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49er Women's Hoops Returns Home to Host UC Riverside on Saturday
The 49ers will host UC Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 8.

The 49ers will host UC Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Feb. 7, 2014

UC Riverside (4-17, 0-8 Big West) at
Long Beach State (12-10, 4-4 Big West)
Saturday, Feb. 8
Time: 4 p.m. (PST)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Arena: Walter Pyramid
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The Long Beach State women's basketball team will look to bounce back from last night's loss at UC Irvine when it plays host to UC Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 8. The 49ers and Highlanders are set for a 4 p.m. tip-off at the Walter Pyramid.

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 is in his second year as LBSU's play-by-play announcer.

UC Riverside (4-17, 0-8 Big West) remained winless in league play with a 60-57 setback at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday. The Highlanders have lost 14 in a row with their last win coming on Dec. 3, 2013. UCR has four players averaging double figures in scoring and is led by Brittany Crain's 18.2 points per game. Annelise Ito has also registered 11.5 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds per outing.

Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with UC Riverside, 16-13. The two teams have split the regular-season series in each of the last three years. The 49ers are 5-4 against the Highlanders in fifth-year head coach Jody Wynn's tenure. They are also 7-6 against UCR when playing on their home floor.

In the most recent meeting between the two teams, Long Beach State avenged a narrow one-point home loss with a dominating 80-66 victory at UC Riverside on Feb. 16, 2013. The 80 points were a season-high for the 49ers. LBSU shot 51.9 percent from the field and was 9-of-18 from 3-point range. Ella Clark led the way with 16 points. Devin Hudson added 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while Alex Sanchez totaled 13 points and a career-best nine assists. Jade Wilson also matched her then career high with 11 points.

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 31-12 (.721) record at the Walter Pyramid. Long Beach State is 9-3 at home this year.

Long Beach State is tops in the Big West and ranks 18th in all of NCAA Division I with 10.7 steals per outing. LBSU has recorded 10 or more steals in 14 contests, including a season-high 18 against Harvard. Four 49ers - Jade Wilson (2nd), Alex Sanchez (3rd), Anna Kim (7th) and Hallie Meneses (10th) - also rank among the conference's individual top-10 in steals per game.

The 49ers already have five games (4-1) with at least 80 points, which is more than they had in the last four years combined. The last time LBSU had at least five 80-point performances in a season was in 2004-05. Long Beach State also registered back-to-back 80-point games for the first time in 11 years as they scored 88 against Denver (Jan. 5) and followed with 84 vs. UC Irvine (Jan. 9).

Long Beach State has a nice balance as eight players are averaging at least 20 minutes a game, with Ella Clark leading the way at 27.1 minutes per contest. With everyone getting equal playing time, LBSU has seen five different players score at least 20 points in a game. All nine of the 49ers' active players have also reached double figures in scoring.

Jade Wilson and Raven Benton each have a team-leading two double-doubles. Wilson finished with a career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds against Hawai'i on Jan. 30. She also had 10 points and a career-best 13 boards in an overtime win vs. UC Irvine on Jan. 9. Benton posted her first double-double of the year vs. Loyola Marymount on Nov. 23 (16 pts, 10 rebs), and then started off Big West play with 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds against the Anteaters. In addition, Madison Montgomery registered 10 points and 10 boards vs. Pepperdine, while Jewelyn Sawyer had 10 points and 11 rebounds at Cal State Fullerton.

Jade Wilson is Long Beach State's only senior and she is also the only 49er to have started every game this year. She had a remarkable performance in a 74-72 win over Hawai'i as she registered her second double-double of the year with a career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. Wilson was 8-for-13 from the field and added a career-best four blocks against the Rainbow Wahine. The Tempe, Ariz., native also had a career-high 13 boards to go along with 10 points and five steals in the Big West opener vs. UC Irvine. In the second meeting with the Anteaters, Wilson notched 10 points and a career-best six steals. On the season, she is averaging 5.8 points, 5.5 rebounds,1.9 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.

After missing four games and nearly a month of practice due to an illness in December, junior Lauren Spargo (Valencia, Calif.) is back at full strength. She has reached double figures in five of the last seven games with 10 points at UC Davis, 12 points at UC Irvine, 15 points at Cal State Fullerton, 19 points vs. UC Santa Barbara and a career-high 20 points vs. Cal Poly. Spargo added seven rebounds, three steals and a career-best five assists against the Mustangs. On the season, Spargo is third on the squad with 10.1 ppg and is tied for second with 25 threes made. She has had seven outings with more than one trey, including a 4-for-7 performance from behind the arc at San Francisco, where she finished with 16 points.

After sitting out all of last year with an ACL injury, junior point guard Hallie Meneses did not miss a beat in her return as the 49ers' floor leader. She has led the team in assists 14 times and ranks third in the Big West with 4.3 assists per outing. Meneses has had 10 games with at least five helpers, including a career-high nine in a win at Cal State Fullerton. The San Francisco, Calif., native has also caught fire from long distance, hitting nearly 50 percent of her 3-point attempts over the last 13 games (26-of-53). Meneses was a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc at Cal State Fullerton where she finished with a team-high 18 points. She also went 3-for-5 from 3-point range en route to a season-best 19 points vs. Cal Poly. On the season, Meneses is averaging 8.9 points per outing and leads the squad in 3-pointers made (31) and assists (95).

Freshman Raven Benton has notched a team-leading 16 double-figure scoring games, with four of those coming in the form of 20-point performances. She had back-to-back 20-point outings to close out non-conference play, 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. The Federal Way, Wash., native 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). For the season, Benton is tops on the squad in scoring (13.3 ppg) and is second in rebounding (5.2 rpg). In addition, she has gotten herself to the free throw line a team-high 144 times where she has made 69.4 percent of her attempts.

Long Beach State will make its Central Coast trip next week as it is set to take on UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 13) and Cal Poly (Feb. 15) in a pair of Big West games.