Jan. 26, 2013
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team made the final push in a game of runs that saw 14 lead changes, as the 49ers prevailed, 71-61, over UC Irvine in a Big West contest Saturday afternoon at the Walter Pyramid.
LBSU won its second in a row to improve to 11-8 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
"We were battle-tested and I think our toughness came through today," 49er head coach Jody Wynn said. "Being mentally and physically tough was big for us, and we also did a really good job on the boards. That was our number one focus coming in to the game, was to control the boards."
In addition, the 49ers broke out of a recent shooting slump as they made 48.1 percent of their shots and went 9-of-18 from behind the arc. They also dominated in the paint where they outscored UCI, 34-18.
Sophomore Lauren Spargo led the way with a season-high 16 points, going 5-for-6 from the field with three 3-pointers.
Sanchez had a solid all-around game with 13 points and three assists to go along with her seven rebounds, while Hudson added 12 points. Sophomore Sigrid Skorpen also totaled a career-best four assists, and classmate Ella Clark had seven points and three blocks. Clark is now two shy of breaking into the program's all-time records with 104 career blocks.
Long Beach State was quick to get on the board as Sanchez found Hudson down low for a layup on the opening possession. The Anteaters answered with a 3-pointer and the two teams then traded baskets with three lead changes over the first two-plus minutes.
UC Irvine (4-15, 0-7 Big West) would pull ahead by three, but the 49ers used a 6-2 spurt, capped by a three from Spargo, to regain the advantage at 10-9. UCI then went on a 12-4 run to go up, 23-16, with 7:25 remaining. LBSU cut the deficit to 23-22 before the Anteaters scored five unanswered to increase the margin to 28-22 at the 3:11 mark. Long Beach State then outscored the visitors, 12-5, over the last three minutes to hold a 34-33 edge at the break.
The 49ers shot 44.8 percent from the floor and were 5-of-11 from 3-point range in the first period. Spargo, who had three treys, led the way with 11 points.
LBSU went up by three following a Hudson layup to start the second half, but UC Irvine came back with a 9-2 run to take a 42-38 lead at the 15:27 mark. Clark then nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner, sparking a 12-3 rally that put Long Beach State on top, 50-46, with 11:26 to go.
The Anteaters responded once again with seven-straight points, reclaiming the advantage at 53-50, before the 49ers called a timeout and took the momentum back with a 7-0 sprint of their own to pull ahead 57-53 at the 8:26 mark. UC Irvine twice came within one, but Long Beach State made the final run, outscoring UCI, 11-3, over the final four minutes. Sanchez led the way with five points during that span, including a key 3-pointer that put the 49ers up by six with 2:28 left in the game.
UC Irvine registered a 45.8 field goal percentage and was 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from long distance. Camille Buckley paced the Anteaters with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Kelly Meggs and Jennifer Tsurumoto finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Long Beach State hits the road next week when it travels to Northern California for a pair of Big West games at UC Davis (Jan. 31) and conference-leading Pacific (Feb. 1).
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