Pacific Women's Basketball Falls In Fullerton Slugfest, 72-67
After erasing a 12-point second half deficit to take the lead, but the Pacific women's basketball team fell in a wild Big West contest at Cal State Fullerton Saturday, 72-67. Freshman guard Gena Johnson (Elk Grove, Calif.) tallied a career-high 28 points for Pacific, but it wasn't enough as the Titans held on late.
Sophomore forward Kendall Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.) added 12 points while junior forward Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) tallied 10 points and eight rebounds.
Pacific shot just 25 percent in the second half, but still managed to erase a 12-point deficit. Fullerton shot 41 percent for the game and in each half, while out-rebounding the Tigers 33-31.
The Tigers committed just nine turnovers, with Fullerton tallying eight of their own in a scrappy, physical contest with 44 fouls called, including an intentional and a technical foul, as well as a pair of ejected players.
Pacific opened to a 5-0 lead as Gena Johnson converted an and-one and Kendall Rodriguez knocked down a jumper in the paint. Megan Richardson connected with a pair of mid-range jumpers to pull the Titans to within 9-7, and after Johnson tallied inside on a left-hand finish, Rodriguez put Pacific up 13-11.
Andrea Swanson finished inside while being fouled as Pacific surged ahead 20-16 with 9:40 to go in the half, but Fullerton answered with a jumper from Katie Avila and a pair of free throws from Yvont'e Neal to tie the game.
Pacific used a 6-0 run capped by a lay-up inside Christina Thompson to take a 31- 25 lead, leading to a Fullerton timeout. But out of the timeout, Cal State Fullerton ripped off a 12-0 run aided by a technical foul and free throws to take a 39-31 lead. Sophomore guard Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) drained a triple from the top of the key to cut the margin to five, but Richardson hit a three of her own before the half for a 42-34 Titan lead at the break.
The Tigers shot 41 percent in the first half, and out-scored the Titans 14-8 in the paint. However, while Pacific's inside game was going early with 10 points in the paint, the Tigers tallied just four in the final nine minutes of the half. The first half was a free-throw fest as the two teams were whistled for 24 fouls. The Titans hit 12-of-14 free throw attempts, while Pacific hit seven-of-11 in the first half.
Johnson led the Tigers scorers at the break with nine points on four-of-four shooting while Rodriguez added seven. Richardson tallied 14 at intermission to lead all scorers.
In the second half, Pacific cut the margin in half with a lay-up from Johnson and jumper from Rodriguez. But the Titans answered with back-to-back jumpers followed by an and-one from Richardson to take a nine point lead.
Fullerton led by as many as 12, but Christina Thompson went work inside, scoring a pair of buckets backing down defenders. Johnson added a three-pointer as Pacific cut the margin to five, 56-51 with 7:29 remaining before Thompson tallied inside again. Johnson completed the 19-6 run with a pair of free throws to give Pacific a 61-60 lead with 4:20 to go. However, Richardson scored on a floater in the lane and the Titans picked up a pair of defensive stops to stretch their lead to five with two minutes remaining.
Johnson drove and got fouled to cut the gap to three, and the Tigers appeared to have the stop, but where whistled for a foul on the rebound with 40 seconds remaining. The ensuing free throws gave the Titans a five point lead.
Johnson hit another pair of throws with 30 seconds to go, but Richardson knocked down two from the stripe and the Tigers couldn't tally again to fall 72-67.
Freshman forward Danielle Peacon (Sparks, Nev.) and Fullerton's Neal were each ejected at the 12:52 mark on a call that left both head coaches unhappy and bewildered.
Pacific falls to 7-19 overall and 4-9 in the Big West, while Cal State Fullerton improves to 9-18, 5-9 in the Big West.
The Tigers return home to host UC Irvine on Thursday at the Alex G. Spanos Center in a 7 p.m. tip-off, while senior day activities will lead off the Tigers match-up with UC Riverside on Saturday prior to the 4 p.m. game.