March 1, 2014

Kenyon Hits 1000, Moore Scores 33, But Tigers Nipped By #20 Gonzaga

Spokane, Wash. - KiKi Moore tied a career-high with 33 points and the Tigers erased a 17-point deficit, but No. 20 Gonzaga hung on for a 81-77 win Saturday in Spokane. Kendall Kenyon turned in a double-double and hit the 1,000 point mark in her career.

Hailie Eackles added 20 points, but Pacific's six-game win streak and six-game road win streak came to an end. The Tigers finish third in the WCC regular season at 12-6 and fall to 17-11 overall. Pacific's six straight wins were a program best and was the ninth-longest streak in the country. Gonzaga improves their 10th best in NCAA home court win streak to 16.

Gonzaga - ranked No. 20 in the Coaches Poll and 22 in the AP Top 25 - improve to 26-4 and finish 16-2 in WCC play. Sunny Greinacher led the Bulldogs with 24 points while Haiden Palmer added 17.

The Tigers lost the rebounding battle, 50-34, and surrendered 24 offensive rebounds and 20 second-chance points.

Moore picked off a pass and scored on the break for the first bucket of the game, but Haiden Palmer answered with a three for a 5-2 Gonzaga lead. Gonzaga surged ahead with a 15-3 run over 6:10 to build a 27-10 advantage.

Parrish hit a deep three and added a driving lay-in while Moore went coast-to-coast as the Tigers cut the margin to nine, 29-20, with 5:50 before the half.

After a steal from Eackles, Parrish hit another deep three to trim the gap to seven and Moore took a rebound coast-to-coast to bring Pacific within five, at 33-28 with 3:39 before the half.

Moore and Eackles added three-pointers as Pacific pulled within two, but Gonzaga tallied the last three points of the half to take a 39-34 lead into the break. Moore led Pacific with 13 points in the first half, while Parrish added 10 with four assists. The two teams posted similar field goal percentages (Gonzaga 42%, Pacific 38%), but the Bulldogs attempted 12 more shots thanks to a 12-4 advantage in offensive rebounds.

Sunny Greinacher opened the second half with a bank shot for Gonzaga, but after a pair of Moore free throws, Eackles knocked down a three from the top of the key. Eackles drive pulled Pacific within two, and Moore's finish tied the score at 43-43 and Eackles' drive gave the Tigers their first lead since 2-0 and capped a 9-0 run.

Each team traded buckets, with Greinacher's free throws tying the game at 51-51. Lindsay Sherbert gave Gonzaga a four-point lead with 9:47 to play at 57-53. Kenyon answered with a pair of free throws, but Sherbert added back-to-back buckets for a six-point Gonzaga lead.

Moore finished amid traffic, but Shaniqua Nilles posted a put-back on the other end for a 64-57 lead with 6:54 to play. Moore added both ends of an one-and-one to cut the margin to four.

But Gonzaga added four-straight free throw as the Tigers where whistled at both ends of the floor. Sherbert's three-pointer with 3:28 to go restored a nine-point Gonzaga lead and the Tigers couldn't recover.

Kenyon scored on a put-back for her 1,000th career point, and added a lay-up on the next possession as the Tigers trailed by seven.

Moore finished and-one with 42 seconds left, but Gonzaga hit a pair of free throws to maintain a seven-point advantage. Moore stole the inbounds and was fouled on the lay-up. Her free throws pulled Pacific to within five, with 16 seconds left.

But Greinacher hit both free throws to ice the game.  Moore drove for a basket to tie her career-best, set against Cal in the NCAA Tournament last season. Moore is averaging 20.3 points per game in her last five against ranked opponents.

Gonzaga will enter the WCC Tournament as the top seed, with BYU seeded second. The Tigers will be the third seed and face sixth seeded Portland. Game times will be announced Sunday.