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Athletics

Northridge Snaps Pacific’s Home Women’s Hoops Win Streak

Jan 14, 2012

After holding the Matadors to just 20 points in the first half, Pacific saw Cal State Northridge answer with 52 second-half points to halt the Tigers' six-game home win streak and take a 72-68 Big West win Saturday at the Alex G. Spanos Center.  Junior guard Erica McKenzie led the Tigers with a season-high 25 points.

Pacific (9-7, 3-2 Big West) posted its' best defensive first-half, 20 points on 27 percent shooting (6-of-22), but the Tigers allowed the most points in any second half this season as the Matadors shot 50 percent (14-of-28) and hit 23 of 28 second-half free throw attempts.

Freshman center Kendall Kenyon posted her third double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with four blocked shots. Junior forward Kendall Rodriguez and sophomore guard Gena Johnson each added 12 points, as Rodriguez hit eight-for-eight from the free throw line. Johnson tied her career-high with nine rebounds. Junior guard Ashley Wakefield tallied five steals and nine rebounds.

McKenzie finished 10-for-18 from the field, and 5-of-10 from three-point range for her second 20+ point game of the year and fifth of her career. Starting the last three games, Kenyon has posted a pair of double-doubles while averaging 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Leading 33-20 at halftime, the Tigers missed 15 of their first 16 shots in the second half, as Northridge used a 19-2 run to tie the game at 35-35 with 14:32 to go on a lay-up by Hallie White, and then take a 39-35 lead on a lay-in by Violet Alama.

Pacific battled back from a nine-point deficit, as Kenyon and Rodriguez each hit a pair of free throws, McKenzie posted a three-pointer, and following a jumper by Ashley Wakefield, another pair of throws by Rodriguez to cut the gap to 60-57 with 3:16 remaining.

Northridge tallied four straight points, but Johnson's drive cut the gap to five, and McKenzie took it to the hoop to pull within three with 1:03 left in the game.

Down four with 37 seconds to go, McKenzie drew contact at the three-point line, but was called for traveling. After a pair of free throws by the Matadors, Gena Johnson scored on a driving lay-up and the Tigers defense appeared to get the five-second call on the inbounds. But the call was overturned, as Cal State Northridge was awarded the timeout with 13 seconds left. Janae Sharpe hit a pair of free throws for a six-point edge, and after McKenzie cut the gap to three again with another three-pointer with seven seconds to go, Ashlee Guay hit one from the stripe to make it a two possession game with five ticks left. McKenzie tried to draw contact from behind the arc, but no whistle came and the buzzer sounded.

The Tigers finished 11-of-40 from the field in the second half (27.5 percent), including two-of-15 from three-point range.

Pacific was held to its' lowest point total in seven games, having won five of six while averaging 80.7 points per game.

The Matadors improve to 9-8 overall, 4-2 in the Big West behind 16 points from Guya, 14 from Jianni Jackson, and 12 from White.  The Tigers owned a 46-32 margin in rebounding, and forced 21 turnovers, but Pacific's 25 turnovers were the most since No. 4 UConn forced 26 Tiger miscues.

The Tigers will step out-of-conference on Tuesday, with a 5 p.m. matchup with Seattle at home, as part of a double-header with the Pacific men's team.

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