Tigers hold on to beat UC Davis 83-80.

Tigers hold on to beat UC Davis 83-80.

In a back and forth season opener on the road against the defending Big West champs, UC Davis, the Tigers held on to pick up an 83-80 win.

Pacific held a 19 point lead with 3:40 to play, but the Aggies roared back on an 18-2 run in the final minutes. The Aggies cut the lead to three points but fouled redshirt sophomore guard Valerie Higgins with six seconds left. She knocked down both shots to give Pacific a five-point lead and put the game out of reach of the Aggies who did make the final shot of the game to make it 83-80.

Luckily for the Tigers, Pacific built a big cushion with a red-hot start in the second half. Pacific outscored UC Davis 30-17 in the third quarter. The Tigers trailed at the half, 40-37 but thanks to a spark at the opening of the half from Brooklyn McDavid who scored six points and recorded two steals in the opening 1:23 of the half went on to lead 65-57 at the end of the third.

After the spark, the Tigers went on to a 21-5 run into the third quarter's media timeout to lead 58-45. The Tigers went 11-24 from the field in the third and forced seven turnovers from the Aggies while committing just three themselves.

Higgins logged a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in her first game as a Tiger since transferring from USC after the 2016-17 season while senior Ameela Li and sophomore Brooklyn McDavid both recorded career-highs in points in a game. Li had 27 despite drawing a fifth foul with 5:39 to play and McDavid had 24.

As a team, Pacific forced 26 turnovers and made 18 of their 20 free throws to help them to a season-opening win. Davis outshot the Tigers in every category except free throws, the Tigers went 18-20  from the line.

GAME SUMMARY:

First Quarter:

  • Pacific led 18-13 after the first quarter.
  • The Tigers forced 10 turnovers in the opening 10 minutes while committing only three themselves.
  • Pacific's bench came up big in the quarter. Freshman Kaylin Randhawa had four points and a rebound in the first four minutes of her career while sophomore guard Lianna Tillman had three points in two minutes.
  • McDavid led the way with six points.

Second Quarter:

  • UC Davis roared back in the second half by outscoring the Tigers 27-17 thanks to shooting 52% from the field and 62% from three.
  • Higgins put together the best quarter for the Tigers knocking down seven points and picking up three rebounds.
  • The Aggies' performance gave them a 40-35 lead heading into the break.
  • Cierra McKeown was a 4-4 from the field, all of which were three-pointers, to propel the Aggies with 12 points.

Third Quarter:

  • McDavid's red-hot start to the half helped the Tigers to outscore the Aggies 30-17 in the half and gave her team a 65-57 lead.
  • McDavid only played in three minutes of the quarter, but still had six points and two steals.
  • Li led the way for the Tigers with 11 points, three assists and a steal. She played all 10 minutes.
  • The Tigers had 10 points off of the Aggies' seven turnovers.

Fourth Quarter:

  • The Tigers went on a 15-5 run to start the quarter but went cold to close the game scoring only two points in the final 4:08 of the game.
  • UC Davis closed the game on an 18-2 run by going 10-13 shooting in the final three minutes and eight seconds.
  • Higgins went 2-2 from the line with six seconds left to put the game out of the Aggies reach.
  • Li fouled out a little less than halfway through the final quarter.
  • McDavid had eight points in the final quarter while Higgins had two with three rebounds.

Notables:

  • Li set a career high for points in a game with 27. Her previous best was 24 last season.
  • McDavid set a career high for points with 24. Her previous high was 17.
  • Higgins logged her first double-double in her first game as a Tiger.
  • Pacific's win came after a 90-58 loss at home to UC Davis last year.
  • Pacific has won their season opener in back-to-back seasons.