Finnie's Game-Winner Lifts WBB in OT Over Gonzaga

Finnie's Game-Winner Lifts WBB in OT Over Gonzaga

Stockton, Calif. - Desire Finnie hit the game-winning bucket with 4.8 seconds left in overtime as Pacific erased a 13-point third quarter deficit to defeat Gonzaga, 84-83, Saturday at the Alex G. Spanos Center. The Tigers won their third in a row behind 22 points from Finnie and three other players in double-figures.

Pacific and Gonzaga traded big play for big play, as the game featured 18 lead changes and 10 ties.

Hailie Eackles and Najah Queenland each scored 14 points for Pacific, while GeAnna Luaulu-Summers added 13. Mauriana Clayton, Erin Butler and Chelsea Lidy each tallied six points. Clayton grabbed nine rebounds while Queenland added seven. 

Down 83-82 with 18 seconds left, the Tigers ran a play to get Finnie isolated, and she skied over her defender for a jumper that rattled home for the lead. Pacific then defended a quality look from the Bulldogs, who put it in the hands of their leading scorer, Jill Barta. Barta accepted a pass in the post, turned and lofted a shot short off the front of the rim and settled for a game-high 31 points.

Shelby Chelsek added 20 points for Gonzaga with 15 rebounds.

Pacific improves to 13-14 overall, 6-10 in West Coast Conference play. Gonzaga falls to 17-11 overall, 9-7 in WCC action.

Eackles opened the game with a three-pointer, and Luaulu-Summers added a triple, but Gonzaga got a pair of buckets inside on put-backs and a three from Jill Barta for a 7-6 lead. Finnie sliced through the paint and finished for a 10-7 Pacific lead and added a triple as Pacific led 13-9 five minutes in.

Shelby Cheslek posted an and-one for Gonzaga before Finnie added a baseline jumper. The Bulldogs scored six-straight points, tying the game at 19-19 on a three from Barta. Gonzaga slipped in front 21-19 on a bucket from Laura Stockton to close the quarter.

Queenland tied the game with a pair of throws, and after Emma Stach drove for a bucket, Queenland hit a runner and a floater in the paint for a 25-23 Pacific lead. Gonzaga responded with back-to-back buckets before an Eackles three.

Luaulu-Summers tied the game at 31-31 with a three-pointer, but Stach drained a triple of her own. Barta added a three-pointer for a 41-34 Gonzaga lead. Barta connected on another jumper as the Bulldogs led by nine at the half.

Gonzaga hit 9-of-15 in the second quarter from the field, while the Tigers connected on 4-of-13.

In the third, Finnie and Eackles answered Gonzaga buckets with lay-ups. A Finnie put-back closed the Tigers deficit to 51-44, but Stach hit a three on the other end for the Bulldogs. Eackles drove and finished off the glass, and Erin Butler drained a three from the ornery as the Tigers pulled within 54-49. Gonzaga carried a 58-53 lead into the fourth.

Mauriana Clayton finished a lay-up inside to bring Pacific within three to open the fourth quarter. But Chelsea Waters answered for Gonzaga. A Butler three cut the Gonzaga lead to 60-58, but the Bulldogs narrowly avoided a turnover on the other end when and finished the possession with a basket inside to create some breathing room.

Chelsea Lidy complete a three-point play, pulling Pacific within 65-61 with 5:04 to go. Emily Simons came up with a strip in the paint, and Hailie Eackles drilled a three to make it a one-point game.

After a free throw from Gonzaga, Queenland drained a three from the corner to give Pacific a 67-66 lead with 2:17 to go.  After a pair of Bulldog free throws, Lidy scooped in a reverse lay-up to put Pacific in front at 69-68.

Stockton answered right back with a bucket for Gonzaga, but Simons connected on a three-pointer for a 72-70 lead with 33 seconds left. However, Stockton banked home a hook shot high off the glass to tie the game with 25 seconds left and the Tigers last second shot was off target.

Chelsek opened overtime with a lay-up and Lidy hit a free throw. Finnie hit a three-pointer as the Tigers trailed 78-76 with 3:10 to go. After a GU free throw, Luaulu-Summers tied the game at 79-79 with a  three from the top of the key.

The Tigers and Bulldogs traded stops, before Barta scored underneath. Queenland drove and got to the line, hitting one and Finnie picked up a steal and runout for a 82-81 lead with 34 seconds left. Barta tallied underneath after spinning in the paint to put Gonzaga in front with 18.5 seconds left.

Finnie elevated and connected on the baseline jumper with 4.8 seconds to go for the lead, and the Tigers clamped down on Barta in the paint, as her spinning lay-up attempt was short off the front iron. The clock expired as the rebound was being contested as the Tigers won their third in a row.

Pacific posted its first home win over Gonzaga since joining the West Coast Conference and now own a home win over every member of their new league.

The 13-point second-half deficit the second-largest erased by the Tigers in a victory ever, behind only a 14-point margin in a win at San Jose State in 1983. Janet (Whitney) Godina played in the 1983 comeback and was one of many former Pacific players at the Spanos Center Saturday for the Tigers' Alumni Day.

Pacific will visit San Francisco Thursday before the regular season finale next Saturday against Santa Clara.