Killer Kendalls Power Pacific To 87-63 Win Over UC Irvine
Kendall Rodriguez and Kendall Kenyon each turned in career-highs in points, as Rodriguez struck for 25 and Kenyon tallied 22 as Pacific scored 53 second-half points to turn a tie game into a 87-63 win over UC Irvine Saturday at the Spanos Center.
Rodriguez scored 20 of her 25 points in the second half, draining five three-pointers while adding nine rebounds and a pair of assists. Kenyon connected on nine-of-11 from the field, and four-of-five from the free throw line to top her previous best of 18 points, set twice, including Thursday night's win over UC Riverside. She also added seven points.
Rodriguez didn't miss in the second half, hitting all five from the field, including four three-pointers, and all six free throw attempts. In her last six games, Rodriguez is averaging over 10 points a game in the second half.
Donning their pink uniforms for the fifth-annual Pacific Plays Pink, the Tigers improved to 14-9 overall, 7-4 in the Big West. The win was the Tigers' fourth-straight, and improved Pacific's record at home to 9-2 on the season.
The Tigers shot 51.6 percent in the second half, with their highest-scoring half of the season.
UC Irvine connected on 11 of its first 18 field goal attempts as the Anteaters built a 22-14 lead with 10:27 to go in the half, led by Kassandra McCalister. But the Tigers battled back, reeling off a 13-6 run to on a lay-up by Kendall Kenyon, and a pair of driving lay-ups by Gena Johnson, one while being fouled. Kenyon pulled Pacific to within one at 28-27 and after a stop on the defensive end, Rodriguez put Pacific ahead 29-28 with 4:07 to go in the half.
Jacquelyn Marshall and Sam Pettinger traded lay-ups, and McCalister tallied inside for a one-point Irvine edge. But Rodriguez knocked down a three-pointer as the Tigers and Anteaters went into the half tied at 34-34.
The Tigers shot 41 percent in the first half, to the Anteaters' 45 percent, but Pacific forced 10 first-half turnovers and scored 16 second-chance points.
In the second half, Pacific opened with a 13-2 run, as Kenyon and Rodriguez each posted buckets in the paint before McCalister answered. Then Kenyon scored five-straight points, and Rodriguez gave the Tigers a nine-point edge with a three-pointer.
Rodriguez made a pair of free throws and then added another three as Pacific took a 12-point lead at 50-38 with 15:45 to go.
The Anteaters scored seven of the next eight points, as Marshall hit a jumper and pair of free throws to cut the margin to six.
But Rodriguez connected from the corner for another three-pointer, Kenyon tallied inside and Claire Conricodenailed a triple for a 15-point edge, 63-48, with 8:05 remaining. Pacific poured it on from there, as Rodriguez's final points, a pair of free throws, gave the Tigers a 20-point edge with 3:09 to go, and the Tigers ran out the clock on their fourth-straight win.
Sam Pettinger handed out five assists for the second-straight game and added three steals and six points, while Gena Johnson posted eight points with three blocked shots. Kristina Johnson tied her career-high six assists. Every Tiger that suited up scored.
After opening the game 11-for-18 from the field, the Pacific defense held the Anteaters to 12 field goals on their next 42 attempts.
Pacific will hit the road for the final regular season away games of the season, visiting Big West leader Cal State Northridge (8-3 BWC) on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Tigers sit a game-back of the Matadors in the standings with five to play. On Saturday, Pacific will visit Long Beach State for a 4 p.m. tip-off.