Women's Hoops Advances To WCC Semis, 84-72, Over Portland

WCC Basketball Championship Tournament Central

Las Vegas, Nev. - All five starters scored in double-figures, led by KiKi Moore's 28 as the Pacific women's basketball team advanced to the WCC semifinals with a 84-72 win over Portland Friday.

Sam Pettinger connected on five-for-five from the field for 13 points, while Madison Parrish finished with 14 points and four assists, while Hailie Eackles added 12 points and a career-high seven rebounds. Kendall Kenyon finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Pacific (18-11) will face the winner of 2-seed BYU and 10-seed Pepperdine in the semifinals on Monday at 2:00 p.m. PT (approx.).

The Tigers shot 42 percent for the game, compared to 44 percent for Portland, but Pacific drove to the rim all-game long, getting to the free throw line 33 times, and hitting 28 for a season-best 84.8 percent.

Pettinger opened the game with a three-pointer on the Tigers first possession. After a pair of free throws by Kenyon, Eackles drained a three from the wing while being fouled. Kenyon added another pair of free throws as Pacific began with a 10-0 run.

Portland posted back-to-back inside buckets before Eackles scored in transition. Cassandra Thompson answered with a three for the Pilots, but  Unique Coleman intercepted a pass and found Erin Butler underneath for a quick basket for as the Tigers stretched the lead to 16-7.

A Kari Luttinen three-pointer cut the Tigers lead to four, but Butler knocked down a three with the shot clock dwindling. Madison Parrish finished an and-one lay-up, as Pacific led 22-14 with 12:25 to go in the first.

Cassandra Brown and Eackles traded three-pointers, and Pettinger tallied a fast-break lay-up off for a 27-19 advantage. Moore gave Pacific its largest lead at 33-21 with 5:07 remaining in the first with a drive to the basket.

Back-to-back Portland three-pointers trimmed the margin to six, but Moore answered with a drive at the other end. Moore tallied again on a drive and Kenyon's free throws gave the Tigers a 44-33 lead at halftime.

The Tigers shot 45 percent in the first half, and held Portland to 40 percent shooting. Pacific committed just three turnovers in the first half, while forcing seven Portland miscues.

Pettinger drove through the lane an finished on back-to-back possessions, but Luttinen's three kept the Pilots down just seven. Luttinen and Jasmine Wooten added lay-ups for Portland, which trimmed the Pacific lead to five, at 50-45 with 14:56 to go.

Parrish posted the and-one lay-up, restoring a 10-point lead, but Portland chipped away from the free throw line, whittling the margin back down to five.

Moore went coast-to-coast, and Pettinger finished in the lane with a floater. Parrish provided a 10-point lead with a three-pointer. Parrish's drive gave Pacific their largest lead at 14, but Portland answered at the other end, and pulled within nine before Moore found Kenyon for an easy transition bucket.

Luttinen answered, but Moore's steal and run-out put the Tigers up a dozen with three minutes to play. Amy Pupa added a three for Portland, and scored on a baseline jumper to cut the gap to nine with 1:38 remaining.

But Parrish closed it out from the free throw line and the Tigers ran out the clock for a win in their first WCC tournament appearance.

The Tigers will have two days off to prepare for the semifinals appearance.