Tigers Edged By Northern Colorado, 60-56

Emily Simons (Photo by Meghan Laurel photography)
Emily Simons (Photo by Meghan Laurel photography)

STOCKTON, Calif. - Emily Simons recorded her first career double-double as the Pacific women's basketball team erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit, but Northern Colorado pulled out a 60-56 victory at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Simons finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Desire Finnie led Pacific with 13 points and four steals.

Pacific trailed 47-37 early in the fourth and used a 19-9 run to tie the game, but Northern Colorado scored the final four points of the contest, including the game-winning bucket from Savannah Smith with 23 seconds remaining.

Ameel Li added nine points as 10 different Tigers scored in the contest. Pacific suffered an uncharacteristic cold night from three-point range, hitting 2-of-12 (16.7 percent). Pacific entering the night first in the West Coast Conference and 33rd in the NCAA in three-point percentage at 37.6 percent.

For the game, Pacific shot 42 percent overall (18-of-43) and hit 18-of-20 free throws (90 percent), but the Bears hit 41.5 percent (22-of-53) and connected on 9-of-25 from three point range.

The Tigers opened to a 6-0 lead on buckets from Desire Finnie and Unique Coleman. After a three from the Bears, Simons answered with a lay-up inside. Kianna Williams added a three-pointer for Northern Colorado, but Chelsea Lidy drove and finished with a lay-up for a 10-8 lead. Mauriana Clayton and Najah Queenland added free throws as the Tigers led 16-10 after the first quarter.

In the second, Katie Longwell hit a three for the Bears to start an 11-0 run. The Tigers didn't score in the second quarter until the 5:33 mark, when Coleman hit a free throw. Queenland recorded a steal and a lay-up, but the Bears answered with a long outlet pass for an easy bucket. Eli Lopez Sagrera scored on the other end and Jessica Blakeslee tied the game at 25-25 with a fade away jumper. But Longwell hit a three from the corner as the Bears took a 28-25 lead into halftime.

The Tigers shot 37 percent in the first half, as did the Bears. Northern Colorado hit 6-of-13 from behind the three-point line, while the Tigers went 0-for-5 from deep in the first half.

Emily Simons scored the Tigers first four points of the third quarter, to bring Pacific within 30-29, but Savannah Smith answered back with a three-pointer. Simons tallied again on the inside, but Smith again hit a three-pointer for a 36-31 Northern Colorado lead. Smith aded a jumper as the Bears led 40-31 with 1:44 to go in the quarter. Finnie hit a jumper in the paint, but the Bears answered back with a lay-up and added a fast-break lay-up for a 44-35 lead after three quarters.

Clayton posted a lay-in to open the fourth, but Smith hit another three-pointer for the Bears for a 10-point lead, at 47-37. Luaulu-Summers converted an and-one in transition, and Simons sliced to the rim for a bucket, but the Bears responded with a lay-up inside to lead by eight, 50-42. Finnie drained a triple to pull Pacific within five and the came away with a steal to set up Ameela Li's three. Finnie added a jumper from the baseline in response to a pair of UNC free throws. Smith drove and finished to restore a four-point lead. Li converted a three-point play from the free throw line to pull within one with 2:30 to go. After a pair of Bears' free throws, Li drove and got to the line, hitting one. Li then scored off a Finnie steal to tie the game at 56-56 with 1:09 to play.

The Tigers posted a stop on defense, and Luaulu-Summers drove amid contact, but the whistle as she finished was for an offensive foul, giving the ball back to the Bears with 33 seconds to go.

Smith sliced to the lane an finished with 23 seconds left, and Luaulu-Summers drove again amid contact, but no whistle came and Northern Colorado hit a pair of free throws for a four-point lead with 4.9 seconds left.

The Tigers recorded 14 steals, but committed 23 turnovers to the Bears' 21, with Northern Colorado holding a 23-15 advantage in points off turnovers. Pacific held a slim advantage on the boards, out-rebounding the Bears 30-28, and Pacific posted a 28-20 margin in points in the paint.

Pacific falls to 3-7 on the year, while Northern Colorado moves to 8-3 overall. The Tigers are back in action on Wednesday in a 2 p.m. home tip-off against William Jessup.