Jan. 17, 2013
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team suffered a narrow 50-49 defeat to UC Riverside Thursday evening at the Walter Pyramid as the Highlanders made the game-winning free throw with two seconds on the clock.
The 49ers, who saw their five-game home winning streak come to an end, have now lost three home contests at or near the buzzer. Earlier in the season, LBSU also fell to Iona, 60-58, and Santa Clara, 68-67, on put backs with the clock winding down.
Sophomore Devin Hudson continued her strong play down low with her fourth double-double of the year, and second in the last three games. Hudson totaled 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, with nine of her boards coming on the offensive glass. She also had a career-best four steals.
"Devin played her heart out and I'm very proud of her," 49er head coach Jody Wynn said. "She emotionally, verbally and physically said 'I'll get this rebound. I'll get the next one. I'll give us more chances.' She got frustrated in the beginning, but she didn't quit."
LBSU struggled on offense with a season-low 24.6 field goal percentage. It also went just 4-of-29 (13.8 percent) from 3-point range. The 49ers did, however, own a plus-20 margin on the boards with a season-high 53 rebounds.
"We couldn't catch a break, but (UC Riverside) deserved it," Wynn said. "They were physically tough and they made plays. I shake my head when I look at these shooting percentages because I know we are a much better performing team than we're showing and we just have to keep getting in the gym and getting our confidence back up."
Both sides got off to a slow start as neither team was able to connect from the floor during the first three minutes of play. UC Riverside eventually got on the board first with a jumper at the 16:43 mark. After the first media timeout, Lauren Spargo hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, which started a 17-3 run that put the Long Beach State up, 17-5, with 7:56 to go. During that stretch, LBSU made three shots from behind the arc with two coming from Spargo and one from Mary Ochiltree.
The Highlanders (8-7, 1-3 Big West) cut the deficit to eight following a three-point play by Tre'Shonti Nottingham, but the 49ers pushed their margin to 13 after five consecutive free throws (24-11). Long Beach State, which was held without a field goal over the final six-plus minutes, then saw its double-digit lead disappear as UCR closed out the half on a 13-2 spurt, giving LBSU a slight 26-24 edge at the break.
Long Beach State shot 23.1 percent from the field, while UC Riverside was 10-of-30 (33.3 percent) in the first period.
Balthazar put the 49ers on top, 28-24, with a layup early in the second half. The Highlanders then proceeded to use a 9-1 sprint to pull ahead, 33-29, at the 11:26 mark. It was UCR's first lead since it held a 2-0 advantage to start the game.
LBSU answered with consecutive baskets from Dooley and Hudson to tie it up at 33-33, before UC Riverside built its lead back to five (41-36) with 6:46 remaining. Long Beach State stayed close but was unable to get over the hump until Hudson's put back on her own miss evened the score at 49-49 with six seconds left.
It seemed as if the game would go into overtime, but with no timeouts left, Nottingham quickly got up the court and the 49ers were whistled for a foul with two ticks on the clock. She made the first of two free throws to secure the 50-49 victory.
Nottingham finished with a game-high 18 points, while also grabbing 10 rebounds. Brittany Crain chipped in 13 points. UC Riverside shot 38.9 percent on the evening.
Long Beach State returns to the Walter Pyramid on Saturday, Jan. 19, when it hosts Cal State Fullerton in a 4 p.m. Big West tilt.
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