Long Beach State Edges CSUN, 74-71, in Overtime
Junior Raven Benton had 15 points and 11 rebounds
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team edged CSUN, 74-71, in its first overtime game of the season Thursday evening at the Walter Pyramid.
The Beach led by seven with 2:21 left in regulation but a couple of missed free throws and turnovers by the 49ers allowed the Matadors to come back and tie it up with 19 seconds on the clock. LBSU was unable to get a final shot off before the buzzer, giving them their first OT contest since Feb. 14, 2015.
"I thought our press was outstanding, but we turned the ball over too much and left a lot of points on the free throw line," head coach Jody Wynn said. "Turnovers are what cost us our lead, we gave up extra possessions and just didn't play solid offensively. You also have to give credit to (CSUN). Those kids played really hard and they did a great job on the boards, getting second chances."
Junior Raven Benton registered her first double-double of the year with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Anna Kim also finished with a team-high 17 points and four assists, marking her third-straight double-figure scoring game.
Junior Madison Montgomery added 12 points on a 5-for-8 shooting performance, with all of her buckets coming in the final 15 minutes of play. Sophomore Jessica Gertz made three 3-pointers en route to an 11-point outing, while junior Jewelyn Sawyer chipped in six points, four rebounds and four steals.
Long Beach State (17-5, 6-2 Big West) shot 43.1 percent from the floor, but struggled from long distance (28.6 percent) and from the charity stripe (42.9 percent). LBSU's defense was consistent throughout the night, however, finishing with 14 steals and forcing CSUN into 27 turnovers.
CSUN (5-17, 3-5 Big West) took the early lead with five points in the first 22 seconds. Long Beach State called a quick timeout before Benton got the home team on the board with a put back at the 8:44 mark. The Matadors stayed out front and went up by as many as eight before the Beach closed the quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 16-15 advantage.
LBSU continued to roll in the second period as Kim scored eight-straight to spark another 11-2 spurt that put the 49ers on top, 27-17, with 7:39 to go. CSUN closed the gap to five, but Long Beach State came right back with 10 unanswered, capped by a three-point play from Benton, to take its largest lead at 40-25 with 2:09 remaining. The Matadors were able to cut their deficit to single digits as the Beach held a 40-32 cushion at the break.
It went back-and-forth early in the second half with LBSU holding a 44-34 lead at the 9:01 mark. CSUN then took control, outscoring the 49ers, 13-to-4, to pull back within one (48-47) at the end of the third quarter.
After Montgomery opened the fourth frame with a jumper, the Matadors responded with a three and then a free throw gave them a 51-50 advantage at the 7:28 mark. It was the visitors' first lead since the final two minutes of the first period. Long Beach State answered on the next possession with a layup from Montgomery, which started an 11-3 rally that ended with back-to-back layups by Sawyer, to push its lead to 61-54 with 3:22 to play.
The two teams then traded buckets before Emily Cole made her fourth three of the night to make it a two-point game with 1:11 remaining. The Matadors were then able to get the game-tying bucket with 19 ticks on the clock and the Beach was unable to get a shot off on the other end to send it to overtime.
LBSU went on top, 69-65, on a Montgomery jumper at the 2:15 mark of the extra period. CSUN closed the gap to two before the 49ers scored five unanswered to go up, 74-67, with 36 seconds to go. Long Beach State was unable to run away with it, as it missed four free throws over the final 20 seconds. That allowed the Matadors to make it interesting, but the Beach held on for the 74-71 win.
Channon Fluker led CSUN with her fifth-straight double-double as she had a game-high 18 points and 19 rebounds. Jasmine Johnson added 17 points, nine boards and four steals.
Long Beach State is off this weekend and returns to action next Thursday (Feb. 11), when it travels to Hawai'i for a 5:30 p.m. HT/7:30 p.m. PT Big West contest.
NOTES: Over the last five games, Long Beach State has forced 24.8 turnovers per outing ... In each of those contests, LBSU's opponent has committed at least 21 miscues ... The Beach is also averaging 13.4 steals per game during that stretch ... Jewelyn Sawyer has a steal in 10-straight games and is averaging 4.0 takeaways over the last three outings ... Raven Benton had made 18 consecutive free throws before missing her first attempt in the second quarter tonight ... Benton, who has 947 career points, has reached double digits in scoring in four of the last five games ... Madison Montgomery was the late offensive hero for the second-straight game as she scored all 12 of her points in the fourth quarter and overtime period.
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