Feb. 11, 2014
Long Beach State (13-10, 5-4 Big West) at
UC Santa Barbara (6-15, 1-7 Big West)
Date: Thursday, Feb. 13
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Arena: The Thunderdome
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Cal Poly (14-8, 8-1 Big West)
Date: Saturday, Feb. 15
Time: 4 p.m. (PST)
Location: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Arena: Mott Gym
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The Long Beach State women's basketball team has a pair of key Big West road games on tap this week as it starts its Central Coast trip with a 7 p.m. contest at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Feb. 13. The 49ers will then make their way to league-leading Cal Poly on Saturday, Feb. 15, for a 4 p.m. showdown.
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.
BIG WEST STANDINGS
Long Beach State, which is 5-4 in Big West games, enters the week in a four-way tie for third place with Hawai'i, UC Irvine and UC Davis. Cal Poly sits at the top of the standings with an 8-1 league record, while Cal State Northridge is second at 7-3.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS
UC Santa Barbara (6-15, 1-7 Big West) is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The Gauchos dropped a 63-60 decision to Hawai'i in their most recent outing on Feb. 6. Nicole Nesbit leads UCSB with 15.6 points and 3.6 assists per contest, while Melissa Zornig is averaging 12.6 points per game.
Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with UC Santa Barbara, 44-47. Since the start of the NCAA Division I era in 1982, the Gauchos hold a more dominating advantage in the series at 47-21. UCSB also owns a 21-7 home record during that stretch.
LAST TIME WE MET
LBSU had a big second half to run away with a 72-53 victory in its first meeting with UC Santa Barbara at the Walter Pyramid on Jan. 16. Lauren Spargo led the way with 19 points, while Madison Montgomery matched her career best with 16 points on a 7-for-8 shooting performance. Destini Mason paced the Gauchos with 17 points and nine boards.
A GLANCE AT CAL POLY
Cal Poly (14-8, 8-1 Big West) extended its win streak to six games with a 62-60 victory over Hawai'i last weekend. The Mustangs, who boast a perfect 9-0 home record, will host Cal State Northridge on Thursday, Feb. 13. Molly Schlemer is tops on the team with 18.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Ariana Elegado is also averaging 16.7 points and a Big West-leading 5.2 assists per outing.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Cal Poly, 39-18, but trails, 10-12, in games played in San Luis Obispo. Since the start of the NCAA Division I era in 1982, LBSU is 26-17 against the Mustangs.
LAST TIME WE MET
Long Beach State pushed defending Big West champion Cal Poly to the brink, but the 49ers came up just short in a 107-102 overtime thriller at the Walter Pyramid on Jan. 18.
Trailing by 13 points with 10:02 left in regulation, LBSU did what it does best, as it came from behind to tie it up at 82-82 with a huge 20-7 run over an eight-minute span. The Mustangs were able to go back on top and took a 91-88 lead after a pair of made free throws. With no timeouts and 6.8 seconds to go, Hallie Meneses provided the late heroics as she cut across the court and pulled up for a deep 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds on the clock to even the score at 91-91 and send the game into overtime. Cal Poly then sealed the win at the free throw line where it went 11-for-12 in the extra period.
Lauren Spargo led five 49ers in double figures with a career-high 20 points. Meneses added a season-best 19 points, while Ella Clark nearly had a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Anna Kim contributed 17 points on a 6-for-9 shooting performance, and Raven Benton finished with 11 points. Ariana Elegado was the Mustangs' top scorer with a game-high 30 points.
The 49ers have used 10 different starting lineups this season. They have mixed up their starters in six of the last eight games, with all nine of LBSU's active players earning at least one start during that stretch.
STEALING THE SHOW
Long Beach State is tops in the Big West and ranks 22nd in all of NCAA Division I with 10.5 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 (T9th) and Hallie Meneses (T9th) - also rank among the conference's individual top-10 in steals per game.
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 27.2 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.
Freshman Raven Benton has notched a team-leading 17 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 (13.6 ppg) and is second in rebounding (5.3 rpg). In addition, she has gotten herself to the free throw line a team-high 147 times where she has made 69.4 percent of her attempts.
MORE FROM THE FRESHMEN
All four of Long Beach State's freshmen have reached double digits in points this season. In addition to Raven Benton's aforementioned performances, Anna Kim has eight double-figure scoring games, Madison Montgomery has seven and Jewelyn Sawyer has one. Kim registered a career-best 22 points vs. Denver, Montgomery had a career-high 16 against the Pioneers and again vs. UC Santa Barbara, and Sawyer notched a career-best 10 points 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 5.7 points, 5.5 rebounds,1.9 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
SPARGO FINDS HER GROOVE
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 as she has reached double figures in six of the last eight games. During that stretch, she poured in a career-high 20 points vs. Cal Poly on Jan. 18. 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 second with 27 threes made. She has eight 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.
MENESES ON POINT
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 15 times and ranks third in the Big West with 4.3 assists per outing. Meneses has 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 14 games (26-of-55). 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 8.5 points per outing and leads the squad in 3-pointers made (31) and assists (99).
FOR THE RECORD
Ella Clark ranks among the 49er all-time career leaders in blocks (5th, 148) and 3-pointers made (8th, 99). Lauren Spargo is also sixth with 106 career threes made. In addition, the duo ranks among the top-10 in 3-point field goals attempted.
Long Beach State returns home for a single contest against UC Davis next week. The 49ers will host the Aggies in their Breast Cancer Awareness Game on Thursday, Feb. 20. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
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