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’ comeback effort falls short in loss at UC Davis

DAVIS, Calif. – The Long Beach State women’s basketball team was forced to come from behind for a second time in as many games this week, but the final result yielded a different outcome as it lost to UC Davis, 63-60.

Unlike the game against UC Irvine on Thursday, the 49ers were unable to extend their lead to anything of significance because of a rough night shooting and an inability to establish themselves at the free throw line.

However, despite the rough night on offense in which the 49ers shot just 35.6 percent compared to the Aggies 44.2 percent, The Beach was presented with multiple chances to take the game late thanks to a healthy combination of good team defense and unforced turnovers by UC Davis.

“We dug ourselves into a hole, and they played really well in the first half,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “We were able to recover on defense in the second half and our presses were really good.”

With about eight minutes left in in the first half, a rare four-point play by Idit Oryon sparked a 17-2 run for the Aggies and would eventually hold a 39-28 advantage at the half.

Long Beach State has a chance to send the game into overtime, but missed threes leads to a 63-60 loss. 

49er women use late runs to force overtime, beat UC Irvine

Basketball is a game of runs. For the Long Beach State women’s basketball team, it made runs when it mattered most Thursday afternoon, winning 84-75 over UC Irvine.

The black and blue rivalry game certainly fit the billing as LBSU beached the Anteaters in overtime after the 49ers made an 11-2 run to force the extra period.

With 3:30 left on the clock in the second half and the momentum in UC Irvine’s possession, the ‘Niners not only established a run to force the game to overtime, but also continued that run into overtime. A Jade Wilson jumper sparked a 12-3 run that led to the nine-point victory in both teams’ Big West opener.

Not only were their runs impressive on the offensive end, the ‘Niners made stops when they needed to and held UCI without a field goal in the final five minutes. “We didn’t quit,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “We made big plays and got big stops as time was winding down in regulation.”

Long Beach State comes back to beat the Anteaters, 84-75. 

49ers advance to Beach Classic finals

The Long Beach State women’s basketball team won its first game of the Beach Classic with all three captains scoring in double figures for the first time this season.

Juniors Hallie Meneses, Alex Sanchez and Ella Clark were three of five players to score in double figures on the evening, and it was their impressive shooting in the second half that ensured the 73-61 first round victory and never let the Spiders see the lead.

“I hope we’re setting the example for our team,” Meneses said. “When we’re in it, we want [everyone else] to be in it. It doesn’t have to be scoring, it could just be defensively.”

Before the second half got underway, Game 1 of the Beach Classic was available for the taking, with LBSU not fully in control of the game despite a 40 percent field goal percentage compared to Richmond’s 27 percent.

“I don’t remember talking about any bad shots after I do in certain games, and that’s the extra ball movement,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “Certainly taking good shots also helped the percentages.”

The Spiders, who beat Miami and Virginia Tech in their buildings this year, were able to put up eight more shots than The Beach in the first half, but the 49ers made better use of their shots, scoring two more baskets than the Spiders in the half.

The scoring difference in both halves came down to baskets in the paint, as LBSU had 14 points compared to Richmond’s eight, a six-point difference at the half when the 49ers had the 30-25 edge.

At the end of 40 minutes, the 49ers had a 12-point lead in both the final score and points in the paint totals. The 49ers got the game started off how they’d love to start every game: keeping their opponent to four points in the first eight minutes. During that stretch, The Beach scored 7 unanswered, to give themselves a cushion to work with.

However, given the game of runs that basketball is, the Spiders were able to chip away at the lead to bring the game within one. And anytime the game got close the 49ers fought back on both ends and established a lead that flirted around double-digits for the majority of the night.

The 49ers saw a season-high five players score in double figures

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.

49ers women take down RedHawks in finals week showdown


Long Beach State takes down LMU in home opener

The rim appeared to be ocean-sized for the Long Beach State women’s basketball team in Saturday night’s home opener, as the 49ers shot 57 percent from three to help them get their first win against Loyola Marymount since 1996.

In a game that was back-and-forth in the first half, LBSU remained consistent from downtown while LMU was unable to maintain the same consistency in the second half.
49er juniors Lauren Spargo and Hallie Meneses kept The Beach (2-2) on top early and nailed six of their nine attempts from long distance.

Lions’ senior guard Hazel Ramirez helped the Lions keep the game close in the first half, as she was able to connect on both of her three-point attempts in the first 20 minutes.

Long Beach State takes down LMU in home opener

Unfortunately for LMU (1-4), Ramirez was unable to keep up with the 49ers pace from beyond the arc, finishing the game 2-for-5 from long distance. But even with her poor shooting late, Ramirez was able to make it a game when most of the 1,723 people in the stands thought it was over.

“[Ramirez] is a smart, crafty senior point guard that knows how to get fouls and unfortunately we celebrated being up,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “We just let up. I thought our second half defense — outside of the last three and a half minutes — was outstanding team defense. I just think we let up and you can’t do that against a great player like Hazel Ramirez.”

Improved team defense in the second half helped LBSU extend a lead that was in the 49ers’ possession for the majority of the game, and better performances from the upperclassman helped the 49ers garner their second straight victory.

Although her offensive numbers weren’t overly impressive, what Alex Sanchez did on the defensive end played a large role in how the game played out. Her six steals in the contest were a career best, and she was able to register 26 minutes without a single turnover.

“Alex has a great nose for the ball,” Wynn said. “She just makes plays. She might not have 20 points and 10 rebounds, but she’s going to do a little bit of everything throughout the game.”

Freshman forward Raven Benton grabbed 10 boards to go along with a team-high 16 points in her first game at home. It was the first time a freshman registered a double-double in her first game at the Pyramid since Brandi Henton did it in 2010.

“It feels great to win at home in my first home game,” Benton said. “As a team, coming together and getting the win just makes me happy.”

The hot start helped LBSU get to .500 for the first time since last season.

“I’ve always felt we could shoot the ball,” Wynn said, “but I don’t think we’ve had the confidence in ourselves all the time to shoot well consistently … They shot the ball well tonight, but it’s just one game.”

Next Saturday the 49ers will be looking to move above .500 for the first time this year as they host Pepperdine. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

‘Niners defeat Dons in double OT

The third time was the charm for the Long Beach State women’s basketball team Sunday afternoon in a double-overtime thriller against San Francisco.

The 49ers (1-2) traveled to San Francisco on Sunday looking for their first win of the year after opening a three-game road stint with losses to Cal and Nevada. Thanks in large part to impressive showings from freshman Raven Benton and junior guard Alex Sanchez, the 49ers were able to earn their first win of the season, winning 85-82.

Raven Benton (20) played a key role in Sunday's game and it was the third time this season that a freshman lead the team in scoring.

Raven Benton (20) played a key role in Sunday’s game and it was the third time this season that a freshman lead the team in scoring.

Before LBSU suited up to play San Francisco (1-2) on Sunday, the only lead the team had held this year was in the season opener against Cal. An Alex Sanchez free throw gave the 49ers a 1-0 lead that ended up lasting just seven seconds in that ended up lasting just seven seconds in that game.

The 49ers showcased an aggressiveness on defense that was yet to be seen before Sunday afternoon. That aggressiveness combined with a bunch of forced passes from San Francisco allowed the 49ers to go into the locker room with a lead at the half for the first time this season.

“We were pretty successful with our presses,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “Not only did it slow them down a little bit, but we were able to create turnovers off our presses and our defense ignited our offense.”

With 51 seconds left in the game and LBSU leading 60-55, San Francisco’s Taylor Proctor netted a three to make it a one-possession game.

San Francisco native Hallie Meneses tried to answer back with a three of her own but came up short. The missed shot was rebounded by Benton, who got the ball out of the post before San Francisco intentionally fouled Sanchez to send her to the line.

Sanchez made the first and missed the second, allowing a three-pointer by San Francisco player and Long Beach native Taj Winston to send the game into overtime deadlocked at 61.

“In the first half [Winston] had two points but had nine monster rebounds, and she really turned it on in the second half and overtime,” coach Wynn said. “She tried to put her team on her back. She nailed some big, big threes tonight.”

LBSU took an early lead in the first overtime thanks to five points by Benton. Unfortunately for The Beach, Proctor’s free throws at the 15-second mark sent it into a second overtime.

After Sanchez missed a three to finish the first overtime, the 5-10 guard scored four of LBSU’s first seven to open the second overtime.

For more than two minutes of the second overtime, neither team missed. San Francisco’s Winston hit a three that Lauren Spargo quickly matched, making it a 75-73 game.

Winston, who struggled offensively to start the game, hit a jumper that was answered by a Sanchez layup made possible because of a post-up hesitation move. The Dons’ Rachel Howard scored a three of her own which was again answered back by Spargo to make it 80-78.

Missed threes by San Francisco allowed the ‘Niners to pad its lead, and a Madison Montgomery offensive rebound on her own missed free throw sealed the win for LBSU.

“It was a total team win,” Wynn said. “Even the kids in street clothes were big factors tonight keeping the energy high. Our team was resilient, and I’m just very proud of their overall mental toughness throughout the game.”

LBSU was lead by both Sanchez and Benton, who each scored season-highs. Benton accounted for 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting and collected nine rebounds. Sanchez tallied 19 points and had seven boards to go along with four assists and two steals.

The ‘Niners are set to play their first home game this Saturday against Loyola Marymount.