The 49ers were unable to keep the winning streak alive at the ASU Classic.
The Long Beach State women’s basketball team fell to Arizona State in overtime Sunday, one day after they rallied back from a 23-point deficit on Saturday against Harvard. The loss breaks the win streak that earned the 49ers their best start since 1991.
Amid the recent success to start the season, LBSU has been going into halftime with the lead for the majority of their games. But in the first game of the tournament against Harvard, the ‘Niners were given the new job of earning a come-from-behind win.
With the unexpected absence of LBSU’s leading scorer Lauren Spargo and Harvard’s leading scorer Christine Clark, both teams needed someone to step up and fill the void.
The ‘Niners struggled in the second half, falling behind by 23 points at the 16:15 mark. But the team made great use of its final 16 minutes and controlled the lead after a 27-5 run. LBSU went up 64-63 with just more than three minutes left in regulation.
Junior forward Ella Clark gave The Beach its first lead of the game, while her next trey was just enough to keep the 49ers on top for the rest of the game. The 49ers’ run was sparked by tough defensive play that resulted in 11 steals during that rally and a season-best 18 steals in the game.
The next day, LBSU was unable to surmount a much smaller halftime lead by tournament host ASU thanks in large part to a six-minute stretch in the second half where the 49ers failed to put any points on the board. A similar stretch in overtime allowed the Sun Devils to score seven unanswered points. That’s when ASU put the game away.
Although the 49ers were unable to win the game in overtime, The Beach made up for their six-minute drought with a 9-2 run late that brought the game to a 55-55 tie. After ASU attempted a 3-pointer to break the tie with 1:44 left in the game, junior guard Alex Sanchez broke the tie herself, scoring her 20th and 21st point on an afternoon in which she had a career-high 24 points.
The Sun Devils quickly answered back with a layup from Sophie Brunner. With 37 seconds left in the game, junior guard Hallie Meneses turned the ball over, leading to an intentional foul on ASU’s Brunner. After netting both free throws, the 49ers trailed by two with 10 seconds left on the clock.
Clark took her first shot at the tie with four seconds left but failed to convert. The team grabbed the offensive rebound, though, and proceeded to sink the basket that sent the game into overtime.
However, The Beach was unable to provide the consistent offense late and the Sun Devils jumped to an early seven-point lead. The 49ers were unable to make a viable run in the overtime, and ASU handed LBSU its first loss since Nov. 15.
Freshman forward Raven Benton was a key contributor in the weekend tournament, averaging 18.5 points per game during Spargo’s absence. Meneses had a tournament-high eight steals in the ASU Classic, but her nine turnovers against the Sun Devils made the game closer than it could have been. Poor rebounding also accounted for the loss to ASU, as the Sun Devils out-rebounded the 49ers, 46-31.
LBSU returns to the Walter Pyramid this Friday, hosting San Diego at 7 p.m. The 49ers will be looking to extend their win streak at home to four games.