seconds remaining in the game, as Fath made one free throw to close out the win, 76-70 just before the clock expired.
As a team, Pacific shot 64.3 percent (27-of-42) from the free throw stripe when it counted, including an 11-of-14 outing from Thompson who led all players from the line. Both Dana and Fath combined to go 12-for-15, as Fath registered 13 points, five assists and four steals.
Pacific's victory on the road marks breaks a nine-game losing streak on the road, dating back to Feb. 14, 2009, when the Tigers last won 48-44 at UC Irvine.
Pacific looks to test its two-game winning streak on Monday, Jan. 4, when the Tigers close out their road trip at Cal State Fullerton. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Fullerton, Calif.