Women's Hoops Open Final Homestand Thursday
STOCKTON, Calif. - The Pacific women's basketball team wraps its 2013 home schedule this weekend, with Big West games against Cal State Fullerton (Thursday, 7 p.m.) and UC Riverside (Saturday, 4 p.m.)
The Tigers (19-6 overall, 9-4 Big West) will go for a program record tying 20th win Thursday night, and hold Senior Day festivities for five seniors prior to Saturday's contest.
"It's good to be back home," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "This is our last home weekend in the Spanos Center, so we need to make the most of it, starting Thursday. Cal State Fullerton really challenged us the first time. It's been a good week of practice, and I know our players can't wait to get back out onto the court."
The Tigers won the first meeting against the Titans on Jan. 26 in Fullerton, 67-55, behind a balanced attack. Gena Johnson and Kendall Rodriguez each posted 13 points, while Kendall Kenyon added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Erica McKenzie added 10 points and five assists. Pacific forced 18 Fullerton turnovers against just 11 miscues. The Tigers held the Titans to 23 percent shooting in the first half and cruised through the second leading by as many as 20 before Fullerton mounted a late charge.
The Tigers are 36-23 all-time against Cal State Fullerton and have won four of the last five against the Titans. Pacific is 21-5 against the Titans in the Spanos Center, including 18-2 in the last 20.
Pacific remains in first in the Big West, although tied with Hawai'i after the Rainbow Wahine pulled off a 74-71 overtime win at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday. One-third of the Tigers' losses this season have required extra time. The Tigers look to close out the regular season with a strong finish in the final five games as Pacific seeks its first-ever Big West regular season title.
The Tigers can mathematically clinch a spot in the Big West tournament with wins this weekend, and have a two-game lead with the tiebreaker to secure a top four spot. Seeds three and four in the Big West tournament would need to win three games for the Big West champions, while seeds five through eight would have to win four. But the Pacific goal is the regular season title and a bye to the semifinals for a two-game path to the conference's automatic bid.
McKenzie has been red-hot from long range, hitting 11-of-16 three-point attempts last week (.688). She tied Pacific's single-game record with eight three-pointers against Cal State Northridge (2/14), joining Selena Ho (eight vs Gonzaga on Nov. 24, 2001). McKenzie connected on 8-of-10 from behind the arc for a season-high 26 points. Against Hawai'i, she added a three-for-six performance from three-point land, and tallied 15 points. He back-to-back lay-ups in overtime erased a four-point deficit with under a minute to go in the extra session.
The senior now has 65 three-pointers made on the year, 10 back of her single-season Pacific record, set last season. Her 242 made treys are third all-time at Pacific and in Big West history. She's eight behind Nancy Dinges' career mark of 250, and 29 shy of Ho's all-time Tiger and conference record of 271.
Johnson added a season-high 22 points Saturday against the Rainbow Wahine, sinking a pair of clutch free throws with eight seconds to go in regulation to tie the game and force overtime.
Following Thursday's contest, the Tigers will face UC Riverside on Saturday at 4 p.m. on Dads And Daughters Night. All fathers who attend the game with their daughter(s) will receive free admission.
Pacific will honor its five seniors, Brianna Johnson, McKenzie, Kendall Rodriguez, Ashley Smith and Ashley Wakefield prior to tip-off.