Dec. 29, 2011
STOCKTON, CA - Pacific's Gena Johnson completed a three-point play with 1:40 remaining in the game to erase a one-point deficit and Ashley Wakefield scored inside with less than a minute to play to give her team some breathing room as the Tigers held off visiting Cal State Fullerton, 72-67, on Thursday night in the Big West Conference opener for both teams at the Spanos Center in Stockton, Calif.
The Titans (6-6 overall, 0-1 in the Big West) saw their three-game winning streak snapped with the loss despite senior Megan Richardson's fourth-consecutive 20-point scoring performance and 16 points from sophomore Alex Thomas.
Wakefield led Pacific (7-5, 1-0) with a team-high 15 points, pacing two other Tigers in double figures. Gena Johnson added 11 points and six rebounds while Kristina Johnson scored 10 more in the victory.
Fullerton, which trailed by four points at the break, trailed by as many as seven points in the second half with just under 14 minutes to play, but rallied to tie the score thanks to a 9-2 run capped by a three-pointer from Lauren Chow, making it 54-54 with 9:51 to go. The score would be tied once more, but the Tigers responded with an 8-2 spurt to make it a six-point, 64-58, contest with just under six minutes to play.
The Titans clawed their way back and Richardson gave them their first lead since the first minute of the game with a three-pointer at the 2:16 mark to make it 67-66 to set the stage for Gena Johnson's heroics. Christina Thompson gathered an offense rebound off a miss by Kendall Rodriguez and Johnson converted the second chance, fouled in the process, and hit the free throw to put Pacific back up by two.
On Fullerton's next possession, the Titans' worked the ball inside to Thomas, but Rodriguez knocked away the attempt and Wakefield drove the baseline to make it a two possession game. Rodriguez then hit 1-of-2 from the line in the closing seconds for the final margin.
Fullerton was held to just 34 percent from the field for the game, including just 31 percent in the second half, to the Tigers' 44 percent for the game. The Titans held a 46-41 advantage on the boards paced by Mya Olivier's game-high 11 rebounds.
Cal State Fullerton's Northern California road swing concludes on New Year's Eve as the Titans take on UC Davis on Saturday (Dec. 31) at 2 p.m. The game will be the Aggies' conference opener.