Pacific's come back bid falls short at UCF

Pacific's come back bid falls short at UCF

In a defensive matchup between two one-loss teams, Pacific women's basketball (6-2) came out on the losing end to Central Florida (9-1) 67-54.

The Tigers were without two starters, but hung with the Knights and fought back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit, but came up just short in the closing minutes. Junior guard Jessica Blakeslee led the way with 17 points while sophomore guard Valerie Higgins had 11 points and was one rebound short of her fourth double-double.

Pacific started the night without senior guards Ameela Li and Tylah King who did not travel with the team to Orlando while they dealt with family issues. In their place, sophomore guards Liana Tillman and Isabel Newman made their first career starts.

Pacific jumped to an early lead and led through the first quarter thanks to Blakeslee and Tillman who stepped up with five points each to contribute to a 19-13 lead at the end of one. However, the Tigers started the second quarter on a nearly four-and-a-half-minute scoring drought that allowed UCF to take the lead which the Knights did not surrender for the remainder of the game.

The Knights built their lead to as much as 13, but with five minutes left, Pacific cut the lead down to eight points and cut it down to four points with 1:24 to play. Pacific nearly cut the lead to two, but an offensive foul erased a made shot with 23 seconds to go to help UCF secure the victory.

The loss was Pacific's first in six games and despite the loss, this continues to be the team's best start since the 2012-13 season. The Tigers continue the three-game road trip on Thursday when the team takes on Lamar in Beaumont, Texas.

Game Summary:

First Quarter:

  • Pacific led after the first 19-13.
  • Blakeslee and Tillman led the way for the Tigers with five points apiece. Masseny Kaba also had five for UCF.
  • Valerie Higgins recorded four points and four rebounds in the quarter while Isabelle Parker played in six minutes and pulled down four rebounds.
  • Pacific shot 50% from the field in the quarter while holding the Knights to 33%.

Second Quarter:

  • UCF outscored the Tigers 17-8 in the quarter and led 30-27 going into halftime.
  • Pacific shot 18% from the field in the quarter.

Third Quarter:

  • UCF outscored Pacific 19-12 in the quarter.
  • Higgins led the Tigers with four points bringing her total in the game to nine. UCF's Kornelia Wright led all scorers with four points.

Fourth Quarter:

  • Pacific outscored UCF in the final quarter 18-15, but were unable to complete the comeback.
  • UCF's Kornelia Wright had 13 points in the final quarter thanks to making 11 of her 12 free throws in the closing minutes.
  • Blakeslee led the Tigers with six points to close out the game.
  • Higgins fouled out with 5:57 to play in the game.
  • Pacific shot 38% in the final quarter and held the Knights to just 25%.

Notables:

  • Despite the loss, this continues to be Pacific's best start to a season since the 2012-13 season.
  • Higgins' 11 points extended her streak of games in double figure scoring to eight games.
  • Blakeslee scored in double figures for the eighth time in her career and the third time this season. This is the second time this year that she's led the Tigers in scoring.
  • Pacific has led after one quarter in every game this season.