Long Beach State's Rally Cut Short in Loss to New Mexico State
Cecily Wilson, Emma Merriweather tie career-highs with 20-point performances
LONG BEACH -- Cecily Wilson and Emma Merriweather each tied their career-highs with a pair of 20-point performances on the final day of the Beach Classic, however, Long Beach State's rally came up short as the Beach dropped a 72-63 decision to New Mexico State. For her efforts, Wilson was named to the Beach Classic All-Tournament Team.
Long Beach State (2-10) was led offensively by Merriweather who matched her career-best with 23 points as she connected on 10-of-12 field goals and was 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Merriweather also added six rebounds, two blocks and an assist in the game.
Wilson also tied her career-best with 20 points marking her second 20-plus performance of the season. She came up just one rebound shy of a double-double as she led the Beach on boards with nine. Wilson was on-point in every aspect of the game as she led the team with five assists and four steals to cap her all-around solid performance.
While the Beach boasted a pair of 20-point scorers, so did New Mexico State (5-7). The Aggies were led by Gia Pack (27 points), who also was named to the All-Tournament Team, and Brooke Salas (23 points). Pack finished the game with a double-double as she added a team-best 12 rebounds.
LBSU started the game off strong as the Beach quickly went up 5-0 on shots by Wilson and Shanaijah Davison. However, following the media timeout at 4:05, the Beach's offense went cold. Long Beach State was held scoreless for the rest of the quarter as the Aggies closed the frame on a 10-0 run to take an 18-12 lead into the second quarter.
The Beach picked things back up offensively in the second quarter shooting 41.7 percent (5-for-12) as Merriweather and Wilson teamed up for 10 points in the frame. Long Beach State and New Mexico State nearly matched each other point-for-point in the second as the Aggies outscored the Beach 15-14 in the frame as LBSU trailed 33-26 at halftime.
New Mexico State broke the game wide open in the third quarter as the Aggies shot an impressive 78.6 percent from the field. NMSU connected on 11-of-14 field goal attempts and sunk all four of their free throws. Meanwhile, Long Beach State was 6-for-16 from the field and 2-for-5 from long distance. Despite going 3-for-3 from the line, the Beach were outscored 27-17 in the frame and the Aggies led by as many as 24 points before taking a 60-43 lead into the fourth quarter.
Despite trailing by nearly 20 points heading into the final 10 minutes of action, Long Beach State returned to the court firing on all cylinders. The Beach saw Merriweather score eight points in the frame, while Wilson tallied six points, grabbed five boards and swiped three steals. The Beach forced 13 turnovers in the fourth quarter alone bringing the Aggies total to 24. From there, LBSU capitalized and scored nine points off of turnovers and outscore New Mexico State 8-0 on second chance points.
Long Beach State went on to cut New Mexico State's once 24-point lead down to six (69-63) with 2:32 remaining in the game. With the game on the line, neither team was able to connect for a bucket for the remainder of the game. The Aggies' final three points all came from the charity stripe.
The Beach has a week to regroup over the winter holiday before they travel to Newark, N.J., to take part in the NJIT Highlanders Christmas Tournament. The tournament begins on Thursday, Dec. 28 when Long Beach State plays host NJIT at 2 p.m. (PT).
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