Tigers Can't Defend Free Throw Line, Fall at USD in WNIT, 83-75
Ashley Wakefield tied a career-best with 24 points and Kendall Rodriguez added 19 more, but the Pacific women's basketball team fell to San Diego, 83-75, in the second round of the WNIT. The Toreros shot a near-record 49 free throws attempts in the contest to the Tigers 21.
Pacific showed their resiliency, as the Tigers rallied back from double-digit deficits multiple times in the contest. A 17-6 run by Pacific narrowed a 16-point deficit to five, with 2:40 to go, but the Toreros closed the game out with 13 more free throws in the final two minutes.The Toreros scored 33 points on their 49 trips to the charity stripe as Pacific was whistled for a season-high 32 fouls. The 49 free throw attempts was three shy of the WNIT single-game record, set by Wyoming in 2007 (in a game that had 15 minutes of overtime periods). The Tigers attempted 21 free throws, hitting 16 following 20 USD fouls committed."Obviously, no one wants to end their season with a loss, but we're so proud of what we accomplished this season," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "This is such a great group of players and a group that I know will take what we learned throughout the season to motivate them to achieve even more next season. As we talked about after the game, we've turned a corner as a program. And with that turn comes a new view and new goals. I'm excited for the future of this program."In her final game with the Tigers, senior Christina Thompson didn't miss a field goal attempt, nailing all four to finish with nine points. Thompson finishes her Tigers' career tied for 35th on the all-time scoring list with 645 points. She scored in double figures in 25 games in her career, including five 20-point games and a career-high 30 game in 2010. Her .371 career field goal percentage ranks 22nd in Tiger history.
"We will miss CT so much. She has definitely done what you want your seniors to do - that is, leave the program in a better place than when you came in as a freshman. CT has done that and I couldn't be more proud of her."Wakefield, who scored 24 in the regular season meeting at San Diego, matched her high total on the year by hitting seven of 10 field goal attempts and 10 of 12 free throws. She also added five assists. In two games vs USD, Wakefield finished with 48 points on 17-of-27 shooting (.630), 17 rebounds.
Rodriguez hit a pair of three pointers and score four of her eight field goals from the paint. She sunk her lone free throw to finish with 19 points while grabbing a team-high seven rebounds.
Erica McKenzie added 10 points and five assists. She hit a pair of three-pointers to break the Tigers' single-season record for threes in a season with 75.
Morgan Woodrow paced San Diego with 27 points, hitting nine of 15 from the field and seven of 12 free throws. Dominique Conners added 23 points, including 13 of 20 from the free throw line.
Pacific shot 43 percent for the game, while the Toreros hit at a 47 percent clip.
The Tigers and Toreros traded early three pointers, and the Toreros forced Pacific to settle for long jumpers. San Diego controlled the glass in the first nine minutes, scoring seven second-chance points to build a 22-10 lead.
Pacific reeled off an 11-3 run, attacking the basket for four lay-ups to pull within 25-21 with 7:29 left in the first. Wakefield led the charge, with 10 first half points, on three-of-three from the field.
Christina Thompson pulled Pacific within two, 25-23, with 6:54 to go in the first. But USD surged ahead again, first an and-one by Connors provided a five-point margin and Morgan Woodrow knocked down a three-pointer.
The Toreros closed the first half from the free throw line, taking a 42-32 lead into intermission thanks to 21 free throw attempts to the Tigers' four.
Pacific shot 46 percent in the first half, to the Toreros' 41, but the 16 made free throws provided the 10-point Toreros cushion.
The Tigers opened the second half with back-to-back buckets to pull within six at 42-32, and Pacific's three attempt to cut that lead in half rimmed out and the Toreros scored 13 of the next 16 points to lead by 16
Pacific refused to quit and began to chip away, as Kristina Johnson knocked down a jumper, and Thompson's put back closed the gap to 12.
Rodriguez answered more free throws with a baseline jumper and Wakefield drove to pull Pacific within nine. After a stop on defense, Wakefield drew a foul and hit a pair of free throws as the Tigers narrowed the margin to seven and after Pacific forced a turnover, Thompson tallied again.
The 17-6 run pulled the Tigers within five, but San Diego beat the press for a Woodrow lay-up. Wakefield drove the lane, but amid contact, the whistle went against the Tigers on the battle for the rebound.
McKenzie got to the line and hit a pair, but the Toreros got the call on the rebound out of bounds on the other end, and Woodrow restored a double-digit lead with 1:12 to go. Rodriguez' put back pulled the Tigers within eight, and McKenzie connected on a lay-up with 19 seconds left to cut the deficit to seven, but the final margin was decided from the free throw line, as Felicia Wijenberg's last throw settled on the 83-75 score.
In the battle of two teams coming off their first post-season victory, the Toreros (25-8) advance to the third round to face Texas Tech.The Tigers season concludes at 18-14 overall. The 18-win season was the fifth in Pacific history, as the Tigers made their second-ever post-season tournament appearance.