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49er rally falls short in 57-50 loss to Cal State Northridge

Freshman Lauren Spargo had 15 points and seven rebounds against Cal State Northridge.

Jan. 7, 2012

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LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team fought back from an 11-point deficit late in the second half but came up just short in a tightly contested 57-50 loss to Cal State Northridge Saturday evening at the Walter Pyramid.

The 49ers, who suffered just their second home loss of the season, dropped to 7-9 overall and 2-1 in Big West action.

Freshman Lauren Spargo led LBSU with 15 points and seven rebounds. She was 6-of-15 from the field with three 3-pointers. Junior Jhakia McDonald chipped in a career-high 12 points on a 5-for-10 shooting performance. Freshman Alex Sanchez also pulled down seven boards and dished out four assists.

Long Beach State gave up 22 points off of 26 turnovers. The 49ers also shot just 34.5 percent in the game and were outrebounded, 45-41.

Cal State Northridge (8-7, 3-0 Big West) dented the scoreboard first when Randi Freiss drove right to the basket for a layup after the tipoff, but it was LBSU that went up, 7-3, on a Bianka Balthazar jumper at the 16:54 mark. The Matadors responded by scoring five unanswered points to reclaim the lead at 8-7 and the two teams then traded baskets over the next five minutes.

After four lead changes, CSUN pulled ahead 14-11, but McDonald closed the gap to one with a jumper that also ended a five-minute scoring drought for the 49ers.

Northridge would not relinquish the lead, however, using a late 8-2 run to go up, 22-15, with 4:11 to play. Sigrid Skorpen eventually hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds on the clock to bring Long Beach State within four (22-18) at the break.

The Matadors shot 33.3 percent in the first half, while holding the 49ers to 29.6 percent. CSUN also owned a slight 23-20 advantage in rebounds, while both teams committed 13 turnovers.

Long Beach State opened the second period on an 8-4 run, capped by a three-point play from Balthazar, to even the score at 26-26. The Matadors then came back with a pair of jumpers, but the 49ers stayed within striking distance, trailing by two at the 12:13 mark. CSUN then used a 6-0 spurt over the next two minutes to pull ahead, 38-30.

The 49ers came back within four following a Spargo 3-pointer, but the Matadors answered once again as they went up, 49-38, at the 4:32 mark. LBSU kept its composure and closed the gap to 51-48 on a three from McDonald with just over one minute remaining. CSUN then sank 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 57-50 victory.

Jasmine Erving paced Cal State Northridge with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Camille Mahlknecht finished with 11 points. Violet Alama also pulled down 11 boards, including seven on the offensive end.

Long Beach State, which has played its last six games in the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid, hits the road for the first time in over month as it heads north for a pair of Big West games at Pacific (Jan. 12) and UC Davis (Jan. 14) next week.



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