Tigers Ride Dominant Defense To Win Over UCSB
The Pacific women's basketball team held visiting UC Santa Barbara scoreless for more than 11 minutes en route to a 60-40 victory Thursday, Mar. 1, in a Big West counter at the Alex G. Spanos Center.
Sophomore guard Gena Johnson led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Junior guard Erica McKenzie added 12 points on four three-pointers. Freshman Kendall Kenyon grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
The 40 points were the fewest allowed by the Tigers in the Lynne Roberts era. The victory also gave Pacific the series sweep of UCSB, marking the first time since 1987 that the Tigers have taken both games from the Gauchos in one season. UC Santa Barbara shot just 33.3-percent for the game as Pacific held its opposition to its second-lowest field goal percentage of the season.
Pacific (16-11, 9-6 Big West) led 36-25 after the first half and extended its lead to 13, 40-27, at the 16:28 mark on a pair of free throws from Gena Johnson. UC Santa Barbara (13-15, 7-8 BWC) would cut the Tigers' lead to nine, 40-31, one minute later, but that would be the closest the Gauchos would get.
Pacific's lead would balloon to as much as 27 before settling for the 20-point win. The Tigers held UCSB to just 25-percent shooting in the second stanza, including a stretch of 12 consecutive misses.
The game was a back-and-forth affair for the majority of the first half, with neither team leading by more than three for the first 13 minutes. With the Gauchos leading 8-7 at the 16:58 mark, Pacific went on a 6-2 run to go up 13-10 with 14:59 left in the first. The visitors did not make a field goal for more than four minutes, but the Tigers failed to take advantage of their strong defense and found the game tied, 15-15, at the 12:00 mark.
UC Santa Barbara regained the lead on a jumper from Nicole Nesbit with 9:18 remaining but it was short-lived as Pacific scored four straight points to regain the lead, 21-19, at the 8:47 mark. After a Gaucho lay-up, the Tigers ripped off six straight points to take their largest lead of the game, 27-21, with 5:54 left. The visitors cut the deficit back to two, 27-25, at the 4:11 mark, but Pacific remained hot, scoring the last nine points of the half to take a 36-25 lead into intermission.
The Tigers committed just six turnovers on the day, marking the first time this season Pacific has committed less than 10 turnovers. The record surpasses the previous season low of 11.
UCSB was led by Emilie Johnson's 11 points.
Pacific will close out its regular season Saturday, Mar. 3, when it hosts Cal Poly at 4 p.m. The Tigers will bid farewell to senior forward Christina Thompson, who will be playing her final game in the Alex G. Spanos Center.