Feb. 14, 2013
FULLERTON, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's basketball team earned its first Big West road win, but not without a fight from Cal State Fullerton, as the 49ers, who led by as many as 14 in the second half, held off a late rally to pull out a 58-56 victory Thursday evening at Titan Gym.
LBSU improved to 13-11 overall and 6-6 in conference play, while the Titans dropped their seventh-straight to fall to 7-16, 3-8 Big West.
Long Beach State shot an impressive 47.2 percent from the floor and was 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Their five 3-point attempts were a season low.
Sophomore Alex Sanchez led the way with a game-high 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Sophomore Ella Clark also finished with 10 points, while classmate Bianka Balthazar had eight points and six rebounds. Sophomore Devin Hudson chipped in six points and a team-best seven boards.
The 49ers struck first following an offensive rebound and put back by senior Mary Ochiltree at the 19:19 mark. The two teams then went back-and-forth over the next eight minutes with six lead changes. After Cal State Fullerton knotted the score at 10-10, LBSU proceeded to go on a 12-1 run, capped by a Sanchez jumper, to go on top, 22-11, with 5:02 remaining.
The Titans cut the deficit to seven before Long Beach State scored the final five points of the half to take a 27-15 advantage into the locker room.
The 49ers shot 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the floor, while holding CSF to 18.5 percent (5-of-27) in the first period. LBSU also owned a 21-14 edge in rebounding.
Long Beach State went up by 14 with a 15-foot jumper from Clark on the opening possession of the second half, but Cal State Fullerton used a 13-4 run to close the gap to five at 37-32 with 13:17 to go. The 49ers answered with a 7-1 sprint as they pulled ahead 44-33 on a jumper from sophomore Lauren Spargo at the 11:42 mark.
The Titans chipped away and eventually came within one (57-56) thanks to a late rally that ended with a 3-pointer from Alex Thomas.
Cal State Fullerton then put itself in a position to win the game with a steal on the ensuing inbounds pass with 24 seconds on the clock. After holding the ball for the final shot, Chante Miles drove to the basket, but Spargo stepped in and drew the charge to give the 49ers the ball back with three seconds to go.
The Titans quickly fouled Chantel Dooley, who made her first free throw. Annie Park grabbed the rebound on Dooley's second attempt and came up short on a half court attempt as the buzzer sounded.
CSF finished the night shooting 32 percent from the field. Park and Thomas paced the Titans with 12 points each.
Long Beach State returns to the hardwood on Saturday, Feb. 16, when it travels to UC Riverside for a 5 p.m. Big West showdown against the Highlanders.
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