March 10, 2014
No. 7 Cal State Fullerton (12-17, 8-8 Big West) vs.
No. 6 Long Beach State (16-14, 8-8 Big West)
Date: Tuesday, March 11
Time: 8:30 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Arena: Walter Pyramid
TV Talent: Trent Schlom (PBP), Richie Scheuler (Analyst)
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The sixth-seeded Long Beach State women's basketball team will begin its quest for the Big West Tournament title on Tuesday, March 11, when it squares off against No. 7 seed Cal State Fullerton in a first-round match-up at the Walter Pyramid. The 49ers and Titans are set to tip-off at approximately 8:30 p.m.
All of the first round, quarterfinal and semifinal games of the Big West Tournament will be broadcast on ESPN3, while Saturday's championship game is going to be televised live on FOX Prime Ticket. Trent Schlom is the play-by-play announcer and he will be joined by analyst Richie Scheuler for Long Beach State's first-round match-up with Cal State Fullerton.
49ERS IN THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT
LBSU, which has earned its fifth-straight postseason berth under head coach Jody Wynn, is 34-22 overall in Big West Tournament games. The 49ers' last Big West title came in 1991, but they have made five appearances in the championship game since then, including a Cinderella run to the finals as the No. 7 seed in 2012.
Long Beach State is 2-2 against Cal State Fullerton in postseason play. The Titans have won the last two Big West Tournament meetings, including a 54-48 first-round upset last year.
FOUR 49ERS EARN ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS
Long Beach State had four players named to the All-Big West Team as Lauren Spargo and Ella Clark earned honorable mention recognition, while Raven Benton and Anna Kim were selected to the five-member All-Freshman Team.
A GLANCE AT THE TITANS
Cal State Fullerton (12-17, 8-8 Big West) closed out the regular season with a convincing 61-42 win over Hawai'i. All-Big West selections Alex Thomas and Chante Miles lead the Titans with 15.2 and 13.9 points per game, respectively. Miles is also tops on the squad with 3.9 assists per outing, while Kathleen Iwuoha is averaging 10.5 points and a team-best 7.3 rebounds per contest.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 66-40, and has won four of the last six. Since the start of the NCAA era (1981-82), the 49ers are 53-17 against the Titans.
LAST TIME WE MET
Long Beach State led for 34 minutes but could not stop a late rally by Cal State Fullerton as the Titans came back for the 71-55 victory at the Walter Pyramid on March 1. CSF ended up outscoring LBSU, 17-2, over the final five minutes.
Hallie Meneses led the way with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Alex Sanchez added 10 points. Raven Benton contributed six points and a team-high eight rebounds. Kathleen Iwuoha paced the Titans with 25 points and 12 boards.
The 49ers won the first meeting between the two teams in dominating fashion as they toppled CSF, 83-64, at Titan Gym on Feb. 1.
SCOUTING THE REST OF THE FIELD
With a win on Tuesday, LBSU will advance to Wednesday's quarterfinal round where it will face either No. 3 Hawai'i or No. 4 UC Irvine at the Walter Pyramid.
The Rainbow Wahine (16-12, 10-6 BWC) dropped their regular-season finale at Cal State Fullerton last weekend. Kamilah Jackson is tops on the team with 15.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per outing, but she has missed the last five games with an injury. Shawna-Lei Kuehu (10.6 ppg) and Ashleigh Karaitiana (10.3 ppg) are also averaging double figures.
UC Irvine (16-14, 9-7 BWC) capped off the regular season with wins over Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis. Camille Buckley leads the Anteaters with 18.0 points and 11.8 rebounds per contest, while Jennifer Tsurumoto has recorded 13.3 points and 3.9 assists per game.
STEALING THE SHOW
Long Beach State is tops in the Big West and tied for 50th in all of NCAA Division I with 9.5 steals per outing. LBSU has recorded 10 or more steals in 14 contests, including a season-high 18 against Harvard. Three 49ers - Jade Wilson (4th), Hallie Meneses (5th) and Anna Kim (10th) - also rank among the conference's individual top-10 in steals per game.
PROTECTING THE PYRAMID
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 33-14 (.702) record at the Walter Pyramid. Long Beach State is 11-5 at home this year.
Long Beach State has a nice balance as eight players are averaging at least 20 minutes a game, with Hallie Meneses leading the way at 27.3 minutes per contest. With everyone getting equal playing time, LBSU has seen six different players record at least 20 points in a game. Four 49ers also have more than one 20-point outing, and all nine active players have reached double figures in scoring.
IN THE 80'S
The 49ers have surpassed the 80-point mark in seven games this season (6-1), which is more than the last four years combined. The last time LBSU had at least seven 80-point performances in a season was in 2001-02. 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).
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 19 times and ranks third in the Big West with 4.4 assists per outing. Meneses has 13 games with at least five helpers, including a career-high nine in a win at Cal State Fullerton. The San Francisco, Calif., native also has 13 double-figure scoring performances and 12 outings with multiple 3-pointers made. Meneses was a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc at CSF 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. In the second meeting with the Mustangs, Meneses had 19 points and eight assists. On the season, she is averaging 8.5 points per contest and is tops on the squad with 131 assists.
With her 6-foot-8 wingspan, junior Ella Clark (London, England) has been a menace for opposing shooters. Clark has at least one block in 23 games, and has recorded multiple blocks in seven contests. On the season, she leads the team with 36 blocked shots. In addition, Clark has registered 8.7 points per outing and has stepped up her offensive production over the last seven games where she has averaged 13.7 points on 50 percent shooting. Clark recently matched her career high with 23 points in the regular-season finale at UC Riverside. She also had 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting in a big road win at Cal Poly on Feb. 15. Earlier in the year, Clark registered a then career-best 19 points vs. Omaha, and followed that up with a 17-point performance against Harvard, where she made a career-high five treys.
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 on Jan. 30 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. She later matched that block total with four at Cal Poly (Feb. 15). 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. In addition, she recently had 15 points at UC Riverside. On the season, Wilson is averaging 6.3 points, 5.6 rebounds,1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game.
A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING
Junior guard Alex Sanchez (Anaheim, Calif.) went 11-for-11 from the free throw line to finish with 15 points in the regular-season finale at UC Riverside. It was her second double-digit scoring performance since her return to the lineup on March 1, after being sidelined for eight games with a foot injury. Despite the setback, Sanchez has continued to be LBSU's top all-around player as she is averaging 10.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. She has two 20-point games on the year, pouring in a career-high 24 points on a 10-of-15 shooting performance at Arizona State, and finishing with 21 against Florida State in the Beach Classic championship game. Sanchez, who also had 14 points and six assists vs. Richmond in the first round of the Beach Classic, was named to the all-tournament team. Sanchez is a two-time all-conference honoree and was selected to the six-player preseason All-Big West team.
With a win over Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State will move on to the quarterfinals where it will face either third-seeded Hawai'i or fourth-seeded UC Irvine at the Walter Pyramid on Wednesday, March 12.
The Big West Tournament semifinals and finals will be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim, March 14-15.
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