Defense Sparks Pacific Women’s Hoops To 63-46 Win Over UC Riverside
Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific women's basketball team forced 26 turnovers and held UC Riverside to 15 points in the first half as the Tigers won their third in a row, 63-46, Thursday night at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Freshman center Kendall Kenyon turned in her fifth career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while junior forward Ashley Smith added nine points and nine rebounds.
Pacific improves to 13-9 overall, 6-4 in the Big West and 8-2 in the Spanos Center.
Kenyon tied her career-highs in points and rebounds, while Smith set a new career-best in rebounds. Freshman guard Claire Conricode (six) and junior guard Kelli Lewis (three) also tied their career-high scoring outputs in the contest.
The Tigers had a lower field goal percentage than the Highlanders, (35.5 to 37.5) but attempted 14 more field goals (62-48) thanks to 26 Riverside turnovers, leading to 29 Pacific points. The Tigers also racked up 36 points in the paint and held a 44-39 rebounding advantage.
Sophomore guard Gena Johnson added seven points and four assists while sophomore guard Sam Pettinger handed out five assists, grabbed five rebounds and recorded three steals. Junior forward Kendall Rodriguez chipped in six points with seven boards to go with a pair of steals. Junior guard Erica McKenzie added five points and four assists.
Kenyon scored the Tigers' first six points and grabbed seven rebounds in five minutes and Kristina Johnson hit a three-pointer from the corner for a 9-6 lead.
Sam Pettinger, Ashley Smith and Erica McKenzie posted lay-ups as the Tigers as the Tigers embarked on an 11-0 run, capped by a lay-in from the backdoor cutting Claire Conricode.
Pacific forced nine turnovers on the Highlanders first 16 possessions to take a 17-6 lead with 11:40 to go in the first.
After a bucket inside from the Natasha Hadley pulled UCR within nine, Conricode knocked down a triple from the wing for a 20-8 advantage.
Kenyon tallied inside twice as Pacific pushed the margin to 26-13, before UCR's Tre'Shonti Nottingham knocked down a jumper. Kendall Rodriguez's lay-up provided a 28-15 lead at half.
The 15 points was the fewest allowed in any half by the Tigers' this season. The Tigers forced 17 first half turnovers on 35 UC Riverside possessions. Pacific scored 18 points off those miscues.
In the second half, Pacific maintained a double-digit advantage, as Smith pried away a trio of tie-ups, and McKenzie drained a three pointer and Smith scored inside off a feed from McKenzie for a 47-31 lead with 10:02 to go.
Smith capped the 12-2 run with a lay-up at the 8:48 mark and Kenyon tallied again for a 20-point advantage, 53-33, with 6:08 remaining.
Jamila Williams pulled Riverside to within 15 with an 'and-one' free throw, but Lewis' three-pointer with the shot clock winding down at the 2:16 mark sealed the win for the Tigers.
Riverside, which had won three of four entering the game, falls to 5-18 on the year, 3-8 in the Big West.
The Tigers will play host to UC Irvine on Saturday, at 5 p.m. in a double-header with the Pacific men's team, as Pacific Plays Pink. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game as the Tigers team with St. Joseph's Medical Center in the fight against breast cancer.