Dec. 2, 2012
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team recovered from a slow start and overcame a 14-point deficit to down Arizona, 71-61, Sunday afternoon at the Walter Pyramid.
The 49ers, who outscored the Wildcats by 15 in the second half, improved to 4-3 overall, marking their best seven-game start since the 2005-06 campaign. It is also the first time in 13 years that LBSU has defeated two Pac-12 schools in the same season as it topped Washington earlier in the year (Nov. 18).
Long Beach State had 28 turnovers, but owned a lopsided 43-27 advantage on the boards and shot a season-best 47.5 percent from the floor.
"Arizona is athletic and they put the pressure on us," 49er head coach Jody Wynn said. "We're not proud of our 28 turnovers, but our rebounding made up for it. We were stronger in the second half and we understood what they were trying to do."
Sophomore Alex Sanchez led the team in scoring for the fourth consecutive game with 14 points. She also had six assists and five rebounds.
Sophomore Devin Hudson registered the 49ers' first double-double of the year with 10 points and 12 boards, while classmate Bianka Balthazar also finished with 12 points. Sophomores Ella Clark and Lauren Spargo chipped in nine points each.
Arizona (5-3) went up 4-0 before junior Jade Wilson got Long Beach State on the board with a layup at the 17:55 mark. The Wildcats would pull ahead by five, but Balthazar and Sanchez hit back-to-back jumpers to bring LBSU within one at 7-6.
Carissa Crutchfield then reeled off six-straight points and Kama Griffitts drained a 3-pointer to put the visitors on top, 16-6, with 12:08 to play. Sophomore Sigrid Skorpen responded with a three from the left wing, ending a five-plus minute 49er scoring drought, but UA proceeded to go on an 11-4 run, taking a 27-13 lead with 9:31 remaining.
Long Beach State then used an 8-2 spurt of its own, capped by a 3-pointer from Balthazar, to close the gap to eight (29-21). After the Wildcats matched their largest lead of the game at 14, Hudson sparked an 11-2 LBSU run with six points over the final 1:50, quickly cutting the deficit to 43-38 at the break.
The 49ers outrebounded Arizona, 21-to-7, and made 48.4 percent of their shot attempts in the first half. Sanchez led the way with 10 points, while Hudson had eight rebounds. UA went 55.6 percent from the field and forced 19 Long Beach State turnovers.
It was a back-and-forth affair early in the second period until the 49ers scored nine-straight points over a three-minute span. They took their first lead of the day following a three-point play by Skorpen and went up 49-46 on a Balthazar layup at the 14:08 mark. Arizona would come back within one before LBSU went on a 16-4 run, which ended with a Spargo 3-pointer, to go on top, 65-52, with 6:44 remaining.
The Wildcats eventually pulled within six, but a layup by Wilson and a pair of free throws from Sanchez sealed the 71-61 victory. Long Beach State cleaned it up in the second half, committing just nine turnovers.
Arizona finished with a 36.4 field goal percentage and was paced by Davellyn Whyte's game-high 17 points, eight steals and seven assists. Erica Barnes also had 11 points.
The 49ers will have a one-week layoff before returning to the Walter Pyramid to host Santa Clara in a 2 p.m. non-conference showdown on Sunday, Dec. 9.
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