Sometimes there’s only so much studying you can do.
Undefeated San Diego proved to be the test the Long Beach State women’s basketball team knew it would be, as the Toreros handed the 49ers their ugliest loss of the season, 68-51.
In a game that started off a four-game home stand for LBSU, few things went well for The Beach as the 9-0 Toreros – who were voted second in the West Coast Conference coaches preseason poll – extended their winning streak while handing the ‘Niners their first loss at home.
“We struggled with rebounding, and we weren’t able to put the ball in the basket,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “The effort was there, the heart was there, but we just didn’t finish possessions.”
San Diego out-shot and out-rebounded LBSU to the point that the Toreros doubled the 49ers in both departments. USD was 31-for-56 (55.4%) on the night compared to LBSU’s 16-for-59 (27.1%) shooting. The rebound department was a similar story with the ‘Niners garnering a woeful 22 boards to the Toreros’ 49 rebounds.
Scoring buckets was like pulling teeth for The Beach and picking daisies for the Toreros, as nobody in black and gold shot 50 percent while six of eight players on the opposition shot 50 percent or more.
Part of the problem could be pointed at the injury/illness bug that saw Lauren Spargo in street clothes and forced Alex Sanchez to sit out the entire second half.
But despite those glaring issues, San Diego didn’t close the door on the 49ers until late, thanks in large part to many forced and unforced turnovers by USD. The Torero starting backcourt was sloppy at times, combining for 16 turnovers with guards Amy Kame and Alysse Barlow accounting for eight apiece.
Kame made up for the turnovers with a team-high 16 points on an efficient 8-for-15 shooting performance that included eight rebounds and a game-high six assists. By comparison, LBSU was only able to manage seven assists as a team.
The door finally closed on the ‘Niners when they failed to box out their opponent at the 7:34 mark when the 49ers were making their final run. An Ella Clark jumper would have cut the game to single digits, but soon after that, the Toreros strung together a 10-3 run to close out the game.
“It’s tough to win games shooting in the twenties and giving up as many rebounds as we did,” Wynn said.
The lone bright spot for the 49ers was freshman Raven Benton, who came off the bench and scored a game-high 18 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field and 9-for-12 shooting on free throws. After her performance in the ASU Classic last week earned her Big West Player of the Week honors, the freshman guard became the team’s leading scorer and is now averaging 13.6 points per game.
While Kame came in and showed off her scoring ability at times, other players stepped up for USD when the same couldn’t be said for LBSU.
Katelyn McDaniel was a dominating presence for the Toreros down low, grabbing 18 rebounds on the night. She was also one of four San Diego players to score in double figures with 11. Brooke Jelniker added 14 points on nine shots for the Toreros and also hauled in six boards.
The 49ers can’t forget about this one quick enough and look to bounce back with a win on Tuesday night against Miami of Ohio. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.