Tigers advance in WNIT

Tigers advance in WNIT

There's one goal when it comes to postseason basketball; survive and advance. That's just what Pacific women's basketball did on Wednesday night in Fresno with a 77-72 win over Fresno State.

Pacific picked up its first win in the 2019 WNIT in an exciting and back and forth game against Central Valley foes Fresno State. Six Tigers scored in double figures, something that hasn't been done by Pacific since 2017 when the seven players scored in double figures. The lead changed hands 13 times in the game and it was tied 10 different times.

Valerie Higgins led the Tigers to the victory with a 20-point night. She also had nine rebounds and five steals to move her into second on Pacific's single-season record books. She needs seven more steals to break the record. Brooklyn McDavid had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Senior guard Ameela Li had 12 points as well. Freshman Kaylin Randhawa had a huge 11 points off the bench and made a big impact in the second half. Junior Jessica Blakeslee and sophomore Lianna Tillman both had 10 points.

The win for Pacific was the fourth in the WNIT ever and the first since 2013 when the Tigers reached the third round, the deepest WNIT run ever for Pacific.

The Tigers await the result of tomorrow night's WNIT game between Arizona and Idaho State to see who they'll play in the second round. The date, time and location has not been set yet by WNIT officials, but that will be made public following the completion of tomorrow night's game

GAME RECAP

First Quarter

  • Pacific led 25-23 after one quarter.
  • Fresno State's Candice White led all players in the quarter with nine points.
  • Higgins scored eight in the quarter. McDavid wasn't far behind with seven points.
  • Higgins had four rebounds and two blocks as well.
  • The tone for the game was set in the first quarter as both teams experience big swings. Fresno State jumped out to a 9-2 lead just over two minutes in, but Pacific used a 17-2 run in the next six minutes to claw back and lead heading into the second quarter. A 10-2 run for Fresno State ended the first.

Second Quarter

  • Fresno outscored the Tigers 17-13 in the quarter and led 40-38 at halftime.
  • Fresno's Katelyn Noyer led all players with six points. White and Tillman both had five.
  • The lead changed hands seven times in the quarter and the two teams traded blows.
  • Tillman checked in around the eight-minute mark of the quarter and made a big impact almost immediately. She drained a three to tie the game 30-30 then gave the Tigers a lead 30 second later with a layup.
  • The lead changed hands three more times in the quarter before Fresno State took it for the last time in the second at the 1:19 mark.

Third Quarter

  • Pacific outscored Fresno State 23-16 in the quarter and led 61-56 at the end of the quarter.
  • Li led all players with eight points in the quarter.
  • McDavid pulled down five boards the take big steps to her double-double.
  • Randhawa played a big six minutes with four points, two assists and a steal.
  • 12 of Pacific's points came off of second-chance opportunities.
  • Pacific used a 9-1 run in the first half of the quarter to build a cushion. Fresno State cut the lead back down to five by the end of the quarter.
  • Li was 2-2 from three-point range in the quarter.
  • Randhawa checked in at the 6:58 mark and made a two-pointer on her second offensive possession of the shift. She missed a layup, got her own board and then assisted on a Li three on the next attempt. 30 seconds later, she made a layup to put Pacific up by eight points.

Fourth Quarter

  • Fresno and Pacific both scored 16 points in the quarter.
  • Higgins' six points led the Tigers. White's seven led all players.
  • McDavid had four rebounds in the quarter. She also had a block and a steal.
  • Higgins also had two rebounds and two steals.
  • Pacific forced seven turnovers to help clinch the game.
  • Fresno State started the quarter on a big 12-2 run to erase Pacific's lead and build up a six-point advantage of their own with 5:31 to play.
  • At the 3:56 mark momentum shifted when Pacific turned three steals, two from Higgins and one from Tillman, into seven points to retake a 70-69 lead.
  • Fresno State made a two with 2:18 to play to take its final lead.
  • At the 1:20 mark Higgins made back-to-back free throws to give Pacific the lead for the final time.
  • With 12 seconds to play and the Tigers up by three, Higgins missed a layup, but Blakeslee was there to pull down the offensive board. She got the ball back out to Li who was fouled and made both free throws to ice the game.

Notables

  • Pacific won a game in the WNIT.
  • Pacific won its first postseason game since 2013.
  • Head coach Bradley Davis coached in and won his first postseason game.
  • The Tigers will play the winner of Arizona and Idaho State sometime between Saturday and Monday.
  • Valerie Higgins moved into second on the single-season steals list. She has 98 this year. She surpassed potentially the Tigers' best player in program history, Tine Freil, with her 98th steal. Sheri Bates' mark of 104 in the 1981-82 season is the single-season record. Higgins needs seven to break it.
  • Higgins extended her single-season record for free throws made from 150 to 154.
  • Six Tigers scored in double-figures for the first time since 2016 when the Tigers did it against UC Merced. Worth noting is that the record is seven players in double figures.