Tigers Rally, Hold Off Titans' Charge

Feb. 4, 2012

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FULLERTON, CA - Pacific's Gena Johnson finished with a team-high 15 points and Kristina Johnson's bucket midway through the second half gave the Tigers the lead for good as they held off a late Cal State Fullerton rally to escape Titan Gym with a 69-64 win on Saturday afternoon.

The loss dropped the Titans to 9-13 overall and 2-8 in the Big West Conference as all eight of their league defeats have been by seven points or fewer. Pacific improved to 12-9 overall and 5-4 in the Big West with the victory.

After being held to just six points in Wednesday night's loss to UC Davis, senior Megan Richardson exploded for a game-high 25 points, needing 22 shots to get there, in 32 minutes. Freshman Kathleen Iwuoha joined her in double figures with 10 points, but Fullerton was held to just 37 percent from the floor to the Tigers' 42 percent.

Fullerton trailed by as many as 17 points in the opening period with 8:39 to play, but closed the first half with a 13-5 burst to trail by only seven points, 40-33, at the break. A 9-3 run out of the gates to start the second half had the Titans to within a point four minutes in and they eventually rallied to tie the game at 47-47 on a three-pointer by freshman Tailer Butler two minutes later.

Trading baskets, Butler tied it once again with a second three-pointer and, after two free throws by Kendall Rodriguez, Lauren Chow answered with another three-pointer to give Fullerton its first lead of the game, 55-54, with 10:59 to play. Kristina Johnson then scored on the Tigers' next trip down the court and Pacific would never trail, although Fullerton would threaten.

Iwuoha scored back-to-back buckets to make it 59-59 with just under eight minutes to play and Richardson's late three with under two minutes to play made it a three-point contest at 67-64. Pacific missed twice and turned the ball over on its next trip down the court, but the Titans could not capitalize, misfiring from long range on its next sequence.

Fullerton, however, would be given a reprieve, forcing a jump ball with the Tigers trying to run down the clock, setting up a final chance. The Titans had two looks, but Richardson was forced inside, settling for a two-pointer, but the shot rimmed out and Pacific corralled the rebound. Rodriguez then sank two free throws to cap the scoring.

Rodriguez (12) and Kristina Johnson (11) also finished in double figures for Pacific, which outrebounded Fullerton, 43-33, and survived 21 turnovers.

The Titans head to the Central Coast next week for a pair of road games as they take on UC Santa Barbara on Thursday (Feb. 9) at 7 p.m. and Cal Poly on Saturday (Feb. 11) at 4 p.m.

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