Jan. 16, 2014
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team pulled away early in the second half and continued to cruise to a 72-53 victory over UC Santa Barbara Thursday evening at the Walter Pyramid.
LBSU (10-7, 2-1 Big West) outscored the Gauchos, 40-26, in the final 20 minutes. The 19-point win was the 49ers' largest margin of victory against UCSB since 1990.
Junior Lauren Spargo was 7-of-13 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line to match her career high at 19 points. Freshman Madison Montgomery also tied her career best with 16 points on a 7-for-8 shooting performance. Montgomery added six rebounds.
Long Beach State shot 48.1 percent from the floor in the second half and finished the game at 40.4 percent. LBSU was also able to get to the free throw line 27 times, and made 21 of those attempts (77.8 percent). The Gauchos, meanwhile, were at the charity stripe just eight times as a team (7-of-8).
It was a closely played first half with three tie scores and eight lead changes. Long Beach State was quick to get on the board as freshman Raven Benton drained a 3-pointer just eight seconds into the game. UCSB answered with a jumper on the ensuing possession and eventually took its first advantage at 8-7.
The two teams then went back-and-forth before the 49ers took the lead for good with a Benton free throw at the 9:58 mark. That started an 11-4 spurt which put LBSU up, 30-24, with 1:57 remaining. Melissa Zornig cut the Gauchos' deficit in half with a 3-pointer, but Spargo's put back with 6.5 seconds left gave the home team a 32-27 cushion at intermission.
The 49ers came out strong after the break, pulling ahead by 16 (45-29) following a 13-2 run, which ended with a Spargo 3-pointer at the 14:40 mark.
UC Santa Barbara (5-10, 0-2 Big West) was able to close the gap to 11, but Long Beach State responded with another 11-2 spurt to put the game out of reach at 62-42 with 5:31 to play.
With the victory, LBSU secured its third-straight double-figure win campaign. The 49ers are also the first Big West team to reach 10 victories on the season.
Destini Mason led UCSB with 17 points and nine rebounds. Long Beach State held the Gauchos' leading scorer, Nicole Nesbit, to four points. Nesbit entered tonight's contest averaging 17.6 points per game.
The 49ers return to the Walter Pyramid on Saturday, Jan. 18, when they host Cal Poly (8-8, 2-1 BWC) in a 4 p.m. Big West showdown.
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