Rough Start As Pacific Drops Conference Opener To Cal State Northridge In OT

Rough Start As Pacific Drops Conference Opener To Cal State Northridge In OT

Dec. 31, 2010

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STOCKTON, Calif. - The Tigers erased a 13-point second half deficit behind a season-high 20 points from Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.), but Cal State Northridge emerged with a 74-68 overtime win over Pacific at the Alex G. Spanos Center in the Big West opener for both teams Friday afternoon.

For the third-straight meeting between the Tigers and Matadors, regulation was not enough to decide a winner. The Tigers prevailed in both match-ups last season, in one overtime in Northridge, 76-70, and in two overtimes at the Spanos Center, 93-89.

Pacific trailed by 13, 43-30, with 17:03 left in regulation, but got back into the ballgame thanks to the athletic combo of Thompson and freshman guard Gena Johnson (Elk Grove, Calif.). Johnson scored seven of her nine points after halftime, while grabbing five rebounds in the final 25 minutes. She finished with nine points and a season-best eight boards.

Thompson scored 10 points in the second half and overtime, including back-to-back buckets with under 2:40 to go to tie the game at 57-57. After grabbing a defensive rebound, Jennifer Fath (Carrollton, Texas) found Jordan Rogers running the floor and Fath's long outlet pass led to Rogers' easy lay-up on the break to put the Tigers up 59-57 with 1:40 to play.

However, after a stop on defense, Pacific missed a three-point attempt to nail home the coffin and Cal State Northridge's Violet Alama hit a jumper with 35 seconds left to tie the game.

The Tigers couldn't get off a shot on their final possession of regulation.

In overtime, the Matadors scored the first three points before an and-one from Fath tied the score at 62-62, but Cal State Northridge scored eight of the next nine points for a seven-point lead, 70-63, with 45 seconds left in the extra session.

Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) hit a deep three to cut the margin to five, but the Matadors sealed the game from the free throw line to improve to 1-0 in the Big West and earn their first victory of the season (1-12).

Fath finished with 13 points and three assists, while Rogers paced Pacific on the glass with nine rebounds. The Tigers out-rebounded Northridge, 45-36, and picked up 21 offensive rebounds. But the Tigers couldn't overcome a cold shooting performance in the first half and overtime.

Pacific shot 31 percent in the first half, and after registering 45 percent in the second half to erase the deficit, hit two of six field goal attempts in overtime.

The Matadors were led by 18 points from Analee Viena-Lota, while Alama finished with 17. Bridgett Conejo tallied a dozen while Erving finished with 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Haley White added 10 assists for the Matadors.

Pacific forced 21 Matador miscues, but committed 22 turnovers themselves as each team tallied 21 points off of turnovers.

Northridge shot a robust 54 percent in the first half to build a double-digit margin, and have Pacific cooled the Matadors down to 40 percent in the second half, Cal State Northridge hit four of seven field goals in the overtime session.

McKenzie tied her season-high with six assists, but the Tigers managed to hit just three of 16 attempts from behind the three-point arc to fall to 3-11 overall and 0-1 in the Big West.

The Tigers host Cal State Fullerton on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the first contest of the new year.