CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Cal State Fullerton women fall short in Big West tournament

Erica McKenzie scores a three-pointer with seven seconds remaining to give top-seeded Pacific a 54-51 victory over No. 8 Fullerton in a semifinal. Pacific will play No. 2 Cal Poly in the championship.

Cal State Fullerton's longshot bid to win the Big West Conference women's basketball tournament came up three points short.

Erica McKenzie's three-point basket with seven seconds left Friday gave top-seeded Pacific a dramatic 54-51 victory over No. 8 Fullerton at the Honda Center.

Pacific (25-6) will play in Saturday's 1 p.m. championship game against No. 2 Cal Poly, a 62-43 winner over UC Santa Barbara.

Fullerton, which finished the season 11-22, made it to the semifinals after upset wins over No. 5 Long Beach State and No. 3 Hawaii. But McKenzie's shot abruptly ended Fullerton's NCAA tournament dreams.

"It took a great shot to win the game," Fullerton Coach Marcia Foster said. "It was going to take a great shot to beat us today because we were playing with so much heart."

McKenzie led Pacific with a game-high 25 points, hitting eight of 14 three-point attempts. Kathleen Iwuoha led Fullerton with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Chante Miles added 10 points and five rebounds.

In the other semifinal, Cal Poly (20-10) outscored Santa Barbara (16-16) by 16 points in the second, 40-24, to break open a close game.

Cal Poly's Molly Schlemer led all scorers with 26 points while adding nine rebounds.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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