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49ers Use Balanced Effort to Top Loyola Marymount, 76-66, in Home Opener

Freshman Raven Benton registered her first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds in a win over LMU on Saturday.

Nov. 23, 2013

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LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team saw four of its players reach double figures in scoring as it used a total team effort to defeat Loyola Marymount, 76-66, in front of a home-opening crowd of 1,723 Saturday evening at the Walter Pyramid.

LBSU picked up its second-straight win to even its record at 2-2. The 49ers also snapped a 12-game losing streak in their all-time series with LMU, topping the Lions for the first time since 1996.

Long Beach State shot 47.1 percent from the field and was even better from behind the arc where it made 57.1 percent of its attempts.

"I've always felt we could shoot the ball," LBSU head coach Jody Wynn said. "I never thought that was our problem, but I don't think we had the confidence in ourselves all the time to shoot consistently. We've been streaky in the past. The girls have put a lot of time in to become more consistent outside shooters and hopefully it will pay off for them. We definitely shot the ball well tonight."

The 49ers also had 13 steals and forced 24 LMU turnovers.

Freshman Raven Benton led Long Beach State as she registered a team-best 16 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. Juniors Lauren Spargo and Hallie Meneses each made three 3-pointers en route to their respective 12 and 11-point performances. Meneses also dished out four assists, while freshman Anna Kim chipped in 10 points and four helpers.

Junior Alex Sanchez had her characteristic all-around showing, totaling eight points, six steals, four rebounds and two assists. Classmate Ella Clark also had nine points.

Long Beach State jumped out to an early 10-2 lead following a Meneses jumper at the 16:56 mark. Loyola Marymount would respond with seven-straight points to close the gap to one, but Meneses then ended a three-plus minute scoring drought for the 49ers with a 3-pointer, and after Kim sank a pair of free throws, the home team was back on top by six at 15-9.

LBSU stayed out front until the Lions used a 12-4 run to go up, 21-19, with 7:05 to play. Kim then drained a 3-pointer and it went back-and-forth with three more lead changes until Spargo's third trey of the half put Long Beach State on top for good. The 49ers proceeded to build their lead up to five, but a pair of LMU free throws with 1:13 on the clock cut LBSU's advantage to 35-32 at the break.

Loyola Marymount (1-4) got the first basket of the second period, but Long Beach State answered with consecutive 3-pointers from Clark and Sanchez. That sparked a 25-6 run, which was capped by a Meneses three, to give the 49ers a commanding 60-40 lead with 7:44 on the clock.

The Lions were able to close the gap to 10 with two minutes left, but a Madison Montgomery jumper and a layup by Benton put the game back out of reach.

LMU finished the day shooting 36.5 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range. Hazel Ramirez led the way with 22 points, while Emily Ben-Jumbo grabbed 12 rebounds.

Long Beach State returns to the Walter Pyramid for back-to-back games next weekend as it entertains Pepperdine on Saturday, Nov. 30, and Omaha on Sunday, Dec. 1. Both games are scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.



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