Jan. 18, 2014
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team pushed defending Big West champion Cal Poly to the brink, but the 49ers came up just short in a 107-102 overtime thriller Saturday evening at the Walter Pyramid.
Trailing by 13 points with 10:02 left in regulation, LBSU did what it does best, as it came from behind to tie it up at 82-82 with a huge 20-7 run over an eight-minute span. The Mustangs were able to go back on top and took a 91-88 lead after a pair of made free throws. With no timeouts and 6.8 seconds to go, junior Hallie Meneses provided the late heroics as she drove down the court and pulled up for a deep 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds on the clock to even the score at 91-91 and send the game into overtime.
Cal Poly (9-8, 3-1 Big West) got on the board first in the extra period and never relinquished the lead as the Mustangs were 11-of-12 from the free throw line, allowing them to hold on for the 107-102 win.
LBSU (10-8, 2-2 Big West), which had its first 100-point game in eight years, shot 47.1 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from 3-point range. Junior Lauren Spargo led five 49ers in double figures with a career-high 20 points. She also had seven rebounds, three steals and a career-best five assists. Meneses added a season-high 19 points.
Junior Ella Clark nearly had a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, while freshman Anna Kim had 17 points on a 6-for-9 shooting performance. Freshman Raven Benton contributed 11 points and junior Alex Sanchez dished out a game-high tying six assists.
The first half was a game of runs that featured five tie scores and six lead changes. Cal Poly started with a 14-8 advantage before Long Beach State went on an 11-3 spurt, which ended with a Kim 3-pointer, to go up, 19-17. The 49ers would proceed to take a six-point lead after a jumper by Spargo at the 8:59 mark, but the Mustangs came back with 12 unanswered to hold a 33-27 edge.
LBSU responded once again as Meneses scored five quick points and Spargo followed with a jumper and a pair of free throws to put the home team back on top, 36-33, with 4:39 remaining. Cal Poly was then able to put together the final run of the half as it outscored Long Beach State, 14-4, down the stretch to build a 47-40 cushion at the break.
It went back-and-forth early in the second period until the Mustangs went on a 15-5 run to pull ahead, 75-62, at the 10:02 mark. LBSU then started to chip away, using a 15-4 spurt of its own to cut the deficit to two (79-77) with 4:49 to play. The 49ers eventually tied it up at 82-82 on a free throw from Jade Wilson.
Cal Poly shot 45 percent from the field and was an impressive 29-of-34 (85.3 percent) from the charity stripe. Ariana Elegado led the way with a game-high 30 points, while Molly Schlemer had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jonae Ervin (17 points) and Beth Balbierz (16 points) also scored in double figures.
Long Beach State will head to Cal State Northridge (Saturday, Jan. 25) for its only game next week. The 49ers and Matadors are set to tip-off at 4 p.m. at The Matadome.
NOTES: Long Beach State registered its first 100-point game since a 102-62 victory at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 15, 2005 ... This was the 49ers' fourth overtime contest (2-2), and second in Big West action (1-1) ... LBSU has now scored at least 80 points five times this season ... That is the most since notching five 80-plus point games in 2004-05 ... Long Beach State suffered a rare home loss as its last defeat at the Walter Pyramid came to then No. 23 Florida State on Dec. 21 ... LBSU is now 8-3 when playing in Long Beach ... Despite the loss, the 49er family had a big reason to celebrate as Alex Sanchez's boyfriend proposed and the couple got engaged after the game.
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