Long Beach State Challenges UC Davis, Falls Short in All-Around Team Effort
The Beach had four double-figure scorers in the loss
Feb. 1, 2018
LONG BEACH -- The Long Beach State women's basketball team showed its grit on Thursday night as the Beach went head-to-head with Big West Conference leader, UC Davis, and came up just short as they dropped an 83-71 decision.
The Beach (2-19, 0-7 Big West) played the Aggies (18-3, 8-0 Big West) hard and matched them point-for-point throughout the first half, and after falling behind in the third quarter, came back and scored 25 points to UC Davis' 26 in the fourth. Long Beach State shot 41.5 percent (27-for-65) in the game and scored 23 points off of turnovers, however UC Davis shot 58.5 percent (31-for-53).
Freshman Naomi Hunt led the quartet of double-figure scorers for the Beach as she tallied 16 points to go along with a team-best four steals. Freshman Shanaijah Davison added 14 points and matched her career-high with six assists, while swiping three steals. Rounding out the double-digit scorers from Long Beach State were freshman Ma'Qhi Berry and senior Jessica Gertz who each recorded 11 points.
Long Beach State put pressure on UC Davis as the Beach forced the Aggies into 27 turnovers and collected 16 steals. Despite the defensive effort, the Aggies managed to connect on 31 field goals and 10 three-pointers.
Both teams started the game with solid defense holding each other scoreless for the first two minutes of action. Cecily Wilson broke through with a jumper at 7:53 and UC Davis quickly countered evening the score at 2-all. The Aggies used a 10-0 run to take a 10-2 advantage over Long Beach State, but the Beach were unfazed as they chipped away at the lead and closed the gap on a jumper by Davison at 2:57 to make it a one-possession game (15-12). Emma Merriweather brought the Beach within one (15-14) and Hunt's three with six seconds left on the clock sent them game into the second quarter tied 19-19.
The Beach refused to let up in the second quarter as they continued to match the Aggies. Both team tallied 12 points in the frame as Long Beach State saw five players score in the quarter. Despite only shooting 28.6 percent (4-for-14) from the field, the Beach took advantage of free throw opportunities going 4-for-4 from the line in the frame. Meanwhile, Davis connected on 5-of-12 shots from the field and made a pair of shots from beyond the arc. With both teams playing each other evenly, they went into the locker room tied 31-31 at halftime.
The third quarter was the difference maker in the game as UC Davis shot nearly 70 percent (9-for-13) from the field and scored 26 points in the frame, while Long Beach State connected on 6-of-18 from the field for 33.3 percent shooting. With everything clicking for the Aggies, they outscored the Beach 26-15 in the frame and took a 57-46 edge into the final quarter.
Although down by 11, Long Beach State turned in a gritty performance in the fourth quarter and poured in 25 points on 56.3 percent shooting (9-for-16). With the Beach playing hard and making their shots, the Aggies had to step up in order to keep their lead. UC Davis matched LBSU in the frame as the Aggies knocked down 9-of-12 shots from the field and scored 26 points to hand Long Beach State its 12th straight loss.
UC Davis also had four scorers in double-figures. Morgan Bertsch led the Aggies with 26 points, while Pele Gianotti and Cierra Hall each scored 17. Rachel Nagel added 10 points to go along with eight rebounds.
Long Beach State will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 3, when it hosts UC Irvine in the Black and Blue Rivalry Game at 7 p.m. The contest will be televised on ESPN3.
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