Northridge Snaps Pacific’s Home Women’s Hoops Win Streak

Northridge Snaps Pacific’s Home Women’s Hoops Win Streak

Stockton, Calif. – After holding the Matadors to just 20 points in the first half, Pacific saw Cal State Northridge answer with 52 second-half points to halt the Tigers' six-game home win streak and take a 72-68 Big West win Saturday at the Alex G. Spanos Center.  Junior guard Erica McKenzie led the Tigers with a season-high 25 points.

Pacific (9-7, 3-2 Big West) posted its' best defensive first-half, 20 points on 27 percent shooting (6-of-22), but the Tigers allowed the most points in any second half this season as the Matadors shot 50 percent (14-of-28) and hit 23 of 28 second-half free throw attempts.

Freshman center Kendall Kenyon posted her third double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with four blocked shots. Junior forward Kendall Rodriguez and sophomore guard Gena Johnson each added 12 points, as Rodriguez hit eight-for-eight from the free throw line. Johnson tied her career-high with nine rebounds. Junior guard Ashley Wakefield tallied five steals and nine rebounds.

McKenzie finished 10-for-18 from the field, and 5-of-10 from three-point range for her second 20+ point game of the year and fifth of her career. Starting the last three games, Kenyon has posted a pair of double-doubles while averaging 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Leading 33-20 at halftime, the Tigers missed 15 of their first 16 shots in the second half, as Northridge used a 19-2 run to tie the game at 35-35 with 14:32 to go on a lay-up by Hallie White, and then take a 39-35 lead on a lay-in by Violet Alama.

Pacific battled back from a nine-point deficit, as Kenyon and Rodriguez each hit a pair of free throws, McKenzie posted a three-pointer, and following a jumper by Ashley Wakefield, another pair of throws by Rodriguez to cut the gap to 60-57 with 3:16 remaining.

Northridge tallied four straight points, but Johnson's drive cut the gap to five, and McKenzie took it to the hoop to pull within three with 1:03 left in the game.

Down four with 37 seconds to go, McKenzie drew contact at the three-point line, but was called for traveling. After a pair of free throws by the Matadors, Gena Johnson scored on a driving lay-up and the Tigers defense appeared to get the five-second call on the inbounds. But the call was overturned, as Cal State Northridge was awarded the timeout with 13 seconds left. Janae Sharpe hit a pair of free throws for a six-point edge, and after McKenzie cut the gap to three again with another three-pointer with seven seconds to go, Ashlee Guay hit one from the stripe to make it a two possession game with five ticks left. McKenzie tried to draw contact from behind the arc, but no whistle came and the buzzer sounded.

The Tigers finished 11-of-40 from the field in the second half (27.5 percent), including two-of-15 from three-point range.

Pacific was held to its' lowest point total in seven games, having won five of six while averaging 80.7 points per game.

The Matadors improve to 9-8 overall, 4-2 in the Big West behind 16 points from Guya, 14 from Jianni Jackson, and 12 from White.  The Tigers owned a 46-32 margin in rebounding, and forced 21 turnovers, but Pacific's 25 turnovers were the most since No. 4 UConn forced 26 Tiger miscues.

The Tigers will step out-of-conference on Tuesday, with a 5 p.m. matchup with Seattle at home, as part of a double-header with the Pacific men's team.