Pacific Wraps Regular Season at Northridge With BWC Berth On The Line
March 3, 2011
STOCKTON, Calif. - The Pacific Tigers visit Cal State Northridge Saturday at 4 p.m. in the regular season women's basketball finale. The Tigers need a win over the Matadors to secure a spot in the Big West Tournament.
Pacific (7-21 overall, 4-10 Big West) sit one half game back of Cal State Northridge (4-24 overall, 4-11 Big West), with the Matadors facing UC Davis on Thursday in Northridge. Should CS Northridge beat UC Davis, the Tigers would need a UC Davis victory over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday coupled with a win over the Matadors to advance to the Big West quarterfinals. Should Pacific qualify, the Tigers would visit either Cal Poly or UC Santa Barbara, who are vying for the top seed in the conference.
With the conference tournament slot on the line, Saturday's game should be a hotly contested battle. And if recent history is any indication, may not be settled in a mere 40 minutes. The last three meetings with Cal State Northridge have gone to overtime, including one double-overtime contest. Pacific won both meetings in 2010: 76-70 in Northridge and 93-89 in the Spanos Center in double-overtime. This season, Pacific rallied from down 13 points in the second half, and had the ball with a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but committed a shot-clock violation with 3.5 seconds to go as the Tigers forced overtime. Tied in the extra session at 62-62, Northridge out-scored Pacific 12-6 the rest of the way for the victory, 74-68.
That contest was prior to the emergence of freshman guard Gena Johnson (Elk Grove, Calif.). Johnson entered that contest with a scoring average of 5.9 points per game through the Tigers first 13 games. In her last 12 games, Johnson is averaging 13.1 points per game, shooting 47 percent from the field and has recorded 18 blocked shots.
In the Dec. 31 match-up with the Matadors, junior forward/center Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.) tallied a season-high 20 points on nine-of-13 shooting from the field. Senior guard Jennifer Fath (Carrollton, Texas) added 13 points with three assists and sophomore forward Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) chipped in eight points with nine rebounds.
The Tigers will need to lock down Cal State Northridge defensively, as the Matadors emerged with the overtime win on Dec. 31 by shooting 48 percent for the game, including 57 percent in the overtime session. Pacific is 1-16 this season when allowing 69 or more points, while 6-5 when holding opponents to 68 or less. The Tigers are 5-4 when they score 69 or more points, and 2-17 when held to fewer.
The Big West Conference tournament, presented by am/pm, will open on Tuesday, March 8, on campus sites of the top four seeds. Pacific would play at either Cal Poly or UC Santa Barbara should they qualify for the quarterfinals. The semifinals and finals will be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. on March 11 and 12.