Pacific Women Roll Over Santa Clara, 72-45
With a smothering defensive effort and a balanced attack, the Pacific women's basketball team improved to 4-0 with a 72-45 win over Santa Clara Tuesday night at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Kendall Kenyon paced Pacific with 13 points.
Of 13 players in action, 12 of the Tigers scored, while seven tallied six points or more. Kenyon connected on six-of-nine from the field to finish with a game-high 14, her fourth-straight game scoring in double-figures. Gena Johnson added 10 points with five rebounds, while Ashley Wakefield chipped in nine. Kendall Rodriguez, Erica McKenzie, Ashley Smith, and Claire Conricode each tallied six points. Rodriguez recorded four steals while McKenzie handed out seven assists.
"One of the strengths of this team is that we are balanced," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "We're not just relying on one person to carry us. And you can see that in our scoring tonight. Everyone got touches and everyone got shots, and that's tough to defend."
The Tigers tallied 32 points in the paint, forced 29 turnovers and recorded 19 steals. Pacific held Santa Clara to 30.6 percent shooting (15-of-49). Santa Clara tallied just 14 points inside for the game.
"I thought our defense was really good," Roberts added. "Other than the last three minutes of the first half, I thought we really controlled the game defensively. We need to work on some things offensively -- we had too many turnovers, but we had 19 steals and when you push like we did, mistakes will happen. It's a good win against a good team. I have a lot of respect for Santa Clara."
Pacific jumped out to a 17-2 leader over the first nine minutes as the Tigers forced 10 turnovers and turned them into nine points. The Tigers held Santa Clara to one field goal on their first nine attempts. The Tigers stretched the lead to 18 at 28-10 on a three-pointer by Brianna Johnson with 4:37 to go in the first.
But Santa Clara answered with an 11-0 run to pull within seven, at 29-22. Gena Johnson responded with a floater to give Pacific a 31-22 lead at halftime.
Out of intermission, the Tigers stormed out of the gate and reasserted themselves. Pacific hit on the team's first six shots of the half and the 13-2 run restored a 17-point margin. A pair of free throws from Johnson gave Pacific a 20-point lead at 49-29, and the Tigers steadily pulled away. A pair of free throws from Smith gave the Tigers their largest lead of the season at 33, 70-37, and Pacific coasted home.
In four games thus far, Pacific has yet to trail in the second half and has a second-half lead for all but 23 seconds.
The Tigers are off to a 4-0 start for the third time, and first since 1986-87. Pacific will look to hit 5-0 for the first time since the 1980-81 campaign on Friday, against Fordham (3-0), at 7 p.m.