Jan. 7, 2014
UC Irvine (7-7, 0-0 Big West) at
Long Beach State (8-6, 0-0 Big West)
Date: Thursday, Jan. 9
Time: 5 p.m. (PST)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Arena: Walter Pyramid
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UC Davis (5-8, 0-0 Big West)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 11
Time: 2 p.m. (PST)
Location: Davis, Calif.
Arena: The Pavilion
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The Long Beach State women's basketball team starts Big West Conference play this week as it entertains UC Irvine before heading to UC Davis.
The 49ers will host the Anteaters in both teams' Big West opener on Thursday, Jan. 9. Tip-off has been pushed back one hour from an original start time of 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. LBSU will then close out the week by making the trip to Davis for a 2 p.m. contest against the Aggies on Saturday, Jan. 11.
Fans can follow the 49ers all season long with every women's basketball game being broadcast live via Stretch Internet Radio on longbeachstate.com. Tyler Hendrickson returns for his second year as LBSU's play-by-play announcer.
Long Beach State is 17-11 all-time in Big West openers. The 49ers, who will be starting their conference slate at home for the fifth-straight year, are 11-5 when playing their first Big West game of the season in Long Beach. LBSU is also 5-0 against UC Irvine in Big West openers. The last time the two teams were pitted against each other to start the season was in 2002-03, when the 49ers topped the Anteaters on the road, 64-50.
SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS
UC Irvine (7-7, 0-0 Big West) defeated La Verne, 90-53, in its most recent outing on Jan. 2. Camille Buckley leads the Anteaters with 14.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Jennifer Tsurumoto has also registered 13.4 points and a team-best 3.2 assists per contest.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with UC Irvine, 50-12. The two teams have split the regular-season series in each of the last six years. In 2012-13, the 49ers topped the Anteaters, 71-61, at the Walter Pyramid before dropping a 65-57 decision in Irvine.
A GLANCE AT UC DAVIS
UC Davis (5-8, 0-0 Big West) has won three of its last four, including a 78-46 victory over Simpson University on Jan. 2. Sydnee Fipps leads the Aggies and ranks third in the Big West with 17.8 points per game. She also has a team-best 6.2 rebounds per outing. UCD will host Cal State Northridge (Jan. 9) prior to its contest with the 49ers on Saturday.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with UC Davis, 12-10, but trails 8-10 in the NCAA era (since 1982). The 49ers split with the Aggies last year as they bounced back from a 68-62 road loss on Jan. 31, with a 66-54 victory at the Walter Pyramid on March 2.
The 49ers are coming off a tough non-conference schedule in which it played two ranked teams in then No. 9 Cal and No. 23 Florida State. Four of LBSU's six losses came to squads that are now ranked in the most recent AP Top 25 Poll - No. 18 FSU, No. 19 Cal, No. 23 Arizona State and No. 24 San Diego. Those four teams enter this week's action with a combined record of 50-6.
STARTING AT THE TOP
Despite its challenging preseason slate, Long Beach State will be the only team to start conference play with an overall record that is above .500. The 49ers posted a Big West-leading 8-6 mark in non-conference games. UC Irvine (7-7) and Hawai'i (6-6) were next in line at an even .500.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Over the last two-plus years, LBSU has been tough to beat at home. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, the 49ers have posted a 28-11 (.718) record at the Walter Pyramid. Long Beach State is 6-2 at home this year.
STEALING THE SHOW
Long Beach State leads the Big West with 10.9 steals per outing. LBSU has recorded 10 or more steals in nine contests, including a season-high 18 against Harvard. Four 49ers - Anna Kim (3rd), Alex Sanchez (4th), Jade Wilson (6th) and Hallie Meneses (T10th) - also rank among the conference's individual top-10 in steals per game.
KIM EARNS PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Freshman point guard Anna Kim was named the Big West Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Monday, Jan. 6, for her performance in the 49ers' convincing 88-68 win over Denver last weekend. Kim had her best showing of her young career as she poured in 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including a 4-for-5 effort from behind the arc. Her 22 points, eight field goals and four 3-pointers were all career highs. Kim, who played only 26 minutes, also recorded three steals and two assists.
Freshman Raven Benton has notched a team-leading 11 double-figure scoring games, with four of those coming in the form of 20-point performances. She has netted at least 20 points in each of the last two outings, draining a career-high 26 at USC (Dec. 28) and registering 22 against Denver (Jan. 5). In those two games, Benton shot 61.3 percent from the field and 63.0 percent from 3-point range. She also poured in 22 points in a double-overtime victory at San Francisco and finished with 21 points in 21 minutes played vs. Harvard in the first round of the ASU Classic. Benton added 16 points in 13 minutes of action in the championship game at tournament host Arizona State, earning her all-tournament honors and the Big West Women's Basketball Player of the Week award (Dec. 9). The Federal Way, Wash., native also has one double-double on the year with 16 points and 10 rebounds against Loyola Marymount. For the season, Benton is tops on the squad in scoring (14.5 ppg), rebounding (5.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (47.7). In addition, she has gotten herself to the free throw line a team-high 100 times where she has made 69.0 percent of her attempts.
MORE FROM THE FRESHMEN
Three of Long Beach State's four freshmen have reached double digits in points this season. In addition to Raven Benton's aforementioned performances, Madison Montgomery has four double-figure scoring games, including a career-high 16 points vs. Denver. She also notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Pepperdine. Anna Kim has also reached double digits five times with a career-best 22 points vs. Denver.
A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING
Junior guard Alex Sanchez (Anaheim, Calif.) has continued to be LBSU's top all-around player as she is averaging 11.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. She has two 20-point performances on the year as she drained a career-high 24 points on a 10-for-15 shooting performance at Arizona State, and had 21 against Florida State in the Beach Classic championship game. Sanchez, who added 14 points and six assists vs. Richmond in the first round of the Beach Classic, was named to the all-tournament team. Most recently, she notched 11 points, five rebounds, three steals and a season-best seven assists in a dominating win over Denver. Sanchez also finished with 19 points and seven boards in a win at San Francisco and came up with a career-high tying six steals vs. LMU. Sanchez, a two-time all-conference selection, was named to the six-player preseason All-Big West team.
MENESES RETURNS TO THE POINT
After sitting out all of last year with an ACL injury, junior point guard Hallie Meneses has not missed a beat in her return as the 49ers' floor leader. She has led the team in assists nine times and ranks fifth in the Big West with 4.1 assists per outing. The San Francisco, Calif., native has also been hot from long distance, hitting at least 50 percent of her 3-point attempts in each of the last five games, where she has gone a combined 14-of-25 from behind the arc. Meneses started that stretch with three-straight double-figure scoring performances (Dec. 17-21). She totaled 15 points vs. Miami (Ohio), before coming up big at the Beach Classic where she registered a season-high 17 points vs. Richmond and 15 points vs. No. 23 Florida State in the championship game, to earn all-tournament honors. Earlier in the year, Meneses also spearheaded a 23-point comeback win against Harvard at the ASU Classic, as she finished with 11 points, eight helpers and four steals.
Long Beach State returns home for two Big West games next week when it plays host to UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 16) and Cal Poly (Jan. 18).
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