Cal State Fullerton women fall short in Big West tournament

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.