Tigers take two!
The Pacific women’s basketball team protected the house admirably over the weekend, picking up wins against two conference opponents at the Alex G. Spanos Center to extend their current win streak to three games.
The Tigers’ wins came in diametrically opposed fashions: They dominated Thursday’s game against the Portland Pilots by a score of a 87-38, and on Saturday they ground out a victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs in an overtime thriller, 84-83.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead against the Pilots on Thursday, and the home team never looked back. The women put on a clinic all night, shooting 54 percent as a team while holding the Pilots to just 24 percent shooting.
The Tigers also out-rebounded Portland 48-25 and forced the opposition into 17 turnovers. At one point, Pacific led by an astounding 53 points.
Guard Najah Queenland ’18 recorded the first double-double of her collegiate career, contributing 14 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Forward Mauriana Clayton ’17 picked up a double-double as well, with a line of 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Tigers also got valuable minutes out of guard Hailie Eackles ’16, who put up 13 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Saturday’s game was a much different story for the Tigers, but it ended with the same result. The teams traded punches in the early goings; there ended up being 18 lead changes throughout the game.
In the third quarter, though, it looked like the game might slip away from the Tigers when they fell behind by 13 points at the 9:02 mark. Instead, the women went on to mount their biggest comeback since 1983.
The Tigers recovered from their slow start to the third and went on to outscore the Bulldogs 19-15 in the quarter. At the start of the fourth, a layup by Clayton and a three-pointer from forward Erin Butler ’16 cut the Bulldog lead to two, but the Bulldogs continued to maintain their lead until Queenland connected on a three with 2:43 left in the fourth to give the Tigers a 67-66 lead.
The two teams then traded leads three more times before forward Emily Simmons ’17 hit one from beyond the arc with 33 seconds left that gave the lead back to the Tigers, 72-70. Gonzaga’s Laura Stockton quickly responded with a game-tying layup; a last-second attempt by Queenland was no good.
The game went on to overtime with the teams deadlocked at 72 apiece. As overtime progressed, the Bulldogs started to pull away from the home team, but at the 3:18 mark Queenland again hit a three to put the Tigers back within two.
A minute later, guard GeAnna Luaulu-Summers tied the game at 73 with a triple. Gonzaga responded with a field goal, and Queenland hit one of two free throws on the other end to make it 81-82 in favor of the Bulldogs with less than a minute left.
It was at this crucial point in the game that forward Desire Finnie ’18 took over. On the ensuing possession, intense defensive pressure by Queenland on Laura Stockton allowed Finnie to steal the ball and break away for a layup. Gonzaga scored a bucket on the other end to give them an 83-84 lead, and Pacific had one more chance to steal the victory.
Finnie took the ball and backed down a Bulldog defender until she was about 13 feet out, then rose above her opponent to drain what would be the game-winning basket with 4.8 seconds to go. The Tigers then stopped Gonzaga on the other end and emerged with the 84-83 victory.
Finnie led the Tigers in scoring with 22 points. Eackles scored 14, added four assists and had three steals. Queenland also scored 14 to go along with six assists and seven rebounds. Clayton, Butler and guard Chelsea Lidy ’19 all scored six points each.
The Tigers improved to 13-14 on the season and 6-10 in Conference with the two victories. They will have a chance to extend their win streak to four games tonight in San Francisco when they take on the Dons at 7 p.m.
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