Top-Seeded Pacific Women's Basketball Team To Face Cal State Fullerton In Big West Tournament Opener
The top-seeded Pacific women's basketball team will face off with eighth-seeded Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Tournament semifinal game Friday at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Tigers and Titans will tip-off at 12 p.m.
Pacific (24-6) claimed its first-ever Big West regular season crown last weekend when it defeated UC Davis, 59-54. The Tigers have won their last five games and six of their last seven, the only loss coming on the road in overtime to Hawai'i.
Pacific's current winning streak started with an 81-50 rout of the Titans (11-21) in the Spanos Center on Feb. 21. The Tigers opened the game on a 15-0 run and held CSF scoreless for the first 7:31 of the game. The Titans would pull to within 10 points at the 8:46 mark of the first half, but would get no closer the rest of the way.
Junior Gena Johnson led the way with 16 points while First Team All-Big West selection Erica McKenzie added 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Junior Shanice Butler poured in a season-high 15 points in 15 minutes off the bench, shooting 60-percent from the field.
The first meeting between the two teams saw Pacific earn a hard-fought road victory, beating the Titans, 67-55, in Fullerton. The Tigers led by 16 at the break and went up by 20 early in the second half, but CSF pulled to within single digits three times down the stretch. A three-pointer from senior Kendall Rodriguez at the 1:17 mark gave Pacific an 11-point lead and silenced the Titans for good.
Rodriguez, Pacific's other first team all-conference pick, and Johnson were the game's high scorers with 13 points apiece. Freshman Kendall Kenyon finished with a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards.
Cal State Fullerton eked its way into the conference tournament as the eighth and final seed, finishing with a 5-13 mark in league play. The Titans have stepped up their play this week, however, defeating fifth-seeded Long Beach State, 54-48, in its first-round game before soundly beating third-seeded Hawai'i, 66-51, in a quarterfinal showdown.
Mya Olivier is leading the way for the Titans this week, averaging 15 points in their two wins. Chante Miles was the team's leading scorer during the regular season, averaging a little more than 10 points per game.
The winner of Friday's contest moves on to the tournament's championship game Saturday. The title game will be televised live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket and is set to tip off at 12 p.m.