IRVINE, Calif. – Long Beach State senior point guard Anna Kim highlighted the Beach’s 68-63 win over UC Irvine on Saturday at the Bren Events Center as she became the 25th player in LBSU program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
Kim helped Long Beach State improve to 16-8 on the year and 7-2 in Big West Conference action, while UC Irvine dropped to 3-19 overall and 1-7 in the league.
The senior out of Fullerton, Calif., turned in a nine point performance as she was 4-for-6 from the field and 1-for-3 from the free throw line. Kim also led the Beach with five assists to go along with two rebounds and one steal.
“(Anna) is having a really good senior season and a great conference season,” Long Beach State head coach Jody Wynn said of her point guard. “She’s the heart and soul of this program. I’m just really proud of her because she cares so much about the game, she cares so much about our program and she cares so much about our university and it shows in her work ethic and her attitude. It shows in her passion and how hard she plays, night in and night out.
“You can’t measure toughness and you can’t measure heart. You just hope that toughness and heart bleeds into the rest of the team. I’m just so proud of everything she’s accomplished so far in her career, but the only thing she wants is a championship. She epitomizes exactly the type of kid you want to coach.”
In addition to Kim’s career effort, Long Beach State also got strong performances from Jewelyn Sawyer, Raven Benton and Madison Montgomery who each recorded double-figures. Sawyer led the way with 17 points, while Benton added 16 and Montgomery contributed 10.
The Beach started off strong as they shot 56.3 percent from the field in the first quarter and outscored the Anteaters 20-18 in the first 10 minutes of action. Long Beach State continued that style of play into the second quarter and owned a 36-28 lead over UC Irvine at halftime.
Despite LBSU’s lead, UC Irvine stayed close and did not allowed the Beach to take a comfortable lead until the fourth quarter when the 49ers went up by 18 (64-46) with 6:38 remaining in the game. The game looked like it was going to be a blowout, but the Anteaters had other plans and they continued to chip away at the Beach’s lead.
With UC Irvine mounting a comeback, Long Beach State saw its lead slip from 18 all the way down to five before the clock expired.
“I’m upset about the way we finished and our lack of composure,” Wynn said. “We just didn’t play with composure at all. We had an 18-point lead and we just needed to relax and play good basketball. We turned the ball over and we took quick shots. They made good plays and they played hard – and we didn’t.
“The bottom line is, we need to step up and make free throws,” Wynn continued. “Had we made our free throws, it wouldn’t have been as disastrous as it was. We just didn’t have performances like we needed to.”
The Beach connected on 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) from the charity stripe and were just 3-for-15 (20 percent) from long distance.
The Anteaters took advantage of the 49ers’ fourth-quarter struggles and tallied 19 points in the final 10 minutes of action, but came up short in their rally attempt.
Shereen Sutherland poured in 23 points for the ‘Eaters to go along with 10 rebounds for a double-double, while Mckenzie Piper (13 points) and Andee Ritter (12 points) also tallied double-figures.
Long Beach State will be back in action next week when it hosts Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Walter Pyramid. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
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