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Long Beach State Drops 79-66 Contest to UC Riverside in Big West Tournament

March 6, 2018

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FULLERTON, Calif. -- The Long Beach women's basketball team's season came to an end on Tuesday night as the Beach dropped a tough contest to UC Riverside, 79-66, in the First Round of the Big West Conference Tournament at Titan Gym.

The Beach, who were the No. 7 seed, finish the season with an 8-23 overall record and a 6-10 Big West Conference ledger. Meanwhile, the No. 6 seed Highlanders improve to 10-21 on the year and advance to the Quarterfinals and will play No. 3 seed UC Irvine on Wednesday, March 7.

Long Beach State was led by senior Cecily Wilson who poured in 22 points, just two shy of her career-high, as she connected on 8-of-16 field goals and was 5-for-7 from the line. Wilson also led the Beach with four steals, while adding five rebounds, and two assists.

LBSU finished the game with three double-figure scorers as freshman guard Shanaijah Davison added 11 points and freshman center Emma Merriweather added 10 points to go along with four blocks. The contest marked Davison's 20th double-digit contest of the year, and her seventh-straight double-figure scoring game.

Freshman forward Naomi Hunt led the team in rebounding with six boards, while freshman guard Ma'Qhi Berry finished with a team-best six assists.

The game began as a back-and-forth affair as the conference foes traded points early. However, Long Beach State suffered a three-minute scoring drought and UC Riverside took full advantage as the Highlanders used a 12-2 run to take a 16-9 lead over the Beach. From there, the Highlanders led the rest of the way as they took a 22-16 lead into the second quarter.

Despite falling behind early, Long Beach State continued to play hard and eventually cut UC Riverside's once 10-point lead (26-16) in the second quarter in half (37-32) by halftime.

Following the break in action, the Highlanders came out and shot 53.8 percent from the field in the third quarter and pushed their lead up to 12 (55-43) in the frame. Still, the Beach would not quit and Davison hit a three with four seconds left in the quarter to make it a single-digit game (55-46) heading into the fourth.

The Beach pushed back in the final 10 minutes of action scoring 20 points in the frame, however the Highlanders shot 66.7 percent (6-for-9) and went 10-for-14 from the line to tally 24 points and keep Long Beach State at bay. UC Riverside led by as many as 20 points (75-55) with just 2:28 remaining in the game, but the Beach continued to show their determination as they chipped away at the lead and whittled it down to a 13-point game (79-66) when the clock expired.

UC Riverside finished with three double-figure scored led by Lauren Holt's 22-point effort. Michelle Curry added 20 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double, while Tianna Eaton contributed 19 points. Curry also dished out seven assists in the game.



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