Tigers Move On In WNIT With Big Second Half At UW, 85-78

Tigers Move On In WNIT With Big Second Half At UW, 85-78

SEATTLE - A 46-17 stretch over 17 minutes propelled Pacific past Washington, 85-78 in the WNIT Second Round Sunday. Kendall Rodriguez scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Kendall Kenyon also added a double-double and Erica McKenzie hit six threes.

Pacific (27-7) shot 62 percent in the second half (18-of-29) and erased a 16-point deficit. Down by as many as 16 before halftime, the Tigers trimmed the gap to eight at halftime and opened the second half with a 30-13 run.

McKenzie finished with 18 points, hitting six of 10 shots, all behind the three-point line. Kenyon finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the year. Rodriguez' double-double was the 14th of her career and fourth this season.

"I was proud of our second half, it was a tremendous second half," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "Kendall Rodriguez got hot in the second half, and Erica McKenzie was hot all game from three. It was a great win for our program. Another first for us and we want to keep it going."

The Tigers handed out 20 assists on 31 field goals, including five by Kristina Johnson and four-each by Ashley Wakefield and McKenzie.

Pacific opened up to a 13-2 lead as Rodriguez hit a pair of threes, Wakefield added a trey and a drive to the hoop. Washington answered with back-to-back three-pointers and a 13-2 run to knot the game at 15-15.

Mathilde Gilling finished with an and-one for the Huskies to 22-17 advantage with 11:44 to go in the first half. The Huskies' long arms and zone defense slowed the Pacific offense, as Washington extended the lead to 33-20.

Shanice Butler scored inside and McKenzie added a three-pointer to bring Pacific within 12.  Wakefield drove the baseline for another two points, but Aminah Williams tallied on the fast-break for UW.

McKenzie hit a triple, and after a block by Kenyon, McKenzie's deep three brought Pacific within eight, 45-37, at the half.

The Tigers shot 41 percent (13-of-32) in the first half, but Washington connected at a 51 percent clip (18-of-35). UW held a 20-12 advantage in points in the paint in the first half.

Kenyon finished inside and Gena Johnson took it to the rack as Pacific pulled within six, 47-41, early in the second half. Rodriguez hit a three from the corner, but Mercedes Wetmore's jumper restored a five-point lead for Washington. After a defensive stop and a jumper from Kenyon, the Tigers climbed back to within one at 49-48 with 16:27 to play.

Rodriguez' turnaround jumper capped a 25-8 run to give Pacific the lead, 50-49. After a bucket inside by UW, Rodriguez canned a three-pointer for a 53-51 advantageKi, but Williams' put-back tied the game.

Johnson took it to the rack for the lead and after a stop on defense, and after a pair of Rodriguez free throws and a Shanice butler inside finish, McKenzie struck from deep to put Pacific up nine, 64-55, with 9:33 remaining.

Sam Pettinger drove the baseline and after a stop, McKenzie connected from deep again for a 78-62 lead. UW answered with a three-pointer by Jazmine Davis.

McKenzie and Davis traded threes again. After Washington forced a turnover while the Tigers' bench were calling for timeout, a technical foul was issued, tightening the ballgame to 81-75 with 1:05 remaining.

Kenyon blocked Kingma's lay-up attempt and Rodriguez grabbed the rebound and hit a pair of free throws for a six-point lead.

Washington's Talia Walton hit one of two free throws with 8.6 seconds to go, but Rodriguez converted from the stripe to close out the win.

Kenyon's block, her third of the game, gave her a school-record 56 rejections this season.

Pacific beat a Pac-12 Conference team in the WNIT for the second-straight season. Washington (21-12) was led 21 points from Kristi Kingma, while Talia Walton added 15 and Aminah Williams chipped in 14.

The Tigers are off to the WNIT Third Round for the first time in school history, and will face the winner of Utah (another Pac-12 school) and San Diego (a future conference opponent in the WCC), which takes place Monday night.