Tigers Tripped Up At Fresno State, 61-52

Tigers Tripped Up At Fresno State, 61-52

Fresno, Calif. –  Ashley Wakefield's missed her third-straight double-double by one rebound, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Kendall Rodriguez collected 13 boards and nine points, but the Pacific women's basketball team fell at Fresno State Saturday afternoon at the Save Mart Center, 61-52.

The Tigers couldn't overcome a slow shooting start, and after whittling a 10-point deficit to just two, saw the Bulldogs pull away from the free throw line to improve to 9-3 on the season.  Fresno State, the defending WAC champion working off four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, had three in double-figures and scored 18 points from the free throw line.

Pacific (4-5) held the Bulldogs, who entered the game averaging 9.8 made three-pointers per game, fourth in the NCAA, to just 1-of-13 from behind the three-point line.

The Tigers shot 45 percent in the second half, hitting four three-pointers, but the Bulldogs hit 13 of 18 second0-half free throw attempts to find off Pacific.

Wakefield, the reigning Big West player of the Week, grabbed three offensive boards and the junior wing added three assists as she fell just short of a third-straight double-double. Sophomore guard Gena Johnson added 12 points and a pair of assists, while senior center Christina Thompson chipped in seven points and seven rebounds. Rodriguez hit three of five three-point attempts to finish with nine points, one shy of her fourth double-double of the season. Freshman guard Claire Conricode added four points and two rebounds, as well as a block and a steal in a season-high 13 minutes.

Ki-Ki Moore led the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Rosie Moult added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Madison Parrish chipped in 13 points and six rebounds for Fresno State.

The first half was a defensive battle, as the two teams running similar offenses had each other well scouted. The Bulldogs held the Tigers to 2-of-12 from the floor in the first 12 minutes to open up a 20-6 lead. But Pacific answered with an 8-2 run as Gena Johnson posted a bucket and a pair of free throws, and Claire Conricode added a lay-up inside. The Tigers cut the margin to 24-18, on a pair of free throws from Wakefield. But the Bulldogs scored the final four points of the half from the free throw line for a 28-18 lead at intermission.

Wakefield, with eight, and Johnson, with six, led the Tigers offensively, combining for 14 of the Tigers' 18 points. The Tigers shot 24 percent (six-of-25), while Fresno State connected at a 34 percent clip (11-of-32).  Pacific won the rebounding battle, 23-20 in the first half, but 12 Tigers' turnovers led to nine points for Fresno State.

Pacific held Fresno State, which entered the game fourth in the NCAA with 9.8 three-pointers made per game, to just one of nine from behind the arc in the first half.

In the second half, the Tigers opened with an 8-2 run as Rodriguez and McKenzie each hit a pair of threes and the Tigers forced four early turnovers to cut the gap to 30-26 with 15:56 to go.  Thompson finished inside as Pacific pulled within two, but the Bulldogs answered with a 10-0 run of their own.

After a drive to the hoop by Wakefield, and a fast-break lay-up from Conricode, the Tigers cut the deficit back to eight points at 40-32 with 11:34 to go.  

Fresno State built their lead to as many as 13, but the Tigers refused to go away as Rodriguez added a pair of three pointers and Wakefield took it to the rack to pull Pacific within seven at 53-46, but Rosie Moult scored on the backdoor drive with an 'and-one.'

The Bulldogs forced a turnover and scored a pair from the free throw line to restore a 13-point margin, and Fresno State closed the game out from the free throw line.

Pacific controlled the glass, with a 46-37 rebounding advantage, but Fresno State committed just four first-half turnovers and 14 total to the Tigers' 24 miscues.

The Tigers will be back in action on Monday, at 7 p.m. against Eastern Washington as they return to the Alex G. Spanos Center to host the Eagles. Pacific will complete it's stretch of three games in five days with a Wednesday matinee against Air Force at 2 p.m.