Feb. 25, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A short-handed Long Beach State women's basketball team put up a courageous fight on Saturday afternoon but it was unable to overcome the adversity, dropping a 47-35 decision to UC Santa Barbara at The Thunderdome.
The 49ers (11-16, 6-8 Big West) faced a daunting task as UCSB entered the match-up holding its opponents to a league-low 52.3 points per game and a 38.7 field goal percentage. Not only was LBSU facing the Big West's top defensive team, it had to do it with just seven active players due to an illness that affected several student-athletes.
"It was a courageous effort from all seven players," head coach Jody Wynn said. "We fought from tip-off until the final buzzer. The ball didn't go our way tonight, but we are extremely proud of the overall team effort despite extreme circumstances."
Although Long Beach State was held to a season-low 35 points, its own defense forced 27 Gaucho turnovers. Playing with just seven players, the 49ers trailed by only 12 at halftime and were down by 11 with one minute remaining.
Long Beach State struck first when junior Jhakia McDonald sank a jumper 40 seconds into the game. That score stood until UC Santa Barbara got on the board with a 3-pointer at the 17:08 mark. The Gauchos proceeded to take a 9-2 lead before sophomore Hallie Meneses ended a six-minute scoring drought for LBSU with a three. UCSB then used a 10-1 run to open up a 19-6 lead.
After a media timeout, the 49ers answered with back-to-back jumpers from freshmen Lauren Spargo and Alex Sanchez, cutting the deficit to nine, but UC Santa Barbara outscored Long Beach State, 4-1, over the final six minutes to own a 23-11 advantage at the break.
Nearly three minutes went by in the second half before either team got on the board. Dooley's layup made it 23-13 with 17:33 on the clock and the 49ers continued on a 7-4 spurt, capped by a Spargo 3-pointer, to close the gap to nine at 27-18. UCSB would go on top by 14 before LBSU pulled back within 11 on a pair of free throws from Dooley with 51 seconds left, but the Gauchos were able to hold on for the 47-35 victory.
UC Santa Barbara (13-14, 7-7 Big West) made 43.2 percent of its shots and was led by Emilie Johnson, who had a game-high 13 points. Nicole Nesbit chipped in 10 points, while Sweets Underwood and Kirsten Tilleman pulled down nine rebounds each.
Long Beach State returns to the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid on Tuesday, Feb. 28, when it hosts Pacific at 7 p.m. The 49ers will hold their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night against the Tigers.
LBSU will also have its Senior Night and Pack the House Challenge on Thursday, March 1, when it takes on Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.
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