Nov. 8, 2013
BERKELEY, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's basketball team gave Cal a run for its money over the first 20 minutes, but the ninth-ranked Bears pulled away in the second half for the 70-51 victory in both teams' season opener Friday evening at Haas Pavilion.
Cal advanced to the NCAA Final Four last season and was ranked No. 9 in both the AP Preseason Poll and the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll.
"We did a really good job in the first half of keeping them out of the paint," 49er head coach Jody Wynn said. "We talk a lot about limiting paint touches, but (Cal) is so fast and so explosive, that it is impossible to do 100 percent of the time. I think in the first half we slowed them down enough where they weren't getting paint touches at ease."
Junior Lauren Spargo led LBSU with a game-high 15 points, all of which came in the second half. Freshman Anna Kim added 11 points in her collegiate debut, while junior Alex Sanchez finished with nine points. Senior Jade Wilson pulled down a team-best seven rebounds and junior Hallie Meneses had a game-high five assists.
The 49ers finished the night shooting 30.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range. They were out rebounded, 57-38.
Long Beach State (0-1) controlled the opening tip and Sanchez quickly drove to the basket, drawing the foul. She sank 1-of-2 free throws to give LBSU its only lead as Cal proceeded to score seven-straight points to go on top, 7-1. Freshman Jewelyn Sawyer then made the 49ers' first field goal of the game with a layup at the 14:50 mark.
After the Golden Bears pulled ahead by as many as nine, Long Beach State came storming back as Sanchez drained a three before Kim completed a four-point play to tie it up at 12-12 with 10:12 remaining. The 49ers stayed close and evened the score at 15-15, but Cal went on a 12-3 spurt over the final seven minutes to take a 27-18 advantage into the locker room.
In the first half, Long Beach State held the Bears to under 30 percent shooting from the field, including 2-of-14 from behind the arc, but the 49ers shot just 18.2 percent themselves.
Cal (1-0) took control early in the second period, using a 16-9 run over the first eight minutes to open up an 18-point lead at 45-27. Spargo had all nine of the 49ers' points during that stretch. The home team stayed out front by at least 15 the rest of the way and emerged with the 70-51 victory.
Reshanda Gray led the Bears with a double-double, registering 10 points and 11 rebounds. Afure Jemerigbe also totaled a team-high 13 points and Brittany Shine grabbed 14 boards. Mercedes Jefflo chipped in nine points and seven steals.
Long Beach State continues its three-game road swing next weekend when it heads to Nevada (Nov. 15) and San Francisco (Nov. 17).
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