Dec. 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's basketball team was once again undermanned and this time the 49ers ultimately ran out of gas as USC pulled away late in the game for an 89-72 victory Saturday afternoon in front of 1,132 fans at the Galen Center.
LBSU (7-6) had only nine players suited up, including junior Hallie Meneses, who was fighting through an illness. Despite not feeling well, Meneses still finished with six points and a game-high seven assists in 22 minutes played.
Freshman Raven Benton was the one who carried the offensive load for Long Beach State with a career and game-high 26 points. It was her 10th double-figure scoring game and third 20-plus point performance of the season. She also added four rebounds and three assists, while junior Ella Clark chipped in 14 points.
The 49ers shot a season-high 50.9 percent from the field and were 47.4 percent from 3-point range, but struggled from the charity stripe where they were 7-for-16 (43.8 percent). USC, on the other hand, made 81.5 percent of its free throw attempts (22-of-27).
Long Beach State went up 5-4 on a Benton 3-pointer at the 17:35 mark. That was the only lead the 49ers would hold, however, as USC proceeded to score 14 unanswered to pull ahead, 18-5. Benton would end a four-minute scoring drought for LBSU and the two teams then traded points before the Trojans used an 11-4 spurt to take their largest lead of the half at 33-15 with 5:26 to play.
The 49ers quickly closed the gap to 11 points (33-22) following a layup by Benton and a 3-pointer from Meneses within a five-second span. Long Beach State continued to chip away and outscored the home team, 18-6, over the final five minutes to trail 39-33 at intermission.
LBSU shot 60.9 percent from the floor in the first half and was paced by Benton's 17 points.
Jade Wilson scored the first points of the second period to bring Long Beach State within four at 39-35, but USC got back-to-back buckets to go up by eight. It then went back-and-forth until the 49ers scored four-straight points to make it 51-47 with 11:38 remaining. The Trojans responded with an 8-3 run of their own to go back on top by double digits at 60-50.
LBSU would come back within five following a Wilson layup at the 7:18 mark, but USC used an 18-7 run to build an 80-64 advantage with 2:39 on the clock. Meneses then drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 13, but that was the closest the 49ers would get as the Trojans emerged with the 89-72 victory.
USC (7-5) was 31-of-62 from the field (50 percent) and had five players score in double figures. Cassie Harberts led the way with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Ariya Crook had 17 points.
Long Beach State returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 5, when it hosts Denver in its final non-conference game at 2 p.m.
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