|Women’s Basketball Sets All-Time Wins Mark|
The Pacific women’s basketball team closed out its Big West Conference home schedule with two wins over the weekend, toppling CSU Fullerton and UC Riverside to improve to 21-6 overall.
This marks the first time in program history that the team has won 21 games and just the third time that Pacific has reached the 20-win mark.
The Tigers looked ready and roaring for the playoffs on Thursday, making a statement with a dominant 81-50 win over Fullerton at the Spanos Center.
Gena Johnson ‘14 led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points. Erica McKenzie ‘13 and Shanice Butler ‘14 (who totalled a career high) each chipped in with 15 points. Kendall Rodriguez ‘13 tallied six rebounds.
Pacific dominated Fullerton in every aspect, not allowing the Titans on the scoreboard until the 12:29 mark in the first half while building a 15-0 lead. Butler rolled in a layup to push the lead to 21-8 with 9:09 left in the half and then collected another layup as time expired to give Pacific a 42-23 halftime lead.
The Titans started the second half on a 8-2 run before Pacific responded with a 8-0 run, capped off by another layup by Butler. Rodriguez and McKenzie each made back-to-back three point shots to increase the lead to 67-41 with 7:14 to play. Two free throws by Johnson pushed the lead to 75-45 with 3:37 to play, and the Tigers cruised to their twentieth win from there.
In the last Big West women’s basketball game at the Spanos Center (Pacific is moving to the West Coast Conference next season), the Tigers walked off the court winners, taking a 74-66 victory over Riverside on senior day at the Spanos Center.
McKenzie and Rodriguez dominated in the home finale, with the former leading Pacific with 15 points and the latter totalling team-highs in rebounds (10) and assists (4). Ashley Wakefield ‘13 scored 14 points as well.
Two three pointers from Rodriguez gave Pacific an early 9-3 edge, but the Highlanders closed to tie the game up 11-11 at the 14:01 mark. From there, the Tigers went on a 10-0 run capped off by a layup from Butler. A three-pointer from McKenzie brought the lead back to ten at 34-24 with 3:49 left in the first half. Three quick points by Riverside made Pacific’s halftime lead 37-31.
The two teams traded baskets before McKenzie’s three-pointer pushed the lead to 50-39 at the 13:07 mark. From there, the game stayed close, with both teams trading mini-runs until late in the half. Pacific made its free throws, making history with the program’s twenty-first win on the year.
Seniors Brianna Johnson, McKenzie, Rodriguez, Ashley Smith, and Wakefield were honored at center court during the last game in front of their home fans of their collegiate careers.
Currently, the Tigers stand atop the Big West standings. However, Pacific will have to win out to secure the best chance at staving off Cal Poly (second place) and Hawai’i (third).
Pacific closes out the 2012-13 regular season with a three-game road trip, beginning Thursday, Feb. 28 at Long Beach State (7 p.m.). Following a Mar. 2 battle at UC Irvine (1 p.m.) and the season finale at UC Davis on Mar. 9 (5 p.m.), the Tigers will head to Anaheim, Calif. for the 2013 Big West Tournament, set for Mar. 12-16.