Men’s and Women’s Basketball Make Noise at WCC Tournament

The Tiger bench erupts in a cheer during a contest against UCF. PC: Pacific Athletic Relations

The month of March is a festive one with many students here at Pacific excited for spring break, ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and filling out their brackets for March Madness.

Regardless of if you are in Cabo for spring break, trying to find as much green to wear as possible or trying to predict upsets for this year’s NCAA tournament, there is no better way to start this month than enjoying the last bit of Pacific Tigers basketball. Both the men’s and women’s teams made it to the West Coast Conference tournament and outperformed what their seedings may have suggested.

We start with the women’s team, which was the seventh seed in the tournament and faced off with Portland (7-23) in the opening round. The Tigers came out on top convincingly with a 85-60 win, lead by Desire Finnie ‘18 and her 21 points that had Pacific in cruise control from the get go.

A dominant first half coupled with 42 percent shooting from beyond the arc as a team left the Pilots with no chance. The victory meant Pacific would advance to face the second-seed St. Mary’s, a team favored and expected to go all the way this year. Standing at a record of 20-10, the second seed may have already had their sights set for the semifinals and expected to advance past the Tigers.

Nevertheless, Desire Finnie came through with 25 points and a strong defensive performance to force St. Mary’s to 29 turnovers, helping Pacific earn the victory. Despite being outshot 47% to 37% and out-rebounded 50-28, the Tigers showcased strong resiliency and fighting spirit to pull away at the end of the fourth quarter.

After making headlines for the upset, the team faced off against the University of San Diego the following Monday in the semifinals. The Tigers fell to the Toreros in a tough defensive matchup with both teams struggling on the offensive end.

Despite the loss, the women’s basketball team can hold their heads high; they played tough, physical, team basketball. The team’s performance during the postseason and regular season did not go unnoticed as multiple players received honors, most notably GeAnna Lualu Summers earning All-tournament honors and being ranked nationally in multiple statistical categories.

Roberto Gallinat ’20 drives for a layup against LMU. PC: Pacific Athletic Relations.

The men’s team concluded the season at a 14-18 overall record and a 9-9 in the West Coast Conference and took on the University of San Francisco Saturday evening at the Orleans Arena.

It was a tight contest that included a buzzer beater put back by Anthony Townes ‘19 to take the game to overtime, where the Tigers eventually fell 71-70 to the Dons.

Miles Reynolds ‘19 led the team with 20 points, and Jahlil Tripp ‘20 with 11 rebounds had impressive performances to cap a successful season for Pacific. Despite four losses at the end of the season, the Tigers had their best record since joining the West Coast Conference in 2013-2014.

Individual accolades were collected across the board as four players were named in the postseason honors list.

Namdi Okonkwo ‘18 earned Conference Defensive Player of the Year Jahlil Tripp was named to the WCC second team, and Roberto Gallinat ‘20 and Miles Reynolds ‘20 were named honorable mentions.

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