Pacific Women's Hoops Falls at UCSB, 56-47
A 13-0 run by the Gauchos enabled UC Santa Barbara to pull away late from the Pacific women's basketball team, 56-47, Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome. Freshman Danielle Peacon (Sparks, Nev.) scored 14 points, while Gena Johnson (Elk Grove, Calif.) added a career-high 13 points.
Pacific and UCSB played an even affair, with both defenses stifling each other. But one breakdown by the Tiger defense led to a 13-0 Gaucho run and the Tigers couldn't recover, trimming the gap to as much as six before falling by nine.
Johnson tied tied the game at 35-35 with 10:30 remaining in the ballgame. Over the next 4:48, UCSB rattled off 13 unanswered points to seize control of the contest.
UCSB out-rebounded Pacific 49-43, but the Tigers managed a 22-18 lead in points in the paint. Pacific forced 18 UCSB turnovers as each team tallied 18 points of miscues.
Mekia Valentine paced UCSB with a double-double with 11 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots, while Nicole Nesbit added 12 points, and Emilie Johnson chipped in 10 points.
Pacific held UCSB to just 33.9 percent shooting, but managed just 28.1 percent from the field themselves.
After falling behind 9-0 in the early going, Pacific answered back with 10 straight points as Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) and Peacon connected with three-pointers. Off a steal, Kendall Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.) found Johnson out ahead of the defense and her fast-break lay-up gave Pacific a 10-9 lead.
The two teams battled back and forth before Emilie Johnson gave UCSB the lead with a three-pointer from the wing. UCSB nursed a five point lead until Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) drained a three-pointer from the wing with 2:14 to go in the first half. After forcing a turnover, the Tigers tied the score at 24-24 as Johnson put back a missed three-attempt. But the Gauchos' Melissa Zornig knocked down a 18-foot jumper with four seconds remaining in the half as the Tigers trailed at the break, 26-24.
Peacon paced Pacific at the break with seven points and four rebounds, while Jennifer Fath (Carrollton, Texas) added five in the low-scoring affair. Pacific shot 31 percent in the first frame, but turned the ball over just seven times, a stark contrast to their 14-turnover performance in the first half at Cal Poly. UCSB shot 38 percent in the half, as Johnson led all scorers at intermission with eight points while Valentine tallied four points and eight rebounds.
The Tigers defense locked down to open the half, as Pacific shut out UCSB for the first five minutes of action. Fath drove the baseline to give Pacific a 28-26 lead. UCSB answered back with a basket inside from Valentine while being fouled, and then the Gaucho's worked the high-low for a 35-32 lead with 10:44 left in the ballgame.
UCSB surged ahead thanks to stifling perimeter defense, which allowed the Gaucho's to score a pair of baskets in transition. The Gauchos embarked on a 13-0 run to seize control at 48-35, as the active UCSB offense found open space to knock down jumpers or drive the lane.
The Tigers cut the margin to 11 as Johnson drove to the rim, and then to six on a three-pointer from Rogers, and another by Fath. But the Tigers would get no closer as UCSB knocked down their free throws to hand the Tigers their 21st straight defeat at the Thunderdome. Pacific has not won at UCSB since 1987.
UCSB improves to 8-7 overall, 2-1 in the Big West, while Pacific falls to 4-13 overall, 1-2 in BWC play.
Pacific is back in action on Saturday, January 15, at 4 p.m., against Long Beach State in the Spanos Center.