Pacific women's basketball: Pacific's Season Ends With 82-54 Loss to UC Santa Barbara
Pacific dropped to 6-23 on the year with the loss, while UC Santa Barbara improved to 14-16.
Despite a quick start by the Tigers in the first game of the conference tournament, the early energy could not be sustained as the Gauchos took a three point deficit and turned it into a 17 point advantage using their 18-0 run in the first half. After Pacific scored first on a Jasmine Dana (Bakersfield, Calif.) jumper and looked as if they would not allow the Gauchos to get off to a hot start, a cold streak hit the Tigers' offense as the game neared the first media timeout, allowing UC Santa Barbara to build what would be an insurmountable lead.
Up 7-6 with just four minutes into the game, the Tigers went ice cold from the floor leading to an eight minute scoreless drought that saw the Gauchos take a 24-7 lead in the game. During the stretch, Pacific missed 10 shots from the floor while UC Santa Barbara went 6-for-16 while also grabbing five more points from the line.
With the Gauchos up 17, the two teams played even for the final eight minutes of the half with the two teams trading baskets and the lead never falling below 14 or growing higher then 18. In the half, freshman Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) did her best to keep the Tigers battling with the Gauchos as she put up 11 points in the first 20 minutes of action. McKenzie proved to be the lone Tiger to be able to find her range in the Anaheim Convention Center as she knocked down three of four three-point attempts in the half.Out of the break and down 40-25, the Tigers again got on the scoreboard first, just as they had done in the first half, when senior Emma Head (San Diego, Calif.) hit a jumper on Pacific's first possession. Again, however, the Gauchos would not wait to respond to the Tigers' opening shot as they pushed their lead to its largest amount to that point with a quick 8-0 run, headlined by Meagan Williams who tallied six of the eight.
Pacific would push the UC Santa Barbara lead back down to 16 nearly five minutes into the final half, but again fell victim to a counter-run by the Gauchos that put the game away for good. Over the next 2:25, UC Santa Barbara went on a 12-0, pushing their lead to 28 points at 62-34. From there, the Tigers would only be able to get the lead below 20 points once in the final 10 minutes of the game with the two teams essentially trading free-throws for the final 5:08 of the contest. Over the final five minutes, both teams combined for 15 made free-throws in 17 attempts.
In her final 20 minutes of her college career, Dana was nearly flawless for the Tigers as she posted 10 points on 3-for-3 shooting (2-for-2 3pt FG) from the floor while hitting both of her free-throw attempts. Her lone blemish in the half came on a turnover, one of 10 committed by Pacific in the half. She finished with 12 points. Freshman Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) matched her classmate from the first half posting 11 points in the second half to lead the way for Pacific. Additionally, Rogers tallied six of her team-high eight rebounds in the final half of play. McKenzie finished the game with a team-high 13 points.
In her final game for the Tigers, Head finished with six points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes played. She also added one block, one steal and one assist.
For the Gauchos, Williams tallied 14 of her game-high 24 points in the final frame hitting 7-of-9 shots from the floor in the half. For the game, she went 12-for-15 from the field while missing her only three-point and free-throw attempts. Mekia Valentine posted a double-double for the Gauchos as she finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, scoring 17 of her points in the first half. Additionally, Valentine added eight blocks as UC Santa Barbara had 11 in the contest. Emilie Johnson posted 12 points in the game to round out the Gauchos' scoring.
As a team, Pacific was outshot 48.4 percent (30-for-62) to 31.7 percent (19-for-60) from the floor. The Gauchos also held a 44-35 rebounding advantage over the Tigers.
"I thought Santa Barbara played pretty well so give credit to [UCSB]," said Head Coach Lynne Roberts. "We don't match up real well with them, they're significantly bigger than we are. They executed really well and did a nice job. They got some blocks early in their first five, six minutes that kind of rattled our cage a little bit. We didn't take care of the ball very well, so give credit to their defense. We played a little tentative today and they did a nice job."