Pacific Women's Basketball: Tigers Come Up Short Against UC Davis, 65-57
UC Davis snapped a three-game losing streak at the Alex G. Spanos Center, topping Pacific 65-57 Saturday afternoon 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 (5-14 overall, 2-4 Big West) out-shot and out-rebounded UC Davis, while scoring more in the paint. 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.
The win was the first for Mintun at the Spanos Center, in the last trip to the building by UC Davis head coach Sandy Simpson, who is retiring following the season after 14 years at the helm. The Aggies improve to 14-4 overall, 4-2 in the Big West.
Peacon tallied her dozen points on six-of-eight from the field, while blocking three shots. Senior guard Jennifer Fath (Carrollton, Texas) scored nine points for the Tigers, without missing a single shot. Pacific athletics' Competitor of the Month for December, Fath was three-for-three from the field with a three-pointer, and two-for-two from the free throw line.
Sophomore forward Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) added nine points to go with two steals, while junior center Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) recorded nine points on three-of-four from the field. Freshman guard Gena Johnson (Elk Grove, Calif.) added eight points and four rebounds in 19 minutes of action, while sophomore guard Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) tied her season and career high with seven rebounds to go with six points and six assists.
Mintun shot seven-of-11 from the field with eight rebounds, three blocks and six steals. She was aided by 18 points from Heidi Heintz, who tied Mintun for the team lead with eight rebounds. Heintz tallied 10 of her 18 from the free throw line.
"Davis is good, they were picked to win [the Big West], they won it last year. We weren't surprised by how good they are. They do a really good job of executing in the half court," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "I thought our defense was solid. We had some lapses at the end of the first half - but they shot 16 more free throws than we did. I think that and the turnovers were what beat us... Anytime you make mistakes, they're going to make you pay."
After jumping out to a 6-1 lead on jumpers from Peacon, sophomore forward Kendall Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.), and Fath, Pacific saw the Aggies comeback to take their first lead of the game at 9-8 with 12:41 left in the first on back-to-back layups from Heintz.
But the Tigers took the lead right back on a jumper from Rogers at the 9:53 mark. Following a three pointer by Davis' Blair Shinoda, Rogers tied the game at 16-16 with 8:11 left. Pacific stretched the lead out to five, at 23-18 with 4:18 left in the half on a three-pointer from McKenzie, but UC Davis closed the half with a 12-0 run, led by Heintz and Mintun, who scored all 12 in the run leading into the break for a 30-18 advantage.
Mintun led all scorers at the intermission with 11, while Heintz posted 10. Pacific shot 41 percent from the field in the first half, but committed 13 turnovers against the Aggies' trapping zone.
Out of the break, the Tigers found themselves down by 10, the largest lead of the game, at 37-27 with 17:05 remaining. But Pacific continued to chip away.
The Tigers reeled off eight straight points, as a Peacon lay-up was followed by a three from Fath. After an 'and-one' by Christina Thompson, the Tigers were within two, at 37-35, but Pacific came up empty on its next two possessions. Mintun took over for the Aggies, as her lay-up restored a two-possession lead with 10:51 to go, and then Riecks followed with a three-pointer to put Davis up nine.
Pacific wouldn't go away, as Rogers and Thompson each tallied to trim the deficit to five, and then Gena Johnson cut the gap to 52-49 with 4:11 to go.
Once again, UC Davis responded, this time Heintz took a feed from Mintun and converted for a five point margin. After a pair of Heintz free throws, Pacific would get back to within three, thanks to an 'and-one' from Rogers, a steal from Johnson and Peacon's finish inside with 1:54 to go.
However, the Tigers would get no closer than 57-54, as Hannah Stephens first and only field goal of the game was the dagger, a three-ball from the wing to put the Aggies up by two possessions with 1:25 remaining. After coming up empty on the ensuing possession, the closest Pacific would get after that would be six, when McKenzie drained a deep three-pointer. The Aggies connected on five of eight free throws in the final 45 seconds to hold on to the victory.
The Tigers hit the road for games at Long Beach State on Thursday, at 7 p.m. and UC Riverside on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 5 p.m.