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Pacific Women's Basketball: Pacific To Take On UC Santa Barbara In Conference Tournament

Mar 9, 2010
After fighting for a spot in the Big West Conference Tournament all season long, the Pacific women's basketball team finally has a chance to prove itself in the post-season tournament when they take on the No. 5 seeded UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10. This marks the fourth-consecutive time one of head coach Lynne Robert's teams has made it to the post-season.

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Pacific Women's Basketball This Time:
Wednesday, March 10 - vs. UC Santa Barbara (Anaheim, Calif.), 12 p.m.

Pacific Women's Basketball Last Time, 1-1:
Thursday, March 4 - vs. Cal State Fullerton, L 56-65
Saturday, March 6 - vs. Cal State Northridge, W 93-89 (2OT)

Pacific trails in the all-time series, 16-46 after dropping both regular-season games to the Gauchos earlier this season. In the all-time series for neutral site match-ups, UC Santa Barbara also holds the 6-3 advantage over the Tigers and the Gauchos are currently riding a five-game win streak which closed out the regulation season. But for the first time in recent memory, this squad of Gauchos finished below .500 overall after winning 13 of the past 15 BWC titles. The Tigers on the other hand have been given new life after clinching the final No. 8 seed in this tournament and are fighting to prove they belong in post-season contention.

Down to the two final games of the regulation season, sophomore Eliza Dy (Chino Hills, Calif.) has helped give Pacific a chance to punch its ticket to this week's Big West Conference Tournament in Anaheim, Calif. Against Cal State Northridge on March 6, Eliza recorded her first career double-double with 18 points and a career-high, as well as game-high 11 assists. Her 4-for-4 showing at the line against Cal State Fullerton two nights prior led the team as well as her 15 points in that contest. During both of this weekend's contests, Dy's five field goals were second-highest on the team.

For the fourth time in the 2009-10 season, the Pacific basketball team pushed another game to overtime, as they brought Cal State Northridge into two overtime periods on Saturday, March 6. The double overtime contest was Pacific's second of the year, as they dropped an earlier 68-59 2OT contest to Long Beach State. The Matadors must have a penchant for extending games, as Pacific's first extra periods game of the year took place in Northridge, Calif., to kick off conference play. The Tigers claimed that contest 76-70 on Jan. 2.

Trailing just before the end of regulation and the first overtime, the Tigers were able to make two pivotal shots to extend the game into double overtime as the Tigers claimed a 93-89 victory over Cal State Northridge. Cal State Northridge took the final 72-70 lead with 14 seconds left to play. Unwilling to end the regulation season there, sophomore Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) sank a jumper with three seconds on the clock and pushed the game into overtime. Both teams went on to lead by only three points until Cal State Northridge put a three-point separation between the Tigers after a pair of free throws from Janelle Nomura with 23 seconds left on the clock. Cal State Northridge looked to have the game locked up for the second-straight time at the end of the period, leading 84-81. However, the Tigers once again chose to rewrite their own story as freshman Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) successfully landed a three pointer with five seconds on the clock to tie the game, 84-84 and push a second overtime period. Pacific showed a great deal of grit and conditioning, putting enough distance between the Matadors for the final 93-89 lead, as the final prep for the Big West post-season tournament.

Led by sophomore Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) who racked up two Big West post-season awards, the Pacific women's basketball team placed three players on the Big West All-Conference team while Thompson also earned a Big West Specialty award as voted on by the players.

Thompson and fellow sophomore Eliza Dy (Chino Hills, Calif.) earned Honorable Mention All-Big West recognition, while freshman Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) headlined the All-Freshman Team for the Tigers. In addition to the all-conference awards, Thompson was also voted 2009-10 Big West Sixth Woman of the Year in the Big West Specialty awards which are voted on by all the players in the conference.

All season long Thompson stepped up for Pacific, finishing the regulation season as the team's top scorer. The sophomore averaged 11.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in 19.3 minutes played off the bench. In Big West play, Thompson only got better as she finished with 11.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds. Her most impressive showing of the season took place in only the second conference game of the year, tallying a career and team-high 30 points against Cal State Fullerton back on Jan. 4. One game prior to that, she established a then-career high with 23 points and three blocks in Pacific's 76-70 overtime victory on the road at Cal State Northridge. Both awards are the first of the sophomore's career and by claiming Sixth Woman of the Year, Thompson becomes the first Tigers to do so since Gillian d'Hondt back in the 2003-04 season.

After a late push into the 2009-10 season, McKenzie established herself as the team's second-leading scorer both in overall and in conference play for Pacific. The freshman finished the regulation season averaging 8.9 points and per game with 70 total assists, and was a force from behind the three-point arc sinking almost half of Pacific's treys this year with 52 three-point shots. In Pacific's record books, that puts McKenzie just out of reach of the top 10 career three-point shooters, as she will look to break into the books her sophomore season with Pacific. Against Big West opponents, McKenzie averaged 9.8 points per game along with 40 assists and 34 treys. During three games this season Erica recorded six three-pointers to tie for the third-best single game three-point shooting performance in Pacific history. She did so against UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 9), at Sacramento State for a career-high 28 points (Feb. 13) and closed out the regulation season with six against Cal State Northridge on March 6.

Like McKenzie, Dy also served as a force behind the three-point line this season and her 93 assists along with 50 steals this season were tops among Pacific players. Eliza finished third in scoring this season, averaging 8.3 points per game and 8.8 points per game in conference match-ups. Also in conference play, Dy tallied 54 assists to lead the team, along with 19 steals. Dy's single-game career performance came back on Feb. 11, when Pacific upset top-ranked UC Davis as she too dropped six three-pointers to land third in Pacific single-game history. Dy went on to record a career-high 26 points to lead the Tigers in that contest. Her second-best showing came during the final game of the regulation season against Cal State Northridge on March 6. In the double overtime victory over the Matadors, Eliza tallied a team-high 18 points and recorded the first double-double of her career with a personal-best 11 assists to lead either team in that conference.

Pacific will continue its 2009-10 season this week at the Big West Conference Tournament in Anaheim, Calif. The eighth-seeded Tigers will take on No. 5 UC Santa Barbara at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10.

With a career-high four blocks against Cal State Northridge last weekend, senior Emma Head (San Diego, Calif.) has sealed her name in the top 10 all-time Pacific block leaders. In 109 games with the Tigers, Head has amassed 74 blocks (0.6 bpg). Head's block total in her senior season now sits at 33, which breaks the career-best mark she set as a sophomore (18) and moves Head past Gillian d'Hont to put her in sole possession of the No. 7 single season blocker in Pacific history.

To enter into the top 10 career list, Head knocked off former 10th-best all-time blocker, Gretchen Meinhardt (1984-88) who tallied 55 blocks in her 101 career games at Pacific, for a 0.5 blocks per game average. Sitting as the new No. 10 blocker at Pacific is Andrea Nederostek (2000-04) who tallied 61 career blocks in 106 games at Pacific, which gives her a 0.6 blocks per game average. Head has now surpassed the No. 8 and 9 and claims sole possession of No. 7 (74 blocks).