Long Beach State Defeats Arizona, 80-72
Head coach Jeff Cammon earns first-career victory
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Long Beach State women’s basketball team shot 47.5 percent from the field and had five double-figure scorers as the Beach earned an 80-72 victory over Arizona on Tuesday night at the McKale Center.
The win marked the first of the season for the Beach and the first-ever for first year head coach Jeff Cammon’s collegiate coaching career.
“It feels great,” Cammon said. “It made me a little nervous towards the end. I probably yelled more in the last five minutes than I have all year.
“I’m so proud of these young ladies,” Cammon continued “It’s not easy when you’re trying to find your way. This is the process. Win or lose, we talk about getting better and we got better tonight. I’m so happy for the team because they work so hard. It’s just a growing process.”
The Beach (1-5) outshot the Wildcats (2-4) 47.5 percent to 40.0 percent in the game and came away with 20 assists to Arizona’s 14. Long Beach State also forced U of A into 16 turnovers and capitalized by scoring 18 points off of turnovers.
Freshman Shanaijah Davison led the Beach with 20 points for her third 20-point showing of the year. She also added four rebounds, two assists, a pair of steals and one block. Senior Cecily Wilson posted a solid performance as she tallied 12 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while freshman Ma’Qhi Berry added 11 points, five assists and four boards.
Rounding out the Beach’s five double-figure scorers in the game were junior Martina McCowan and freshman Emma Merriweather who recorded 10 points each. McCowan tied Berry for the team lead with five assists on the night and swiped a team-best four steals.
The Beach were on fire offensively as they shot higher than 40 percent throughout the game and managed to shoot better than 50 percent in the second and fourth quarters. In addition to their offensive surge, the Beach also was solid defensively finishing the game with nine steals and 28 defensive rebounds.
“Our kids came to play on both ends of the floor,” Cammon said. “I thought we did some good things defensively. We turned them over and were able to convert layovers. I’m just so proud of our effort and our execution. The effort has been there, but the execution has been a process.”
Long Beach State came out shooting as the Beach shot 42.9 percent (6-for-14) from the field to open the game, while holding Arizona to just 23.1 percent (3-for-13). Additionally, LBSU connected on 4-of-8 three-pointers and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line. The Beach saw McCowan and Jessica Gertz finish the opening frame with six points each, while Davison added five of her own as LBSU took a 20-10 lead over the Wildcats.
The Beach continued their hot-shooting into the second quarter, as Long Beach State shot a sizzling 52.6 percent (10-for-19) from the field highlighted by nine points from Ma’Qhi Berry and seven from Davison to bring her first-half points total to 12.
LBSU continued its perfect showing from the free throw line going 7-for-7 in the first half and shooting 48.5 (16-for-33) from the field in the first 20 minutes of action. With their hot-shooting and stout defense, which limited Arizona to 32.1 percent (9-for-28) from the field, the Beach cruised to a 44-26 halftime lead.
Arizona began to heat up in the second half, but Long Beach State was unfazed as the Beach led by as many as 20 points on the night. The Wildcats managed to cut that lead down to six (73-67) with just 1:50 left to play. But Wilson hit a three-pointer and after a foul, knocked down both free throws to put LBSU back up by 11 (78-67) and keep the game out of reach as the Beach went on to defeat the Wildcats by a score of 80-72.
The Wildcats were led by JaLea Bennett’s 24-point performance. Marlee Kyles (19 points) and Lucia Alonso (11 points) also reached double-figures for Arizona. Sam Thomas led both teams with 11 rebounds, while adding six points and three steals.
Long Beach State heads to Missoula, Mont., for the Lady Griz Classic as the Beach are scheduled to play Oral Roberts on Friday, Dec. 1, before host Montana on Saturday, Dec. 2.
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