Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific women's basketball team dropped its second home game Saturday as UC Santa Barbara scored the final six points in the game from the free throw line en route to a 52-47 upset at the Alex G. Spanos Center.
Kendall Kenyon hit double-figures in rebounding for the seventh-straight game, finishing with six points and 11 rebounds, while Kendall Rodriguez scored a team-high 10 points.
Gena Johnson added nine points on three-of-six shooting, while Kristina Johnson added seven points on a perfect three-of-three from the field. Ashley Smith added six points on three-of-four from the field with four rebounds.
The Tigers owned a 26-22 advantage in points in the paint, a 10-4 mark in points off turnovers, committed three fewer turnovers than UCSB (13-10) and shot 35 percent to the Gauchos 31 percent. But UC Santa Barbara connected on 16-of-17 from the free throw line, including six in the final minute. The Tigers attempted six free throws in the game, and were on the unhappy side of a 20-12 foul disparity.
Down four with 2:36 remaining, the Tigers posted five-straight points. Rodriguez drilled a three from the corner with 59 seconds to go for a 47-46 lead. Pacific held strong on defense but a whistle bailed out the Gauchos and Sweets Underwood hit the game-winning free throws.
Underwood finished with game-highs of 14 points and 16 rebounds of Santa Barbara.
Pacific falls to 18-5 overall and 8-3 in the Big West. UC Santa Barbara improved to 11-12 overall and 7-4 in the Big West, jumping in the Big West standings on a wild day in the Big West. Saturday was the Big West's day of upheaval, as every underdog based on the standings posted a victory. The Tigers remain a game up on Cal Poly (who lost at 5-6 UC Davis), Hawaii (which was upset by 2-9 UC Irvine), and UCSB, which climbed over Cal State Northridge (who was knocked off by 5-6 Long Beach State).
Pacific stormed out of the gates, scoring the first eight points of the game. Brianna Johnson found Ashley Smith underneath for an easy finish and Gena Johnson nailed a three as Pacific led 18-7 midway through the first.
Kristina Johnson's crossover and finish kept the Tigers up 11, 22-11 with 4:36 remaining before the half. The Gauchos trimmed their deficit to 26-18 before halftime.
Kristina Johnson led Pacific at halftime with seven points, while Gena Johnson added six at the break.
Gena Johnson hit a jumper and Kendall Rodriguez knocked down a three-pointer as the Tigers stretched the lead to 33-19 four minutes into the second half.
UCSB's Nicole Nesbit score four straight points and the Gauchos pulled within nine at 36-27 with 11:41 to go.
The Gauchos reeled off an 18-4 run, pulling within one at 40-39 as the Tigers missed seven straight field goal attempts. UC Santa Barbara took their first lead with 5:18 remaining on an Underwood lay=up and her jumper gave the Gauchos a three-point advantage.
Down 43-40 with 3:00 to go, McKenzie spun and hit a jumper from the paint, but Underwood answered right back for a 46-42 UCSB lead with 2:35 remaining.
Ashley Smith converted inside as the Tigers pulled within two. After a stop on defense, Rodriguez drained her three from the corner to give Pacific its' last lead.
On the ensuing possession, the Tigers' clamped down on defense and had Underwood trapped just outside the paint with the shot clock dwindling. Smith stripped the ball away in the paint, but Underwood was bailed out by a whistle with two seconds left on the shot clock and hit both free throws for a 48-47 advantage with 33 seconds left.
Ashley Wakefield took it to the basket, but her shot rimmed out and the Gauchos hit both free throws for a three-point lead with 18 seconds to go.
Pacific gained the half-court line and called for a timeout with over 17 seconds to go. After drawing up the play, the Tigers inbounded with 14 seconds remaining, and Rodriguez's attempt for a game-tying three was blocked by Tilleman. After time was added to the clock, Nesbit hit a pair of free throws to settle on the final margin.
The Tigers, which had made headway into the polls at the beginning of the week with a 18-3 record, lost back-to-back games this week by a combined eight points. Pacific was out-scored by an average of 16-7 in the final eight minutes of the two contests, including an 8-1 margin at the free throw line (with a foul count of 12 to two).
Pacific saw its offensive production drop in the back-to-back losses on the week. Pacific entered the week with an offensive efficiency of 96.5 points per 100 possessions (a statistic which accounts for various tempos), but converted at 80.6 per 100 possessions on the week.
Pacific entered the week shooting 35 percent on 19 three-point attempts per game, but connected on nine of 44 (21 percent) in the losses to Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.
The Tigers will look to rebound on Thursday at Cal State Northridge (7 p.m.) and at Hawai'i on Saturday (9 p.m. Pacific).