March 8, 2014
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's basketball team snapped a three-game skid with a wild 89-81 win over UC Riverside in both teams' regular-season finale Saturday evening at SRC Arena.
The game featured 18 lead changes and 10 tie scores. There were also a total of 54 fouls called with three Highlanders and two 49ers fouling out. LBSU was nearly perfect at the line where it was 34-of-36 (94.4 percent). UCR finished the night going 25-for-31 at the charity stripe.
Junior Ella Clark led the way with a career-high tying 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Senior Jade Wilson also finished with 15 points, while junior Alex Sanchez, who made all 11 of her free throws, added 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Junior Hallie Meneses chipped in 13 points and seven assists.
Long Beach State (16-14, 8-8 Big West) went up 4-0 following a layup by Wilson, but UC Riverside responded with five unanswered to take its first advantage at the 15:13 mark. It then went back-and-forth before the 49ers used a 7-2 run to go on top, 17-13, with 11:05 remaining.
LBSU stayed out front until UCR pulled ahead, 30-26, thanks to a 10-3 spurt. Long Beach State then came right back with a 15-3 run of its own, capped by a 3-pointer from Clark, to take the largest lead of the half at 41-33 with under a minute to play. The Highlanders were able to get one last bucket as the visitors held a 41-35 edge at the break.
The 49ers outscored UC Riverside, 6-2, over the first two minutes of the second half, pulling ahead, 47-37.
UCR (6-23, 2-14 Big West) then stormed back with a 15-4 run to take a 55-54 lead with 12:52 remaining. Raven Benton, who finished with nine points before fouling out with 4:43 to go, answered with a 3-pointer and another seesaw battle ensued.
LBSU would make the final push, going on top 75-71 after an and-one by Wilson at the 4:54 mark. It was also a huge foul as it was Brittany Crain, UCR's leading scorer, who picked up her fifth. Two more Highlanders and one more 49er would also foul out and Long Beach State continued to be clutch at the free throw line, allowing it to hold on for the 89-81 victory.
Crain finished with a game-high 31 points for UC Riverside, while Kiara Harewood had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Long Beach State has earned the No. 6 seed in the Big West Tournament and for the second-straight year, will face seventh-seeded Cal State Fullerton in the first round on Tuesday, March 11. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.
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