The Pacific Tigers women’s basketball team is determined to play the best women's basketball in the country, and they just beat Nevada Wolf Pack 75-70 in the first of a six-game stretch against solid division one women’s basketball teams.
The Tigers pulled off an upset after being down by 10 points with 2:12 seconds to play. They also had an opportunity to win it in regulation but Kendall Rodriguez couldn’t convert a layup with five seconds left on the clock.
Gena Johnson played with relentless fire throughout the game, as she converted a jumper in the paint to tie the game at 62-62. She continued to find her favorite target sharp shooter Erica McKenzie, who put a dagger in the Wolf Pack hopes with two big three-point shots in the final minute to send the game into overtime.
Ashley Wakefield hit a jumper in overtime to give the Tigers the lead, and they closed out the show by converting seven of eight free throws to seal the 75-70 victory.
Pacific head coach Lynne Roberts wasn’t shy about playing the best in the country, which was evident when she added the national power UConn Huskies women’s team for a game last season. It was the first women’s basketball sellout crowd at Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton, and they visited the Huskies on the home floor this season.
The rule of thumb is that most head coaches like to schedule easy games in their preseason with the hopes of getting a bid into the NCAA tournament, but Roberts has a different strategy in mind. She’s scheduled Nevada, Florida, San Diego, Fresno State, Eastern Washington and Air Force in a brutal six-game stretch.
The Tigers have played well this season and their 3-3 record poorly reflects how good they really are as a team, because two of the losses to St. Mary’s 68-67 and Fairfield 56-47 were by a total of 10 points. Those are games they could have easily won with better possession basketball, and have been sitting at 5-1 record for the season.
The team has responded with two wins over Cal State Bakersfield 96-73 and Southern Illinois Edwardsville 78-68, and won their third straight on the road against a determined Nevada team.
The Tigers were led by junior McKenzie 19 points, Wakefield 17 points and Johnson 15 points and four assists.
This team is really playing well, and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if they land a bid in the NCAA or NIT tournament this year.
Roberts has no fear. She’s looking forward to hosting the SEC Conference Florida Gators on Friday December 9, at the Alex G. Spanos Center.