Women's Basketball Falls In Triple Overtime At Cal Poly

Women's Basketball Falls In Triple Overtime At Cal Poly

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The Pacific women's basketball team erased a 21-point deficit to force overtime, but in the first ever triple-overtime game for either school, Cal Poly pulled out a 96-95 Big West victory Saturday at Mott Gym.

All five Tiger starters scored at least 13 points, led by Ashley Wakefield's 23. Gena Johnson added 17 on six-of-nine shooting, while Kendall Rodriguez and Erica McKenzie each added 15 points. Kendall Kenyon tallied 13 points and 12 rebounds for the double-double. Rodriguez posted 10 rebounds for her 12th career double-double.

"Cal Poly came to play," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "They competed and did a heck of a job. The first half we were just not very good at either end of the floor. I thought we played a fantastic second half. Offensively and defensively, we were just fearless. I'm really proud of the way we came back and forced overtime. But overall, it's disappointing because we certainly had our chances. You can point to any number of things: allowing a put-back at the end of regulation, missing free throws in overtime. Doing the little things are critical to win big games."

Ashley Smith scored all of her four points in the second overtime, but the Tigers' five-game win streak was snapped on the road. Pacific falls to 12-3 overall, 2-1 in the Big West. Cal Poly improves to 9-6 overall and 3-1 in the BWC.

The game featured seven ties and five lead changes after regulation ended. All told, the game featured 14 ties and 12 lead changes.

The Mustangs built a 21-point lead just before halftime, but the Tigers erased a 18-point halftime deficit by outscoring Cal Poly 44-26 in the second half. After committing 13 first-half turnovers, the Tigers committed just eight miscues over the next 35 minutes, including a mere two following the end of regulation.

The Tigers had their chances, but failed to get a shot off on the last possession at the end of regulation and the third overtime, and missed a shot at the end of the first overtime.

Cal Poly's Molly Schlemer led all scorers with 28 points, while Caroline Reeves added 16 and Ariana Elegado 15.

Wakefield connected on a lay-up and a jumper as Pacific took an early 10-7 lead. Each team hit six of their first 12 shots, as Cal Poly took a 16-15 lead seven minutes in.

From there, the Tigers cooled off, as the Mustangs slowed down Pacific's dribble-drive with physical play. The Mustangs used a 12-0 run to take an 11-point lead before Wakefield converted an and-one. Caroline Reeves and Ariana Elegado hit three-points as Cal Poly turned in another run to stretch their lead to 21.

After the first holding call, Erica McKenzie hit a pair of free throws with four seconds left before halftime to trim the deficit to 18 as the Tigers trailed 49-31 at the break. Cal Poly connected at a 54 percent clip in the first half (19-of-35) and the Mustangs forced 13 Pacific turnovers.

Gena Johnson sliced through the lane for two points to open the second half  and after a Kenyon lay-in, Rodriguez drained a three-pointer as the Tigers trimmed the gap to 13.

McKenzie hit a pair of three-pointers, and Kristina Johnson's reverse lay-up brought the Tigers within five, 55-50.

Kristina Johnson drove again as the Tigers cut the margin to two, 57-55, before Schlemer answered at the other end. Down 63-59, Schlemer and Wakefield traded buckets and after Kenyon's free throws and a defensive stop, Gena Johnson tied the game with a drive thru the lane and lefthand finish.

Poly took the lead with a pair of free throws, but Kenyon knotted the score at 67-67 with a post-up bucket. After the Mustangs split a pair of free throw attempts, Gena Johnson gave the Tigers their first lead of the second half with a jumper from outside the paint.

Elegado answered for Cal Poly, as the Mustangs led 70-69 with 1:23 remaining. Wakefield hit a pair of free throws for a one-point advantage. After a stop on the defensive end, Kenyon put back a Wakefield miss for a three-point margin with 38 seconds left. Schlemer finished inside, trimming Pacific's advantage to 73-72 with 30 seconds to go.

Rodriguez hit a pair of free throws, but the Mustangs' Kayla Griffin put back a missed three-point attempt, and was fouled. Her and-one free throw tied the score with 4.2 seconds remaining. Pacific couldn't get a shot off before the regulation buzzer.

After a defensive stop, McKenzie drained a three-pointer to open the overtime scoring. Schlemer's put-back was answered by Wakefield's lay-in and after Jonae Ervin connected with a jumper off the glass for Cal Poly, Gena Johnson's jumper restored the three-point lead for Pacific.

But the Mustangs responded with Reeves and Schlemer scoring on lay-ups for an 83-82 lead with 1:25 remaining in extra time. Johnson tied the game with a free throw and then blocked a shot on the other end. Poly's Nikol Allison missed two free throws with 29 seconds to go and the Tigers came up empty on their final shot of the first overtime.

Smith's first points of the game came in the second overtime to give the Tigers the lead. Reeves answered by backing down a defender to lock things up at 85-all. Smith tallied again off a feed from McKenzie, but Elegado replied with a jumper.

Cal Poly was put on the line and took the lead with a pair of free throws with a minute to go, but Wakefield spun and hit a jumper from the paint to tie the game at 89-89 with 45 seconds left. On the defensive end, Pacific tied up Cal Poly inside, but the Mustangs retained it via the possession arrow. Wakefield's steal at mid-court prevented a Poly attempt for the game-winner.

"AJ {Ashley Smith] did great in the second overtime," Roberts added. "She's a senior and she played like one. After [Kenyon] fouled out, she came in and gave us the offense that we needed and then had a big defensive stop at the other end to help us get to the third overtime."

In the third extra period, Wakefield and Reeves traded drives to the hoop and Rodriguez hit a pair of free throws for a 93-91 Pacific lead. Elegado's transition bucket knotted the score at 93-93, but McKenzie took it to the basket to put the Tigers back up top.

But amid a scrum in front of the Cal Poly basket, Ervin was fouled with 8.8 seconds left, and hit both free throws to take a 96-95 lead. The Tigers' couldn't get a final shot off, as Wakefield was smothered in the paint and the Tigers called timeout with 1.7 seconds to go, and the inbounds pass was batted lose as time finally expired with an imbalanced score.

Pacific falls to 5-2 in multi-overtime games, and 20-23 in games decided by a single point. Rodriguez set the Tigers program record for most minutes in a game with 53, while McKenzie finished with a second-most 52.

The Tigers are back in action on Thursday, at home at the Spanos Center against Hawai'i at 7 p.m.