Women's Hoops Visits UCSB Thursday, Cal Poly Saturday
The Pacific women's basketball team embarks on its first conference road trip of the season as the Tigers visit UC Santa Barbara (Thursday, 7 p.m.) and Cal Poly (Saturday, 4 p.m.).
The Tigers are 11-2 overall after winning their Big West opener over UC Davis on Saturday. Pacific has won four in a row and looks for a third-straight win in Santa Barbara.
Pacific is averaging 82.5 points per game during the current four-game win streak. The Tigers have scored at least 75 points in all four games, including a 102-60 blowout of CSU Bakersfield. Senior Kendall Rodriguez is averaging 18.5 points per game while shooting .472 percent in the stretch. Junior Gena Johnson has posted seven straight games scoring in double-figures, averaging 13.9 points per game in that span, and chipping in 5.3 assists per game in the last four contests. Senior Erica McKenzie has 9.5 points and 4.1 assists per game during the run.
Sophomore Kendall Kenyon has a 11.5 scoring average to go with 10.5 rebounds per game during the win streak. Kenyon tallied 18 points against UC Davis Saturday, connecting on 9-of-11 field goals, one of the top single-game shooting marks in program history among players with at least 10 attempts.
The Tigers and Gauchos tip-off at 7 p.m. Thursday at the UCSB Events Center.
"I have a ton of respect of the UCSB program," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "We've been going against their players for the last three years -- and nine games in those three years. That's a lot of games between two teams, so I think each side has a handle on who the other team really is. It's always been a battle when Pacific and Santa Barbara get together, and it should be again with our two experienced teams going head-to-head yet again."
The Tigers have met UC Santa Barbara in two regular season games and the Big West tournament in each of the last three seasons. Pacific ended UCSB's run on their home floor in the Big West Tournament Quarterfinals in 2010, upsetting the regular season co-champion Gauchos. Pacific then won both meetings in the regular season last year, before UCSB turned the tables and knocked off Pacific in the Big West semis in Anaheim.
UC Santa Barbara enters Thursday's contest at 5-9 overall and 1-1 in the Big West after a win over UC Irvine and a loss to Long Beach State last weekend. Pacific and UCSB share one common opponent thus far, as the Gauchos lost 49-39 to Saint Mary's, a squad the Tigers defeated 75-72.
The Gauchos are led by senior Sweets Underwood, who averages 11.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Junior Nicole Nesbit adds 9.8 points and 2.7 assists per contest, while junior Melissa Zornig chips in 7.4 points and 1.9 assists per game.
In six career games against the Gauchos, Pacific junior Gena Johnson is averaging 12 points per game while shooting 48 percent. Senior Erica McKenzie has an 11.6 scoring average in nine career games against UCSB.
"I feel a little repetitive saying it, but it's about getting better game-by-game," Roberts continued. "I want to see our best effort and our best performance of the season in our next game. I like how far we've come, and I'm excited to see how this group answers that challenge to be better in their next game than they've been before."
Following the contest at UCSB, Pacific will visit Cal Poly for a Saturday' meeting at Mott Gym at 4 p.m. Cal Poly enters their Thursday contest against UC Davis at 7-6 on the season, 1-1 in the Big West. The Mustangs also split last weekend, beating UC Irvine and falling to Long Beach State. Cal Poly is 2-2 against common opponents with Pacific topping Nevada and CSU Bakersfield while falling to USF and Saint Mary's. The Tigers defeated all four.
The Mustangs are led by Ariana Elegado's 12.9 points and 3.3 assists per game, while Brittany Woodard adds 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest. Kayla Griffin (9.2), Jonae Ervin (.83) and Molly Schlemer (8.3) give Cal Poly five players averaging over eight points per game.