Scouting reports convinced the Pacific and Long Beach State women’s basketball teams that rebounding would be the key in their opening-round game of the Big West Conference tournament Thursday night. And they were right, but Pacific used the information best.
The Tigers overwhelmed the 49ers in that area during their 90-80 victory at the Lawlor Events Center on the Nevada campus. The Tigers grabbed 49 rebounds to 32 for the 49ers, with a 24-10 edge in offensive rebounding.
“That was important,” Pacific Coach Melissa DeMarchi said. “We talked about getting good position [to rebound].”
Long Beach Coach Dallas Boychuk prepared her team too, but the results weren’t as good.
“That’s been a problem for us the last three or four games,” Boychuk said. “We’ve talked a lot about it.”
Forward Kim Barfield scored a game-high 29 points for fifth-seeded Long Beach, which finished 15-13. Barfield made 11 of 17 field-goal attempts and grabbed eight rebounds.
“Being outrebounded just killed us,” Barfield said. “It was a mental thing . . . that simple.”
Center Ja’net Davis, recently selected first-team all-conference, had 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Point guard Akia Hardy scored 13 points with 12 assists and two steals.
Forward Kate McAllister and center Leslie Cox each had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Tigers (17-11). Guard Tina Miteko scored 13 points with six assists and six rebounds, and guard Christina Randall had 18 points and six rebounds.
Pacific plays top-seeded UC Santa Barbara (22-5) in the semifinals at 12:30 p.m. today. Long Beach was picked to finish eighth in a preseason poll of conference coaches and exceeded expectations in Boychuk’s first season, but Boychuk says her team should have gone much further.
“I talked to a lot of coaches who said we were kind of the team to beat [in the tournament],” she said. “We had been playing fairly well over our last 10 or 12 games.”