Tigers Earn Big West Women’s Basketball Berth With Road Win at Northridge
The Tigers earned their way into the 2011 am/pm Big West Tournament field with a 63-49 road victory at Cal State Northridge Saturday. Sophomore forward Kendall Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.) paced Pacific with 16 points and seven rebounds. Pacific will be the number seven seed in the Big West tournament and face second-seeded UC Santa Barbara, on Tuesday, March 8 in Santa Barbara.
Freshman forward Danielle Peacon (Sparks, Nev.) added 12 points while sophomore forward Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) chipped in 11 points. Sophomore guard Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) tallied nine points with six rebounds and three assists.
Pacific connected on nine three-pointers and out-rebounded Northridge 36-28, while forcing 19 Matador turnovers turning the miscues into 16 points.
The two teams traded jumpers early, as Peacon knotted the score at 6-6 four minutes into the game with a jumper from the free throw line extended. Northridge took a 15-14 lead on a jumper from Janelle Nomura, but with the shot clock winding down, McKenzie hit a deep three to give Pacific a 16-15 lead and start a 18-4 run over the next 6:47. Pacific held Northridge to 13 empty trips on 15 Matadors possessions.
McKenzie added a lay-up, and after a Northridge turnover, freshman forward Taryn Garza (Modesto, Calif.) hit a jumper in the paint. Rogers and Rodriguez each connected on a three-pointer as Pacific led by double-digits. After Haley White scored to stop the bleeding for Northridge, Peacon hit a pair of free throws and Rogers added a three-pointer to give Pacific the 16-point lead they would take into halftime, 37-21.
The Tigers hit 7 of 15 from behind the three-point arc in the first half, shooting 46 percent from the field. The Tigers out-rebounded the Matadors 17-13 in the first half. A trio of Tigers led the way with eight first-half points, Rodriguez, Peacon and Rogers, while McKenzie tallied seven in the first frame.
Rogers opened the second half with a three-pointer and then Rodriguez found Peacon underneath for a lay-in as Pacific stretched the advantage to 20, 43-23, with 17:02 to left in the ball game.
Northridge slowly whittled the lead down as Pacific was content to run the shot clock on each possession. Back-to-back Tiger turnovers and a 6-1 foul advantage helped the Matadors pull within 14 from free throw line, 45-31 with 11:43 left in the game. But Rodriguez drained a threee-pointer with the shot clock winding down to re-establish a 17-point lead at 52-35 with 7:53 remaining.
The Matadors refused to go away, as Alama knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the gap to 57-42. Pacific took the air out of the ball on offense, nursing their double-digit lead to under two minutes remaining.
The Tigers closed the game from the free throw line as Northridge began fouling with 1:43 remaining. Pacific hit 18-of-27 from the stripe en route to the 63-49 victory.