Luaulu-Summers' 37 & 10 Leads Pacific Past Gardner-Webb

GeAnna Luaulu-Summers (photo by KeithSanpeiPhoto.com)
GeAnna Luaulu-Summers (photo by KeithSanpeiPhoto.com)

Boiling Springs, N.C. - GeAnna Luaulu-Summers scored a career-high 37 points and also handed out 10 assists as the Pacific women's basketball team ran away from previously undefeated Gardner-Webb, 84-77 Saturday. Desire Finnie and Hailie Eackles each added 17 points for Pacific.

Luaulu-Summers nearly doubled her career high, which was 19, and set a career-best with her 10 assists for her first career double-double. She hit 19-of-22 from the free throw line, which broke the Tigers record for single-game free throws made. She hit her first 14 from the stripe.

Finnie's 17 points tied her career high, and the Tigers never trailed en route to the victory.

The Tigers knocked down 8-of-19 from behind the three-point arc, as Eackles big four-of-five and Luaulu-Summers added 2-of-4. Gardner-Webb hit just four of 21 three-pointers, but controlled the rebounding battle, 53-37 to push the Tigers the entire game.

Pacific opened the game with a pair of free throws by Luaulu-Summers and a jumper from Eli Lopez Sagrera. Eackles hit a pair of threes and the Tigers built a 12-4 lead. Queenland added a triple for a 15-6 advantage and at the midway point, Desire Finnie gave the Tigers their largest first half lead. Finnie hit a three-pointer, a lay-up and jumper in a row as Pacific led 22-9 with 4:06 to go in the first.

Luaulu-Summers added an and-one, but Tierra Hunstman led Gardner-Webb back into it with a free throws and a three, as the Tigers led 25-20 after one quarter.

In the second, the Bulldogs cut the lead to three before Eackles connected on another three, and Mauriana Clayton added a lay-up to give the Tigers a cushion. Luaulu-Summers added a triple and three free throws as the lead surged to 12, at 36-24. Olivia Parker hit a jumper for Gardner-Webb and then added four free throws as the Bulldogs pulled back within five, but Luaulu-Summers added a lay-up to close the half as Pacific led 41-34 at the break.

The Tigers hit 6-of-13 from behind the arc in the first half, and 13-of-33 overall while holding Gardner-Webb to 10-of-30 shooting.

In the third, Luaulu-Summers posted a pair of lay-ups, but Candace Brown finished repeatedly inside and Gardner-Webb controlled the offensive glass and pulled within 45-42. But Luaulu-Summers scored on back-to-back drives and Finnie added an and-one as the Tigers' lead surged back to nine.

Parker kept the Runnin' Bulldogs close, as she recorded a put-back, and Evelyn Adebayo added four points as the Tigers lead was 59-54 headed to the fourth.

Luaulu-Summers opened the fourth with a three-pointer, but Parker cut the gap to 62-57 with 7:34 to play. Luaulu-Summers drove and hit Emily Simons for an inside bucket and after a three from Huntsman, delivered a transition pass from mid-court to a Simons underneath for her 10th assist and a 68-71 lead.

Eackles added a three with 4:11 left for a 73-64 lead. Parker added an and-one and Huntsman a three to cut Pacific's lead to 79-74 with 1:03 left. But Luaulu-Summers hit five of her last eight free throws to seal the win.

Luaulu-Summers' 37 was the fourth most in a game in program history, and most since Eden Palacio scored 43 against Long Beach State in 1998.

Pacific improves to 4-2 overall, while Gardner-Webb falls to 4-1 on the year.

The Tigers return home to face Long Beach State on Wednesday in the home opener at 7 p.m.