Pacific Women's Basketball Visits UC Riverside, Fullerton
Stockton, Calif - The Pacific women's basketball team visits UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton for a Big West road trip this week as the Tigers try to tighten their grip on the top spot in the conference.
The Tigers will take on UC Riverside on Thursday at 7 p.m. before facing Cal State Northridge Saturday at 3 p.m.
With a 14-3 overall record, the Tigers have been noticed: Pacific picked up a vote in the ESPN Coaches Poll this week, one of 39 teams in the country to appear on the coaches' ballots.
It is believed to be the first time Pacific has garnered a vote in the polls. Pacific has never been ranked in the Coaches' Top 25, nor the AP Top 25 (or Top 20 where pre-dates the Top 25). The Tigers' most logical appearance in the also receiving votes column would have been in January of 1981, when Pacific defeated No. 18 Clemson on January 3 to move to 9-0 on the season. However, records of those also receiving votes have not been kept by the Associated Press.
Following a 60-51 win over Cal State Northridge Saturday, Pacific moved into a first-place tie with Cal Poly atop the Big West standings at 4-1.
Kendall Kenyon led the way with a dominant performance inside the paint. The sophomore center grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds and blocked a program-record eight shots. The 22 rebounds were the most by the Tigers since 1984. She finished with 19 points and was two blocks shy of Pacific's second-ever triple double. Kenyon's efforts earned her Big West Player of the Week honors.
Another event against Cal State Northridge made for a historical afternoon at the Alex G. Spanos Center, as Erica McKenzie's three-pointer to open the scoring gave her 1,000 points for her career. She became the 18th member of Pacific's 1,000 point club, finishing with eight points for a career mark of 1,005 and counting.
UC Riverside enters the week at 9-7 overall and 2-3 in Big West play. The Highlanders and 1-2 against common opponents with Pacific. UCR took a 12-point win over Cal State Bakersfield and has Big West losses to Northridge (49-65) and Hawai'i (50-65). The Tigers are 3-0 vs that group, with a 102-60 win over CSU Bakersfield, a 60-51 win over Northridge and a 71-61 win over Hawai'i.
The Highlanders are led by Tre'Shonti Nottingham, who leads the Big West with 19.7 points per game. Nottingham also leads the Highlanders with 3.8 assists per game, while Natasha Hadley paces Riverside with 6.4 rebounds per contest.
Pacific is 12-13 all-time against the Highlanders and have won three of the last four. Pacific swept the season series last season, posting an 80-59 win in Riverside and a 63-46 win at the Spanos Center.
On Saturday, the Tigers head to Titan Gym in Fullerton, where the 7-10 Titans await. Fullerton enters a Thursday match-up against UC Davis at 3-2 in BWC play. Pacific and Fullerton have six common opponents, with the Tigers holding a 6-0 mark to the Titans' 3-3 record. Pacific owns wins over Eastern Washington (64-51), Nevada (72-63), San Jose State (74-60) and USF (75-59), plus the aforementioned wins over Hawai'i and Northridge. The Titans fell to EWU (45-50), Nevada (72-76) and Northridge (55-56), while owning wins over SJSU (60-59), USF (60-55) and Hawai'i (83-74).
Chante Miles leads Fullerton in scoring at a 12.9 per game clip and hands out 3.7 assists per contest. Kathleen Iwuoha is the Titans' top rebounder at 8.1 per game. Fullerton leads the Big West in offensive rebounds (18.8) while Pacific ranks second (15.8). The Titans and Tigers also rank 1-2 respectively in offensive rebound percentage. The Tigers convert a higher percentage of shots, as the Titans' advantage on the offensive glass is .407 to .392 when turned into a percentage of offensive rebound opportunities.
Following the weekend in southern California, the Tigers will return to the Spanos Center for a four-game home stand.