Moraga, Calif. - Kendall Rodriguez exploded for 19 second-half points as the Pacific women's basketball team rallied for a road win at Saint Mary's, 75-72. The Tigers erased an eight-point deficit behind a season-high 13 three-pointers.
Brianna Johnson added a career-high 10 points while Ashley Wakefield tallied 16 and Gena Johnson 10 points. Kendall Kenyon grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. All 19 of Rodriguez's points came in the second half, as she moved within nine points of 1000 in her career.
Down by eight with 9:05 remaining, Rodriguez hit three-consecutive threes for a 9-0 run to give the Tigers the lead. Pacific hit five consecutive shots, including five treys from Rodriguez in a span of five minutes. But the Gaels answered back with a 9-2 run to make it a one-possession game. Pacific held strong on defense and Rodriguez sunk a pair of clutch free throws as the Tigers improved to 8-2 on the season.
Saint Mary's falls to 7-4. The Gaels were led by Jackie Nared's 23 points and 11 rebounds while Danielle Maudlin added 13 points.
The Tigers hit six of their first eight three-point attempts to open the game. Erica McKenzie and Brianna Johnson each hit threes and Gena Johnson added a lay-up as the Tigers took an early 8-5 lead. After a jumper from Danielle Maudlin pulled Saint Mary's within one, Brianna Johnson hit a pair of treys for a 14-11 Pacific advantage.
Claire Conricode and SMC's Jackie Nared traded threes before Gena Johnson scored in traffic.
After Conricode struck again from long range, Saint Mary's reeled off seven straight points to take a 26-22 lead with 7:49 left in the half.
Ashley Wakefield converted a pair of buckets inside, but the Gaels converted at the free throw line to maintain a five-point margin.
McKenzie found Ashley Smith underneath for a basket, but Mia Greco answered with a three from the corner as Saint Mary's took a 40-35 lead into halftime.
Pacific shot 32.4 percent in the first half (11-of-34), while the Gaels connected at a 42 percent clip (13-of-31).
Wakefield scored on the old-fashioned three-point play, and then a steal and lay-up from Gena Johnson tied the game at 40-40.
Conricode hit another three as the Tigers trailed by two, at 51-49, but the Gaels scored six-straight points on three consecutive lay-ups.
Out of a timeout, the Tigers responded with a 17-5 run. Kendall Rodriguez connected on back-to-back-to-back three-pointers for a 9-0 run to give Pacific a 58-57 lead with 7:23 to go. McKenzie hit a three from the corner and Rodriguez struck again as Pacific led by nine, 69-62, with 3:58 to remaining.
After a three-pointer by SMC's Kate Gaze, the Gaels picked up four of points from the free throw line to whittle the lead to two. The Tigers defense forced a turnover as Wakefield laid it in on the fast break for a four-point edge at 73-69.
But Gaze converted an and-one to cut the gap to one. Pacific got the stop on defense with 9.3 seconds remaining. Rodriguez hit a pair of free throws for a three-point edge. Gaze got off a three point try with a hand in her face, but it fell well short of the rim.
The Tigers connected on 13-of-31 from behind the three-point arc. The 13 triples were a season-high for Pacific.
Pacific is back in action on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. against San Francisco as the Tigers return to the Spanos Center for the first time since Nov. 28