March 12, 2014
No. 6 Long Beach State (17-14) vs.
No. 3 Hawai'i (16-12)
Date: Wednesday, March 12
Time: 6 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Arena: Walter Pyramid
TV Talent: Tim Becwar (PBP), Richie Scheuler (Analyst)
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The sixth-seeded Long Beach State women's basketball team defeated seventh-seeded Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday to advance to tonight's quarterfinal match-up with No. 3 seed Hawai'i. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.
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. Tim Becwar is the play-by-play announcer and he will be joined by analyst Richie Scheuler for Long Beach State's quarterfinal game against Hawai'i.
49ERS IN THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT
LBSU, which has earned its fifth-straight postseason berth under head coach Jody Wynn, is 35-22 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 1-0 against Hawai'i in the postseason as the two teams squared off in the Rainbow Wahine's first stint in the Big West back in 1991.
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.
SCOUTING THE RAINBOW WAHINE
No. 3 seed Hawai'i (16-12, 10-6 BWC) earned a first-round bye into tonight's quarterfinal game. Last week, the Rainbow Wahine topped UC Santa Barbara, 73-60, before falling at Cal State Fullerton, 61-42, in their regular-season finale. Kamilah Jackson is the team's leading scorer (15.5 ppg) and rebounder (9.7 rpg), but she has missed the last five games with an injury. Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Ashleigh Karaitiana have picked up the slack in her absence, averaging 10.6 and 10.3 points per contest, respectively. All three were named to the All-Big West Team.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Hawai'i, 16-11, and is 8-3 when playing in Long Beach. LBSU and UH split the regular-season series with both teams winning on their home court.
STREAKING AT THE LINE
The 49ers have been close to perfect at the free throw line over the last two games, making 92 percent (46-for-50) of their attempts. They were a remarkable 34-of-36 at the charity stripe in a regular-season ending win at UC Riverside on March 8. On the year, LBSU is a 68.8 percent free throw shooting team.
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 34-14 (.708) record at the Walter Pyramid. Long Beach State is 12-5 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 and Ella Clark 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.
Freshman Raven Benton has notched a team-leading 20 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 (12.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.5 rpg). In addition, she has gotten herself to the free throw line a team-high 177 times where she has made 70.6 percent of her attempts.
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 24 games, and has recorded multiple blocks in eight contests. On the season, she leads the team with 38 blocked shots. In addition, Clark has registered 8.9 points per outing and has stepped up her offensive production over the last eight games where she has averaged 13.9 points on nearly 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 a 9-for-11 effort from the field 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.
SPARGO FOR THREE
Junior Lauren Spargo (Valencia, Calif.) is second on the squad with 10.2 ppg, and is tops on the team with 41 threes made. She has 12 outings with more than one trey, including a 4-for-7 performance from behind the arc in a Big West Tournament first-round win against Cal State Fullerton, where she finished with 19 points. Spargo, who missed four games and nearly a month of practice due to an illness in December, has reached double figures in 10 of the last 15 games in which she has played. 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.
If Long Beach State defeats Hawai'i on Wednesday, it will advance to the semifinals where it will face top-seeded Cal State Northridge in a 12 p.m. game at the Honda Center on Friday, March 14.
The Big West Tournament finals will also be held at the Honda Center at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 15.
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