Women's Basketball: Peacon Sets Freshman Scoring Record As Pacific Runs Away From Sac State
Danielle Peacon scored a Pacific freshman record 33 points as the Tigers pulled away late from Sacramento State for a 94-86 victory Friday night at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Senior Jennifer Fath added 19 points, including seven-for-seven from the free throw line, as the Tigers (1-0) shot 48 percent to win their season opener.
Peacon became the third freshman to hit 30 points in a game in the history of Pacific's program, topping the 31 by Julie Szukalski (Feb. 28, 1987 vs UNLV) and Kim McDonald (Jan. 17, 1978 vs Stanford). The 2010 Northern Nevada Player of the Year from Reed High School in Sparks, Nevada, connected on 16-of-25 from the field, while adding two assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
"With the press they were doing, if you broke it in the first half of the court, it was open underneath," Peacon explained. "Coach told me [at halftime] that [Sacramento State's Kylie Kuhns] was killing me on the boards, so I had to go out and prove her wrong. I'm really proud of our team, we played well."
"She's going to be a talent," head coach Lynne Roberts said of Peacon. "Jen Fath and Gena Johnson did a very good job against the press, converting two-on-ones. I was really pleased... we didn't shoot particular well, but I was proud of the fact that, despite that, we still scored 94 points. I think our kids just wanted to win. We had what felt like a pretty comfortable lead, and they did cut it. I was wondering how the young players would respond to that. But they didn't get rattled; we hit free throws when we needed to. This group wants to win and the way they responded showed that."
Peacon recorded 13 of her game-high 18 rebounds in the second half for the double-double in her first collegiate game. Kuhns had her share underneath, finishing with 12 rebounds for the Hornets.
Fath, a senior guard from Carrollton, Texas, picked up six of her 19 points from the free throw line in the final 90 seconds to seal the victory.
Against the pressing defense of Sacramento State, the Tigers had their way inside, scoring 68 points in the paint, 28 on the break and holding a 60-47 rebounding edge. Forward Kendall Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.) grabbed a career-best 15 rebounds to go with her seven points, while fellow forwards Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) and Taryn Garza (Modesto, Calif.) each tallied eight points.
The Tigers jumped out to a 15-2 lead 4:46 into the game as Peacon recorded three-straight baskets for Pacific. The Tigers connected on eight of their first 13 attempts from the field, but the hot start was matched by the Hornets, who rattled off a 20-4 run to take a three-point lead with 8:45 to go in the first half.
Rogers answered with a three-pointer, and after trading two-point buckets, Garza came off the bench to score back-to-back buckets and freshman guard Gena Johnson (Elk Grove, Calif.) added a jumper to give Pacific a lead it would never relinquish. The Tigers finished the half with a put-back from Fath at the buzzer to stretch the margin to seven at 43-36.
The Tigers racked up 32 points in the paint in the first half, hitting 46 percent of their shots as Peacon was 8-of-11 at intermission.
A jumper from Tika Koshiyama-Diaz pulled Sacramento State to within two at 43-41 early in the second half, but Peacon responded with a lay-up and following a lay-in from Rogers, the Hornets would get no closer than five the rest of the way.
The Tigers led by as many as 14 following a jumper from Johnson at the 8:34 mark, but the Hornets had one final surge in them. Koshiyama-Diaz and Alle Moreno hit a pair of threes to narrow the margin to six, and then a pair of Koshiyama-Diaz pulled the Hornets within five at 79-74 with 3:42 remaining.
But Pacific answered with back-to-back baskets from Peacon, and following another three from Moreno, Fath ended the game with a steal at midcourt and her six free throws from the charity stripe.
Sacramento State (0-1) was led by 16 from Koshiyama-Diaz, while Kylie Kuhns added 14 and Moreno tallied 15 points on five three-pointers. The Hornets connected on 13 three points while attempting 42 shots from behind the arc. For the game, Sacramento State was 29-of-82 from the field, giving them more three-point attempts than two-point attempts.
Johnson finished with nine points for the Tigers to go with three assists. Sophomore point guard Erica McKenzie handed out six assists while Rodriguez doled out five. McKenzie tallied a career-high in rebounds with seven.
The Tigers three-game home stand to open the season continues on Monday, against San Diego at 7 p.m.