Pacific Hosts UCSB, Cal Poly In Final Homestand
The Pacific women's basketball team wraps up its regular season with a pair of Big West Conference home games, taking on UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Mar. 1, at 7 p.m. before facing Cal Poly on Saturday, Mar. 3, at 4 p.m.
The games will be the third and fourth for the Tigers in a span of eight days after having to make up a contest at Long Beach State last Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Pacific (15-11, 8-6 Big West) moved into a tie for third in the conference standings with UC Davis after defeating the 49ers, 73-68, last Tuesday. The Big West Tournament will begin Tuesday, Mar. 6, with the top four teams hosting quarterfinal games that night.
Saturday's contest will also serve as Senior Day for the Tigers' lone senior, forward Christina Thompson. The Sacramento native has tallied 618 career points and 255 rebounds in 87 career games. She set her career high with 30 points against Cal State Northridge as a sophomore. Her 2011-12 season high of 22 points came versus Cal State Bakersfield as Thompson made 11 of 12 shots. She will graduate in August with a degree in psychology.
UC Santa Barbara (13-14, 7-7 BWC) currently sits in sixth place, just one-half game out of fifth. Cal Poly (15-12, 11-3 BWC) is in first place and has already clinched a home playoff game.
The Tigers earned a 52-48 road win over UCSB thanks to a 12-2 run over the final five minutes. Pacific connected on four of its final five field goal attempts while holding the Gauchos to five straight misses. Junior guard Erica McKenzie led all scorers with 14 points.
"We won a grind-it-out defensive game at their place last time," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "They manage to keep games low scoring, but we want to speed it up since we're at home."UC Santa Barbara has won five of its last seven games but is 4-8 on the road this season. The Gauchos lead the all-time series 49-18, but the Tigers have won the last two meetings.
Cal Poly opened the last meeting on a 20-1 run before withstanding a late Pacific comeback to win, 74-64, in San Luis Obispo. The Tigers would reduce the Mustangs' lead to four, 44-40, but Cal Poly reeled off eight straight points over the next four minutes, restoring a double-digit lead. Junior Kendall Rodriguez led Pacific with 17 points while sophomore guard Sam Pettinger added career highs of eight points and seven rebounds.
"Cal Poly is playing with a lot of confidence right now," Roberts continued. "They really like to get up and down. It should be a great game since it's the last one of the regular season and will have huge implications for seeding for the Big West Tournament."
Pacific leads the all-time series 26-20 but the Mustangs have won the last eight contests. The Tigers last defeated Cal Poly during the 2007-08 season.