49ers respond from loss to UCI with British Night win over UCR

The Long Beach State women’s basketball team split their games against UC Irvine and UC Riverside, falling at UCI 78-58 on Thursday before defeating the Highlanders at the Walter Pyramid, 65-52.

Both games featured slow starts out of the gate, with the 49ers not hitting double figures until the five-minute mark against the Anteaters. On Saturday, both teams managed to score just five points in the first seven minutes of play.

But while LBSU was unable to recover from their slow start on Thursday, freshmen Raven Benton and Anna Kim made sure the same couldn’t be said on British Night.

“Raven Benton did a really nice job,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “She got frustrated at times, but she got offensive rebounds and did a good job of controlling the glass. She finished around the rim really well, which then made her relax in terms of her perimeter game.”

Raven Benton comes off the bench to lead LBSU past the Highlanders.



49ers women take down RedHawks in finals week showdown


‘Twas one of the last days of finals when all through the ‘Mid, not a player was sinking shots as if there were a lid.

After a weekend in which the 49ers exchanged gifts among one another, the Long Beach State women’s basketball team continued to partake in this season of giving, handing Miami University (Ohio) its sixth loss of the season in a 76-61 game.

LBSU (6-4) used a balanced attack in the second half to make up for a first half in which there appeared to be a layer of cellophane covering the rim like holiday leftovers. However, head coach Jody Wynn credited the poor shooting effort in the first half to the Miami defense.

“They pack it in and force us to shoot a lot of shots because their defense took away a lot of our paint touches,” Wynn said. “Usually I’d have to say that [29 threes attempted] would be a few too many, however [Miami] dictated that.”

Despite the 49ers playing down to the level of competition on the offensive end at a 32.5 percent mark from the field compared to Miami’s 33.3 percent in the first, The Beach came out of the halftime break shooting a much improved 46.2 percent.

But because of poor rebounding and an injury to junior guard Alex Sanchez that sent the leading scorer in the first half to the bench prematurely, The Beach wasn’t able to close the door on the RedHawks until late.

“If we want to win day in and day out, we have to compete better off the glass,” Wynn said.

At the 3:05 mark in the second half, Miami cut the lead to ten on a three from Haley Robertson that was assisted by her sister, Hannah Robertson.

The 49ers were unable to answer back and the RedHawks scored on their following possession with a layup by Miami guard Kindsay Brandt to bring the game within eight.

But the 49ers scored nine points in the final 2:19 to give them the win in a week that includes a three game in five day stretch with the Beach Classic following their Friday night game against Richmond.

Four players scored in double figures for LBSU with freshman Raven Benton attributing 17 points in 17 minutes of action. Fellow freshman Anna Kim started her first game at point guard this season and stepped up in the absence of Sanchez, registering a season-high 16 points.

Hallie Meneses came off the bench and had her best night of the season, scoring 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting with 3-of-6 shots tickling the twine from beyond the arch.

“I knew my team needed me no matter what, starting or not starting, I just had to change my mindset.” Meneses said. “I realized that I wasn’t having my best shooting games but I just got some extra shots up with coach and he really fed in my head that I’m a good shooter and that’s something I needed.”

The 49ers will return to the court Friday to face a very physical team in Richmond that was a part of the postseason last year. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“Richmond is experienced, physical and tough minded. They move the ball really well and they’re a well-coached team. Our hands are gonna be full Friday night.”



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Long Beach State to play first home game Saturday

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.

Long Beach State to play first home game Saturday

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.”

Season box score 

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.



49er women fall to No. 9 Cal in season opener

The Long Beach State women’s basketball team was unable to make up for its poor first half in its season opener against the No. 9 California, falling to the Bears 70-51 at Haas Pavilion on Friday night.

Thanks in large part to a long offseason and possibly some opening-night jitters on both sides, the 49ers (0-1) kept the game close for much of the first-half and were down just five points before freshman guard Anna Kim went down with a knee injury.

At that point in the game, Kim accounted for more than half of LBSU’s points, and as soon as she left the game, Cal (1-0) seemed to catch a rhythm that reminded those in the arena why they deserved a top-10 ranking to begin with.

“Cal was just a better team,” coach Wynn said. “They’re a top-10 team in the nation and a legitimate Final Four contender. They [the 49ers] competed against probably the number one rebounding team in the nation and probably one the most, if not the most athletic team in the nation.”

49er women fall to No. 9 Cal in season opener


After back-to-back 3-pointers from Kim, the 49ers were unable to make a field goal in more than six minutes of action. In the closing seconds of the first half, a layup by junior guard Alex Sanchez concluded the 49ers’ dry spell.

“Credit Cal’s defense, but I think we had some wide-open looks that we just didn’t knock down,” Wynn said, “and maybe that couldn’t have changed the outcome, but if we shoot like we typically do in practice and in exhibition games, then it certainly could have been a little more competitive.”

In the second half the Bears came out of the locker room playing inspired basketball, scoring six points in just 64 seconds early on in the second half. Cal continued to add on to its lead in the second half with play that had more of a mid-season feel.

LBSU improved its quality of play on the offensive end, but inadequate defense and poor rebounding in the second half allowed Cal more opportunities to score. The 49ers registered 38 rebounds on the night compared to Cal’s 57.

The Bears shot 35.8 percent and were just 3-for-23 from 3-point range, while LBSU shot 30.3 percent from the field and was 6-for-24 from beyond the arc.

Cal senior guard Afure Jemerigbe led her team in scoring with 13 points, and Bears forward Reshanda Gray recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Despite both 49ers going down with injuries in the first half, Lauren Spargo led all players in scoring with 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting. Kim was the only other double-digit scorer on the evening, recording 11 points on the night. Kim was also the only 49er to shoot above 50 percent in the contest.

“Both Lauren and Anna went down in the first half and couldn’t finish that half,” Wynn said. “But they came back in the second half and both of those kids competed. They weren’t afraid of the big lights and they came in tough, got to the basket, made big shots for us and overall competed extremely hard.”

LBSU will return to action next week when it heads to Reno to face Nevada on Friday.