Jan. 3, 2013
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team continued to dominate at home as it opened Big West Conference play with a 62-52 victory over Cal Poly Thursday evening at the Walter Pyramid.
The 49ers extended their win streak to a season-long four games and improved to 7-2 at home. LBSU also picked up its third conference-opening victory in the last four years.
Long Beach State shot 41.8 percent from the floor, while holding Cal Poly to 28.2 percent, and held a narrow 45-43 edge on the boards.
Sophomore Alex Sanchez led the way with a game-high 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Ella Clark also had 12 points, while senior Mary Ochiltree and sophomore Bianka Balthazar each had 10. Sophomore Devin Hudson matched her season-best with 12 rebounds and finished with nine points.
Long Beach State (8-5, 1-0 Big West) was quick to get on the board as it controlled the tip before Clark drove to the basket for a layup at the 19:51 mark. After Cal Poly scored three quick points, the 49ers proceeded to go on a 12-6 run, capped by a Hudson put back, to pull ahead by five at 14-9 with 10:10 remaining.
The Mustangs responded with six unanswered points to take the lead at 17-14 and would go up by as many as six, before LBSU outscored Cal Poly, 10-4, over the final 2:30. Sigrid Skorpen drained a 3-pointer from the right corner with 12.8 seconds on the clock to tie it up at 29-29 at the break.
The 49ers went 12-for-27 (44.4 percent) from the field in the first half and were led by Clark's 12 points. Clark was a perfect 4-of-4 with three 3-pointers.
Cal Poly (6-6, 0-1 Big West) went up 32-29 in the first minute of the second period, but Long Beach State regained the advantage at 33-32 on back-to-back baskets from Ochiltree and Balthazar. After the Mustangs made a pair of free throws, they went cold on the offensive end with just two field goals over a nine-plus minute span. LBSU took advantage of the drought as it used a 13-4 spurt to open up an eight-point advantage (46-38).
A 3-pointer from Cal Poly's Kayla Griffin eventually closed the gap to five at 48-43 with 6:14 to play, but the 49ers came storming back as Sanchez started a 10-2 run with six-straight points that put Long Beach State on top, 58-45, with 3:05 to go.
The Mustangs pulled within nine before Balthazar sank a pair of free throws and Hudson had a fastbreak layup to seal the 62-52 victory.
Cal Poly finished the second half with a dismal 17.9 field goal percentage (7-of-39).
The Mustangs were led by Brittany Woodard's 14 points and seven rebounds, while Griffin added 12 points.
Long Beach State continues its Big West Conference slate on Saturday, Jan. 5, when it welcomes UC Santa Barbara to the Walter Pyramid for a 4 p.m. showdown.
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