Long Beach State Suffers 83-71 Setback Against Pepperdine in Season Opener
Freshman Emma Merriweather recorded her first collegiate double-double in the loss
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- In their 2017-18 season debut, the Long Beach State women's basketball team boasted four double-figure scorers, but a cold-shooting third quarter led to an 83-71 setback to Pepperdine in the season opener.
Freshman guard Ma'Qhi Berry led the Beach (0-1) offense with 16 points in her collegiate debut, while rookie center Emma Merriweather notched a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Junior guard Martina McCowan and freshman guard Shanaijah Davison each added 10 points for Long Beach State.
The Beach played well in the first half taking a 40-33 lead into the locker room over the Waves (1-0). However, Pepperdine opened the third quarter knocking down eight straight points to take a 41-40 edge over Long Beach State.
The third quarter seemed to the be the turning point as LBSU, which shot 41.4 percent (12-for-29) in the first half, was limited to just 21.4 percent (3-for-14) in the third quarter. The Beach recorded just nine points to the Waves' 23 and fell behind by seven (56-49) heading into the fourth quarter.
"I thought the effort wasn't what -- especially in that third quarter --what we typically want to do," Long Beach State head coach Jeff Cammon stated. "We came out in that second half and thought the game was over and that's not who we are and who we want to be. I just thought we became freshmen in the third quarter with a lack of urgency, and we stopped doing the things that got us the lead (going into halftime).
"Emma (Merriweather) obviously performed well," He continued. "When we get her the ball, she's going to be a hard person to stop. Ma'Qhi (Berry) is going to be really good. She has so many upsides. She had 16 points tonight. She's tough."
Despite only scoring nine points in the third quarter, the Beach came back and put 22 points on the board in the fourth and cut the Waves' lead to one (56-55) before evening the score at 58-all. However, Pepperdine surged back and went on to win the game by 12.
Long Beach State and Pepperdine kept the game interesting throughout as the two teams battled through eight ties and eight different lead changes.
Pepperdine shot 49.1 percent (26-for-53) on the night, while Long Beach State connected on 21-of-59 field goals for a 35.6 shooting percentage. The Beach forced 23 turnovers in the game and came away with 12 steals while scoring 19 points off turnovers and 10 second chance points.
A young team with 10 underclassmen on the roster, Long Beach State looks to continue to gain game day experience while learning from each contest.
"I think it's mentally tough," Cammon said of his young team. "You're asking three freshmen to make plays for you. It's just reps and getting them experience. Jess (Gertz) and Cece (Wilson) didn't have a great night. But a lot of their stuff has to come from the offense and the other kids. They need to make plays for them. Jess is a shooter and she was open a lot tonight, but we couldn't get her the ball. So I think it's reps, getting experience, and it's us getting better in practice and executing well."
Pepperdine, meanwhile, was led by its upperclassmen in junior Yasmine Robinson-Bacote and senior Peyton Langston, along with sophomore Sydney Bordonaro. Robinson-Bacote led all scorers with 24 points, while Bordonaro added 21, and Langston contributed 14.
Long Beach State will be back in action on Sunday, Nov. 12 when it hosts Montana State at 1 p.m. inside the Walter Pyramid.
Notes: Long Beach State's 83-71 loss to Pepperdine marks the first season opening loss for the Beach since the 2013-14 season when they dropped a 70-51 contest to then-No. 9 Cal ... The setback is the first loss in a home opener for LBSU since the 2010-11 season when the Beach fell by a score of 88-76 to Oregon ... Long Beach State is now 33-22 in season openers.
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