Pacific Women's Basketball Falls Late at UC Irvine, 74-66
Pacific's 11-0 run midway through the second half wasn't enough as UC Irvine responded with a 20-4 run of their own to earn a 74-66 Big West women's basketball victory over the Tigers Thursday night at the Bren Center. Sophomore guard Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) recorded her fourth double-double of the year with a season-high 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Rogers led four Tigers in double-figures as freshman forward Danielle Peacon (Sparks, Nev.), sophomore forward Kendall Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.) and freshman guard Gena Johnson (Elk Grove, Calif.) each added 11 points. Johnson, making her second-career start, also tallied three blocked shots and a pair of steals and assists.
Pacific hit a blistering 61 percent from the field in the first half, but after their 11-0 run to take a four-point lead, the Anteaters switched to a match-up zone which stifled the Pacific offense, holding the Tigers to two field goals over a stretch of 9:03.
UC Irvine connected on 26-of-30 free throws, including seven of their final eight to turn a three-point game with eight ties and eight lead changes into a comfortable eight-point win.
The Anteaters (14-11 overall, 6-7 Big West) were led by 25 points from Tayler Champion, who hit five three-pointers, while point guard Jade Smith-Williams added 13 points on nine-of-10 from the free throw line and two-of-14 from the field. She also handed out five assists while Kasasandra McCallister added 14 points.
Pacific opened to a 16-9 lead as the Tigers connected on seven of their first 11 shots from the field, including a three-pointer from Kendall Rodriguez and back-to-back driving lay-ups from Gena Johnson.
But the Anteaters responded with a 7-0 run to tie the ballgame as Tayler Champion knocked down a three-pointer from the corner. After trading baskets underneath, Champion slipped to the rim to give UC Irvine a 23-21 lead. But a triple from Rogers pulled Pacific ahead, 26-25.
Taryn Garza (Modesto, Calif.) got open inside for a bucket, as the Tigers led by three, but an and-one from Kassandra McCallister knotted the game at 30-30 with 3:52 before the half. However, Garza tallied back-to-back baskets in the paint for a four-point Pacific lead. But as the fouls racked up in the first half, Irvine knocked down six-straight free throws to swing the advantage in their favor, closing the half on a 10-3 run to take a 40-37 lead into the break.
Pacific shot 61 percent in the first half (14-of-23), but 12 turnovers led to 15 Anteaters points, while UC Irvine connected on 13-of-26 field goals themselves. Rogers paced the Tigers in the first half with 10 points and seven rebounds at intermission. She tallied half of the Tigers 14 boards, as Pacific out-rebounded UC Irvine 14-11.
In the second half, Pacific surged ahead as Peacon scored inside for her third field goal of the night on three attempts. UC Irvine answered with pair of free throws. A three-pointer from Champion gave Irvine their largest lead at seven, 53-46, but the Tigers answered with an 11-0 run.
After a pair of free throws from Rogers and a lay-up inside from Peacon to close the gap to one, Peacon laid in a feed from Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) and Rogers drained a wide-open triple to give the Tigers a 57-53 lead with 9:22 to go.
However from their, the Anteaters defense took over, holding Pacific to just one field goal on their next 11 possessions.
Pacific falls to 7-18 overall, 4-8 in the Big West. The Tigers are back in action on Saturday at Cal State Fullerton in a 3 p.m. tip-off.