What started off as a dominating performance by Pacific women's basketball ended in a nerve-wracking down to the wire contest against Santa Clara.
Pacific (11-5, 4-2 WCC) jumped out to a big lead through one quarter, but Santa Clara (9-8, 2-4 WCC) chipped away on their home floor and made it a one-point game late in the fourth quarter, but late game heroics from sophomore forward Brooklyn McDavid and two steals in the final seconds from sophomores Valerie Higgins and Isabel Newman kept the Tigers out front of the Broncos. Pacific's defense locked down the Broncos, they did not make a shot in the final 2:32 of the game.
McDavid inspired the Tigers in the win with what was the best offensive game of her young career. She scored a career-high 28 points and shot 66% with 11 rebounds for her sixth career double-double and her fourth of the season. Jessica Blakeslee played all 40 minutes and had 15 points after making six of her eight attempts. Senior guard Ameela Li had 10 points and eight assists.
For the Broncos, Ashlyn Herlihy and Tia Hay both scored 20 points while Hay kicked in nine assists as well. Lindsey Vanallen scored 15 points.
The Tiger offense lit up the scoreboard early when it jumped out to a 26-18 lead behind a 53% team shooting percentage and eight points from McDavid. The Tigers took care of business on the defensive end as well to open the game by forcing five turnovers and out-rebounding the Broncos 10-6.
In the second quarter, Santa Clara began the slow process of chipping into Pacific's lead. The Tigers turned the ball over once in the first quarter but had five in the second while the Broncos began heating up on the offensive end.
Pacific took a 44-36 lead into the half and led 64-57 at the end of the third quarter, but back-t0-back buckets from Charise Holloway to start the fourth quarter cut Pacific's lead down to two points. The Tigers bounced back with a short 7-2 run, but two more back-to-back scores, the first a two-pointer from Lauren Yearwood and a three-pointer from Hay made the score 71-70 with 2:32 to play. Hay's three would be the final made field goal of the game for Santa Clara.
With 1:18 to play, McDavid made a big shot in the paint off of a dish from Blakeslee to make the score 73-70.
With the three-point advantage, Pacific fouled Santa Clara with the intention of putting the Broncos on the line. On the next inbounds pass, Higgins stole the ball and passed to Li who was fouled and made one of her two free throws. With five seconds to play Newman stole the ball from Yearwood and held on until the buzzer to clinch the victory.
Pacific's win put it in a tie for third with Pepperdine, which is also 4-2, in the WCC standings. BYU took sole possession of first place in the league with a win over Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are in second with a one-game lead over Pacific and Pepperdine.
The Tigers look to build on tonight's win on Saturday at San Francisco (5-12, 1-5 WCC) in a 12 p.m. game.
- Pacific led 26-18 after the first quarter.
- McDavid's eight points led the Tigers while Herlihy had eight for Santa Clara. She was just one of four Broncos to score in the first quarter.
- 12 of Pacific's 26 points came in the paint.
- Li had four points and four assists in the first quarter.
- Higgins led all players with five rebounds, three assists and two steals in the quarter.
- Pacific and Santa Clara were tied 18-18 in the second.
- Herlihy led all players with 10 points while Blakeslee led the Tigers with five. She made both of her shots in the quarter.
- McDavid continued to build toward her double-double with four points and four rebounds.
- Santa Clara outscored Pacific 21-20 in the quarter.
- McDavid went off in the third quarter for 10 points. Hay did the same for Santa Clara with 10 points of her own.
- Santa Clara outscored the Tigers 13-10.
- McDavid led all scorers with six points in the quarter. She also made the game's final field goal.
- McDavid earned her sixth double-double of her career and had a career-high 28 points which tied Higgins for the most points scored in a game by a Tiger this season.
- Pacific continues to work toward its best season since 2013-13 when the Tigers went to the third round of the WNIT.
- The Tigers led wire-to-wire for their second-straight game.
- Pacific shot better than 45% from the field as a team for the second-straight game.
- Higgins put together a well-rounded game with six points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals, but her streak of games in double-digit scoring ended at 15, which is the longest streak of any player currently on the team.
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