March 7, 2013
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's basketball team dropped a 59-50 decision to UC Santa Barbara Thursday afternoon at The Thunderdome.
LBSU (15-14, 8-9 Big West), which held a four-point lead at the half, struggled on the offensive end in the second period, going 6-of-23 from the floor and 1-for-10 from behind the arc. The 49ers finished the game with a 37.2 field goal percentage.
Sophomore Devin Hudson led the way with 13 points and 10 rebounds for her team-leading seventh double-double of the season. Sophomore Bianka Balthazar also tallied a game-high 14 points, while grabbing seven boards.
UC Santa Barbara (14-15, 10-7 Big West) struck first and the two teams traded baskets until Long Beach State went on an 11-2 run, capped by a free throw from Gabby Kaiser, to pull ahead, 17-10, with 7:09 remaining. Balthazar sparked the rally with seven of the 49ers' 11 points.
The Gauchos responded with an 8-2 spurt to close the gap to one (21-20), but LBSU would go back on top by six following a Hudson layup and a 3-pointer from Lauren Spargo. The 49ers eventually took a 26-22 lead into the locker room.
Long Beach State shot 50 percent from the field and was 3-of-6 from 3-point range in the first half. Balthazar paced the team with 10 points, while Hudson had eight points and four rebounds.
UCSB got off to a quick start in the second period, scoring five-straight points to take a 27-26 advantage. The home team continued on an 18-5 run to pull ahead, 40-31, at the 9:33 mark. LBSU then came back with a 9-2 sprint, which ended with a three-point play by Balthazar, cutting the deficit to 42-40 with 6:44 left in the game.
The Gauchos wouldn't let up, however, as they scored six unanswered to pull ahead 48-40 with 4:59 to play. They stayed out front by at least five the rest of the way. The 49ers were forced to foul down the stretch and UCSB emerged with the 59-50 victory.
UC Santa Barbara shot 43.4 percent from the field. Sweets Underwood registered a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Angelei Aguirre had a team-best 13 points and Nicole Nesbit totaled 12 points and eight assists.
With the loss, the best Long Beach State can finish in the Big West standings is fifth, which means it will be playing in the first round of the conference tournament next Tuesday (March 12) at the Bren Events Center in Irvine.
LBSU wraps up the regular season on Saturday, March 9, when it travels to Cal Poly for a 4 p.m. Big West showdown.
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