After a three-game stint of road games to start the season, the Long Beach State women’s basketball team will finally play a home game when it hosts Loyola Marymount on Saturday.
Coming off an impressive double-overtime road win against San Francisco that earned The Beach its first victory, LBSU (1-3) will look to gain momentum in three consecutive games set to be played at the Walter Pyramid.
The 49ers will try to snap a 12-game losing streak against LMU (1-2) that dates back to 1996, a year when some of the current freshman were still in diapers.
Luckily for head coach Jody Wynn, her freshmen are all out of diapers now and have played key roles in each of the 49ers’ first three games. Raven Benton led the team in scoring against San Francisco, Bree Throop led the 49ers in scoring against Reno, and fellow freshman Anna Kim was the second-highest scorer on the team in her collegiate debut against California.
“At San Francisco, Raven [Benton] was in a bit of a zone, and it didn’t surprise me,” Wynn said. “All five of our freshmen are expected to be good contributors, and we feel they all have the ability to score the ball. I’m proud of how they went out and played as hard as they could.”
Like the ‘Niners, the Lions won their first game of the season last weekend, beating New Mexico State 81-64.
LMU’s leading scorer, Deanna Johnson, is averaging 11.3 points per game coming into the contest. Senior point guard Hazel Ramirez is the team’s leader, and Wynn said she is well aware of that coming into Saturday’s matchup.
“LMU’s got a fantastic point guard in Hazel Ramirez,” Wynn said. “They like to score in transition, and not only are their perimeter players good athletes that can get to the rim, but their forwards are [good] as well.”
Ramirez is averaging 11 points per game to go along with a team-best 3.7 assists per outing.
The Lions’ Mackenzie Kerins will also be someone to keep an eye on in the post, as she’s currently leading her team with 9.3 rebounds a game.
As much as Wynn and her staff like to see their freshmen perform well to start the season, the upperclassmen will need to improve their play for this team to win consistently.
“You can have great effort in wins and losses, but it’s effort combined with performance that will lead a team to a championship,” Wynn said. “I think we’re getting the effort, but it’s early, so our performances aren’t all there. As long as we’re peaking in March, we’ll be okay.”
The 49ers are set to host the Lions Saturday at 4 p.m.