Pacific teams post three big weekend upset victories
University of the Pacific athletic teams excelled in the clutch to spring major weekend upsets in men’s and women’s basketball and women’s water polo.
The Tiger men’s basketball team won with its sharpshooting, making 17 baskets from 3-point range en route to a 95-89 road victory Saturday at Santa Clara–one of the West Coast Conference’s top teams.
The women’s basketball team was in control for most of the game in a 79-66 triumph over traditional power Brigham Young University at the Alex G. Spanos Center.
The 19th-ranked Tiger women’s water polo team stunned No. 6 University of California, Irvine 12-11 while winning three of four matches in a tournament in Riverside.
Keylan Boone scored 27 points and made six 3-pointers to lead the Tiger men, who avenged a loss to Santa Clara two weeks ago. Luke Avdalovic added 23 points and made five 3-pointers.
The Tigers led most of the game, but Santa Clara pulled within 70-69 with seven minutes remaining. Pacific quickly pushed its lead to nine points and held on to improve its record to 11-12. Santa Clara is 16-7.
"We're playing at a very high level right now," Pacific Head Coach Leonard Perry said. "If we continue to protect the ball and share it, we can be one of the deepest teams in this league."
Judson Martindale and Donovan Williams also reached double figures for the Tigers, scoring 17 and 11 points, respectively.
Pacific ended a streak of nine consecutive losses to Brigham Young before a spirited Spanos Center crowd. Junior Liz Smith scored 21 points and senior Sam Ashby added 19 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
"The team did a great job rallying together," Pacific Head Coach Bradley Davis said. "It was just a good team win, coaches and players alike."
Pacific did not trail for the last 30 minutes of the game. Smith helped hold off BYU by scoring 10 points in the second quarter. The Tigers also made 12-of-13 free throws in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory and improve their record to 8-14. BYU is 12-10.
Pacific’s depth and ability to use different lineups were keys to the win, Davis said.
"For me, it is a reminder that we have a great deep bench, and we have to continue to put them out there,” he said. “For the whole team to get that kind of team win and know that they can trust each other and have faith in one another is just huge."
Freshman Dora Alaksza scored her fourth goal of the contest with 11 seconds remaining to give the Tigers the win in the back-and-forth contest between nationally ranked teams.
"This is an absolutely huge win for our program and a great way to start the season," said Head Coach James Graham. "UC Irvine is consistently one of the top programs in the country and to be able to come out with a win shows the progress that we are making. I was impressed by our ability to stay composed as the lead changed back and forth.”
The Tigers had seven steals, compared to three for the Anteaters. Senior goalkeeper Clara Vulpisi and freshman Noemi Alaksza each had two of the steals. Vulpisi had nine saves.
The Tigers also defeated Fresno-Pacific 24-8 and Biola 12-6 and lost to No. 2 USC 16-6 in the Lancer Joust Tournament.