December 7, 2013

Kenyon Scores 29, But Pacific's Upset Bid Falls Short At No 21 Cal In Overtime

Berkeley, Calif. - Looking for the upset of the No. 21 ranked Golden Bears of Cal, the Pacific women's basketball fell just short of the big road win as the Tigers dropped a 68-66, overtime, decision on Saturday, Dec. 7. The loss for the Tigers moved their record to 4-3 overall while the Bears improved to 6-2.

Taking on a bigger and stronger Cal interior, junior Kendall Kenyon was at her best throughout the day as the third-year start posted a career-best 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting while adding 16 rebounds to claim her fifth double-double of the year. Behind her, junior Madison Parrish added 11 points while senior KiKi Moore finished with 10 points to go along with nine rebounds and a season-tying best seven assists.

Facing a full court press early against the Bears, the Tigers used their speed and passing to get easy buckets and take the early lead. In the first four minutes, the Tigers grabbed 10 points, six coming from junior Kendall Kenyon on run outs as she beat the Bear bigs to the basket and finished with finesse.

With Kenyon leading the way in the paint, the Tigers got off to a hot start from the field, shooting over just under 65% from the floor through the first quarter of action. The hot start was necessary for Pacific as the Bears used their size advantage to take control of the glass on both sides of the floor to offset a sluggish offensive start.

Despite the hot start, the Tigers would cool off from the floor while Brittany Boyd took over the from the point for the Bears, knifing through the middle of the lane for a pair of pull-up jumpers that gave the Bears the lead with just under nine minutes to play. However, freshman Madison Parrish would push the game back to even at 22-22 with just over eight minutes to play by willing a deep three-pointer from the top of the arc. The three-point basket would be the last for the Tigers for over four minutes as the well went dry on both ends of the court. 

Kenyon would break the seal with just over four minutes to play with her fifth bucket of the half, a runner on the baseline that evened the contest at 24-24 heading into the final four minutes of the half. The offensive dry spell coincided with an equally long run for the Bears as the Tigers held Cal to no points for six minutes until finally giving up a jumper to Justine Hartman with :50 seconds to play. The Cal basket would be the final score of the half as the two teams went into the locker rooms knotted at 26-26.

Out of the break, it was the Cal offense the found a gear it did not have in the first half as the Bears scored on each of their first four possessions to break open the game and take an eight point lead. During the run the Bears grabbed a three-point bucket and a three-point play while getting the Tigers' front court into foul trouble in the process.

As the Bears tried to pull away it was Kenyon who kept the Tigers in the game as she came out hot once again, scoring the first eight points of the half for the Tigers to offset the quick Bear start. Even once Kenyon went to the bench the Tigers used the momentum she provided to keep the comeback going. A transition layup by senior Shanice Butler and a three-pointer in the corner from senior Sam Pettinger cut the Bear advantage to 42-40 with 13:35 to play. 

With Butler running the floor and the guards finding their strokes from the perimeter the Tigers held tight with the Bears despite finding themselves in serious foul trouble just nine minutes into the half. Staying aggressive, the Tigers battled all the way back to even at 49-49 with just over 10 minutes to play, once again using their speed to split the Bear defense. 

The Tigers would take their first lead of the half at 8:18, 54-52, when Moore drained her first shot from distance from the left elbow. The 7-0 run by the Tigers gave them a four point lead with just under six minutes to play before the Bears could respond. Pacific pushed its lead to five at 61-56, but a three by Cal's Afure Jemerigbe put the Bears right back into the game. Not to be denied, Kenyon put the Tigers right back on her back despite playing with four fouls as she scored, forced a turnover, and grabbed a defensive rebound to help the Tigers hold their lead at 63-59 with 1:50 to play.

However, despite the lead and the hot play of Kenyon, unforced mistakes down the stretch and a three minute scoreless drought would prove costly as Pacific turned the ball over on three-straight possessions with just over one minute to play in the game. Those turnover helped keep the Bears in the game from which they were able to tie the game at 63-63 after a basket and a pair of free throws with :22 seconds to play.

In overtime, it was Kenyon who broke the seal on the basket once again as the junior was fouled on layup attempt and proceeded to calmly knock down a pair of free-throws. Cal would answer with a pair of freebies of their own with just under 3:30 to play before taking the lead on the next possession on a layup by Reshanda Grey. Pacific got back within one as Kenyon hit one of two at the line moments later but an 0-for-7 finish and 3:16 without a point doomed Pacific's upset hopes. 

Grey finished the game with a team-high 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting while grabbing 11 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. Boyd finished her day with 16 points and nine rebounds while Jemerigbe added 10. Overall, the Tigers outshot the Bears' 39.1%-to-35.3%, but Cal held the advantage at the line, 17-to-11 with 13 more attempts. On the glass, the Bears grabbed 50 rebounds to the Tigers 40 while adding in 16 offensive rebounds, 10 more than the Tigers.

For the game the two teams played to a draw 11 times with the leading changing hands 10 times.

Pacific will look to rebound on Sunday, Dec. 15 at home in the Alex G. Spanos Center when former Big West foe Hawai'i comes to town. The game is scheduled for 1:00 pm and is free to the public with a new, unwrapped, toy for the CHiPs Kids Toy Drive.