Women's Hoops Escapes Seattle With Season-Opening Win

Women's Hoops Escapes Seattle With Season-Opening Win

Seattle -The Pacific women's basketball team held on a for a 71-70 win at Seattle Friday in the season opener at the Connolly Center. Kendall Kenyon led four Tigers in double-figure scoring with 14 points. Kenyon added nine rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots.

Junior guard Gena Johnson scored 11 points while grabbing nine rebounds to tie her career-high. She also handed out six assists. Sophomore guard Claire Conricode - from nearby Bothel, Wash. - tallied a career-high 10 points while junior forward Shanice Butler added 10 points in her Pacific debut.

Pacific held a 15-point second half lead and never relinquished it. But the Redhawks slowly whittled away the advantage. Down four with in the final seconds, SU's Ashley Ward drew a foul while shoveling a three-point attempt towards the rim. After hitting the first two, her attempt to intentionally miss went into the basket to make it a one-point Tiger lead with 0.6 seconds remaining. The Tigers successfully inbounded to run out the clock.

"I thought we had a comfortable-enough lead," Lynne Roberts said. "And it turned out we did, but only because we didn't get rattled. That's the nice thing about having a veteran group: I didn't sense at timeouts that there was any panic what so ever. Seattle's a very good team, we knew that coming in. We knew they were going to fight, and they never stopped. That's not how you ideally close out a game, but we were tough when we had to be. It was good win, we hung in there, we made free throws when we had to, and now it's on to the next one."

The Tigers and Redhawks traded the lead four times in the early going, with Seattle leading 15-14 with eight minutes to go in the first half. From there, Pacific embarked on a 18-3 run over the next 3:52 to take the lead for good. Kenyon and Conricode sparked the run defensively, as Conricode came up with a pair of steals and Kenyon rejected a pair of shots in the span. Kendall Rodriguez drained three pointer for a 10-point lead and Kenyon caped the run with a jumper inside.

From there, Pacific took a 10-point lead into the half. The Tigers led 36-26 at intermission after forcing 18 Seattle turnovers.

In the second half, the Tigers continued to attack the gaps and get to the basket to stretch the margin to 15, at 57-42 with 10:29 remaining. But Seattle answer by getting to the free throw line routinely, as Ward hit 16-of-19 from the charity stripe for the game. Ward's three pointer cut the margin to single digits at 63-54, with 5:04 to go.

The Tigers kept the Redhawks at bay and never let them get within a one-possession game with the ball. Johnson drained a pair of threes to restore a seven-point advantage with a minute remaining, and Erica McKenzie's free throw with eight seconds left made it a four-point game.  

The Tigers shot 41 percent for the game (23-of-26), while Seattle connected at 39.6 percent (21-of-53). The Tigers held a 41-34 advantage on the boards and forced 27 Seattle turnovers.

Ward led the Redhawks with 21 points, while Kacie Sowell added 19 points and 11 rebounds for Seattle.

Pacific will visit Eastern Washington (0-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m.