Pacific Women's Hoops Visits Rival UC Davis Wednesday At 7 PM
The Pacific women's basketball team kicks off a three-game road swing Wednesday at UC Davis as the Big West's northern California rivalry tips off at 7 p.m. at the Pavilion. The Tigers will look to avenge a 65-57 home loss on Jan. 15 and even their record at 2-2 in a four-game stretch against the top four teams in the Big West.
"We're finishing our stretch of games against UC Riverside, Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and now Davis, and those are the top four teams in the conference. This is the last leg of that, so it doesn't get easier on Wednesday," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "It's a fun challenge to finish at Davis. We always enjoy playing them. It's a great place to play, and it's a rivalry game, so we're excited. We didn't play them too long ago, either, so it's still fresh in our minds."
In Pacific's last three games, the Tigers squared off against then-second place UC Riverside, third place UC Santa Barbara, and Big West leader Cal Poly. The Tigers toppled UC Riverside on the road, 62-59, before falling by seven at home to UCSB and by 10 against Cal Poly.
UC Davis enters the northern California at 17-5 overall, 7-3 in the Big West. The pre-season favorite to win the league is the highest rated Big West team in the latest RPI.
UC Davis snapped a three-game losing streak at the Alex G. Spanos Center, topping Pacific 65-57 on January 15 behind 19 points from senior forward Paige Mintun. Pacific freshman forward Danielle Peacon (Sparks, Nev.) led the Tigers with 12 points, but UC Davis' zone forced 25 Tiger turnovers.
Pacific out-shot and out-rebounded UC Davis, while scoring more in the paint in that contest. But the Aggies scored 21 points of Pacific's 25 turnovers and attempted 16 more free throws to take their first victory at the Spanos Center since 2007.
Despite Pacific's 3-7 Big West record, Pacific has seen measurable improvement in Big West play. Pacific has fallen by a margin larger than 10 points just once in Big West play, a 13-point loss at Long Beach State. Last season, Pacific has six such losses, with a pair of 10 point losses, against four losses by single digits. The Tigers also played six of their first 10 Big West games this season against the top four teams in the conference, and just four to teams fifth through ninth in the standings.
The Tigers have also seen improvement from a trio of players in conference play. In her last seven games, freshman guard Gena Johnson is averaging 11.9 points per game (leading Pacific in that stretch), with 4.5 rebounds per game, a .449 field goal percentage and eight blocked shots. The 5-9 guard out of Elk Grove has posted four-straight contests in double-figure scoring. She tallied a career-high 19 points at Long Beach State, topping the 13 points she turned in at UC Santa Barbara. She followed that up with 10 points in the Tigers win at UC Riverside, 16 against UCSB at home and 13 against Cal Poly.
Sophomore guard Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) has connected on 14-of-28 from behind the three-point line in her last seven games while averaging 7.3 points per game and hitting double-figures three times. She moved into 10th on Pacific's all-time made threes list with 90 in her career in 52 games.
In her last 11 games, senior forward/center Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) has broken out for 92 points, including a season-high 20 against CS Northridge, and 19 against CS Fullerton. She is shooting .600 from the field in that stretch with 8.4 points per contest.
Following Wednesday's game, Pacific's road trip will continue on Thursday, February 17 at UC Irvine, followed by a Saturday contest at Cal State Fullerton.