Tigers Win Overtime Nail-Biter Over Seattle On Wakefield Jumper, 81-79
Stockton, Calif. – Ashley Wakefield's game-winning basket with 2.2 seconds remaining gave the Pacific women's basketball team an 81-79 overtime victory over Seattle Tuesday at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Wakefield finished with a team-high 18 points.
Junior guard Erica McKenzie drained a deep three-pointer to tie the game with 30 seconds remaining in overtime, and after Seattle scored four straight in the extra session to tie the game at 79, the Tigers ran an isolation play for Wakefield, who drove from the wing, hung in the air and kissed it off the glass for the with 2.2 seconds remaining for the victory.
"We feel fortunate to get the win. Seattle's a really good win," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "We made plays when we needed to. Ashley Wakefield made a tremendous play. Wins like that can continue to build our confidence."
Freshman center Kendall Kenyon posted her fourth career double-double and third in four games with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore guard Gena Johnson added 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Junior forward Kendall Rodriguez scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half and overtime, and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds.
In a game that featured big shot after big shot, the Tigers hit four of six shots in overtime and four of their last five free throws. The Tigers emerged with the victory in part to 52 points in the paint, the second most by the Tigers this season. Pacific forced 24 turnovers with 15 steals and rejected nine shots, seven by Johnson and Kenyon combined.
Pacific improves to 10-7 overall, while Seattle falls to 11-8.
The Redhawks were led by Talisa Rhea's 28 points, while Ashley Ward added 20. Kacie Sowell added 10 points with a game-high 18 rebounds.
Seattle opened to a 15-6 lead five minutes in as turnovers plagued the Tigers early. Seattle forced six turnovers on the Tigers' first 11 possessions. Pacific answered with six-straight points as Wakefield tallied a fast-break lay-up, Brianna Johnson scored on a put-back Gena Johnson added a pair of free throws. But Rhea added two more three-pointers for Seattle, hitting her first five shots as Seattle surged ahead 21-13.
The Tigers went on an 11-3 run as Ashley Smith went to the line for two points, and Rodriguez drained a three as the Tigers pulled within three, 21-18. Rodriguez hit a jumper to knot the game at 24-24, and then Smith scored while being fouled to give the Tigers the lead, 27-24, on the and-one free throw.
Wakefield posted a steal and a lay-up for a five-point lead, 29-24, but Sylvia Shephard posted a lay-up for the Redhawks to trim the margin. McKenzie responded with a three-pointer, and Rodriguez scored on a lay-up after Sam Pettinger ripped off a backcourt steal to restore the six-point advantage. But Rhea struck again with her fourth three-pointer to cut the Tiger lead to 36-33 at the half.
Rhea connected on seven-of-eight, including four-of-five from three point-range, for a game-high 18 points at half. But the Tigers held the rest of her teammates to seven-of-23 (30.4 percent) and 15 points.
Pacific shot 46.4 percent in the first half, while posting 22 points in the paint. Rodriguez connected on five-of-six from the field herself for a team-leading 11 points at intermission.
The Tigers opened the second half with a 12-5 run, hitting six of their first 10 shots to take a 10-point lead, 48-38, four minutes in.
The Redhawks cut into the Pacific lead, as Rhea hit a pair of lay-ups, while Ward hit a jumper and added a three-pointer to cut the Tigers lead to 58-53. Seattle pulled in front, 63-62, before McKenzie drove to the hoop for the lead with 4:06 to go. Rhea got to the line for two points giving the Redhawks the advantage, and after a defensive stop, Sowell's put-back stretched the margin to three with 1:31 to go.
Wakefield and Ward traded buckets inside as the clock wound down, and McKenzie – just two-for-12 shooting at the point -- spotted up from 25 feet to nail the game-tying basket with 30.4 seconds remaining.
The Tigers held strong on the defensive end, as Wakefield forced a turnover, but with a 1.8-second final possession in regular, the game went to overtime tied at 71-71.
Rhea and Gena Johnson traded baskets in overtime, and Johnson recorded the steal and lay-up for a 75-73 lead. But Sowell posted the put-back for the tie with 2:49 left. Kenyon scored a basket inside, and then pulled down the defensive board while being fouled. Her free throws gave the Tigers a 79-75 advantage with 1:46 remaining, the Redhawks answered again, as Daidra Brown hit a pair of free throws. And after a turnover, Elle Kerfoot hit a jumper with 24 seconds remaining for the sixth tie of the ballgame.
Without calling timeout, the Tigers ran one final play, clearing out for Wakefield, who drove baseline and delivered the kiss off the glass for the win.
"Coach called the play for me. We practice it all the time, and I just hit the bank shot," Wakefield said. "It was awesome. It was a great win for our team and it felt great to hit that shot at the buzzer -- well, almost the buzzer."
"I didn't want to call timeout because I knew they'd change defenses on us," Roberts explained. "We just ran an 'iso' play and [Wakefield] made a tremendous basket. It was an exciting game."
Pacific (3-2 Big West) returns to conference play on Saturday, at UC Davis in a 2 p.m. tip-off.