Benton Reaches Career Milestone as LBSU Tops Cal Poly, 61-56
Junior Raven Benton became the 24th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's basketball team came back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to run away with a 61-56 win over Cal Poly Wednesday evening at Mott Athletics Center.
Junior Raven Benton reached a career milestone as she finished with five points to give her 1,002 in her career. Benton is the 24th player in program history, and fourth in head coach Jody Wynn's tenure, to join the 1,000-point club.
The Beach improved to 20-7 overall, marking its second-straight 20-win season. It also moved into sole possession of third-place in the Big West standings at 9-4.
LBSU shot 34.6 percent from the field and was 7-of-21 from 3-point range. The 49ers forced Cal Poly into 23 turnovers.
Sophomore Gigi Hascheff finished with a team-high 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Junior Anna Kim added 11 points, while classmate Jewelyn Sawyer had six points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals. Sophomore Cecily Wilson chipped in eight points on a 3-for-4 shooting performance. Senior Chantel Dooley also had six points and three boards, but left the game with a serious injury in the fourth quarter.
"Chantel is full of heart and hustle and unfortunately she went down late tonight on a hustle play," head coach Jody Wynn said. "But, that's her character and what defines her, she's the queen of hustle -- she's strong and has been through a lot.
"The team just said we're winning for Chantel and I thought their focus was exceptional, especially on the defensive end," Wynn added. "I'm so proud of our kids, we're winning games based on our fight and our hustle."
Long Beach State got off to a slow start as the Mustangs took a 6-0 lead at the 6:21 mark. Hascheff then got the Beach on the board and sophomore Jessica Gertz followed with a three to quickly make it a one-point game. CP was able to stay out front until back-to-back triples from freshman Chanterria Jackson and senior Chantel Dooley tied it up at 11-11. The home team then answered with a 7-2 run to end the first quarter with an 18-13 advantage.
LBSU opened the second period on a 4-0 spurt, but Cal Poly pushed its lead to six at 23-17 with 4:16 to play. The two teams then traded points until four-straight free throws from Kim and Sawyer, along with a Jackson jumper, closed the gap to 25-23 with 42 seconds on the clock. The Mustangs would get the final bucket of the half, however, as they held a 27-23 cushion at the break.
Cal Poly went up by nine early in the third frame, but the 49ers chipped away and made it 37-36, following a jumper by Kim at the 3:58 mark. The Mustangs were able to hold onto the lead and pulled ahead 46-40 at the end of the period.
CP started the fourth quarter with back-to-back baskets to take its largest lead of the night (50-40) with 8:14 remaining. Long Beach State quickly called a timeout and used the break to its advantage as it proceeded to force three-straight turnovers, which sparked a 10-0 run that knotted the score at 50-50. Cal Poly reclaimed the edge before the Beach closed out the game on an 11-4 spurt for the 61-56 victory. The 49ers took their first lead of the night at 53-52 on a Benton free throw.
Cal Poly (13-14, 6-8 Big West) shot 36.4 percent from the field and was led by Dynn Leaupepe's game-high 18 points. Beth Balbierz also had 14 points, while Hannah Gilbert finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Long Beach State returns to the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid on Saturday, Feb. 27, when it plays host to UC Irvine at 12:30 p.m.
NOTES: Long Beach State registered back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1990-91 and 1991-92 ... The Beach is 42-16 over the last two years ... The 49ers haven't lost at Cal Poly since 2012 and now lead the all-time series 43-19 ... Raven Benton reached 1,000 career points in her 83rd game ... She is the 12th-fastest to reach the milestone in program history ... Gigi Hascheff notched her second-straight double-figure scoring game ... Long Beach State has forced eight of its last 10 opponents into 20 or more turnovers ... Sixth-year senior Chantel Dooley left the game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a season-ending injury.
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