Lions Outlast Tigers in 2OT
Deanna Johnson netted her 1,000th career point and the Lions topped Pacific, 96-88, in double overtime.
LOS ANGELES - It began as a night in which both the LMU and Pacific women's basketball teams donned pink uniforms in support of the Play4Kay initiative to raise funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. And a night where senior Deanna Johnson was chasing her 1,000th career point.
What unfolded was all of that plus 13 lead changes, 14 tie scores, nine total double-digit scorers and two extra periods of basketball. When the dust settled, it was the Lions (9-16, 5-9 WCC) who outlasted the Tigers, 96-88, earning their second straight West Coast Conference victory and a season sweep of Pacific (10-14, 3-10 WCC).
Johnson, who scored her 1,000th career point early in the third quarter, finished the night with a game-high 22 points, including a 14-of-15 performance from the charity stripe. Fittingly, her 1,000th point would come at the free-throw line as her second of two shots at the 6:44 mark of the third quarter marked her eighth point of the night. She becomes the first 1000-point scorer for the Lions since Hazel Ramirez (2010-14) and she is just the 14th Lion all-time to achieve the feat.
Junior Leslie Lopez-Wood notched her second straight 20-pint effort while senior Sophie Taylor had a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double. Freshman Cheyenne Wallace came off the bench for her first career double-double, finishing with 11 points and 10 boards. She also added a career high five assists.
Pacific was paced by GeAnna Luaula-Summers' 16 points. Hailie Eackles had 14 before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Chelsea Lidy came off the bench to score 13 points before also fouling out late in the contest.
The Tigers led for much of the first quarter before a Marcella Hughes capped an 8-2 run and gave the Lions a 24-22 lead headed into the first break. The Lions stretched their lead to as many as seven in the second quarter as a Makenzie Cast three made it 38-31 with 5:05 to play. Pacific would close out the period on a 10-2 run, however, taking a 41-40 lead into the half.
The third quarter saw the Tigers heat up, hitting 8-of-14 from the field while the Lions managed just 3-of-16. But free throws kept things close as LMU was 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in the period.
Big shot after big shot in the fourth quarter was capped by Johnson draining a runner in the lane with 49 seconds remaining, knotting the score at 76-76. The Tigers had a pair of looks at a potential game-winner in the final 20 seconds, but could get neither shot to fall, sending the game into overtime.
The teams traded buckets in the first five-minute overtime, forcing a second extra period with the score tied at 83-83. It was then that the Lions took over. Wallace scored four points, and Lopez-Wood and Taylor each added a basket as LMU opened the frame with an 9-0 run.
Desire Finnie stopped the bleeding with a layup with 1:13 to play, but it was too little too late. The Lions would hit 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final minute to secure the victory.
LMU is back in Gersten Pavilion for the final time this 2015-16 season on Saturday, hosting WCC rival Saint Mary's. The Lion senior duo of Johnson and Taylor will be honored prior to the 2 p.m. tip off.
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