March 19, 2012
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Long Beach State, which was picked to finish last in the league's preseason poll, became the first team in Big West Conference history to knock off a No. 1 and No. 2 seed in tournament play. In first round action, the 49ers defeated second-seeded Cal State Northridge, 57-52, in Northridge. LBSU then upset top-seeded Cal Poly, 51-48, in the semifinals at the Honda Center on Friday, March 9.
Long Beach State was unable to complete the magical run, however, as it fell to UC Santa Barbara in the finals. The No. 7 seed 49ers were the lowest seed to ever advance to the Big West championship game.
IN THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT
Long Beach State is one of the most storied programs in Big West Tournament history. It is second in wins (34), second in all-tournament selections (30), third in conference titles (4) and fourth in winning percentage (.618).
The 49ers have advanced to the finals 11 times and are 4-7 in those contests. Prior to this year, the last time LBSU was in the Big West championship game was in 2001 and the last time it won the tournament title was in 1991.
TWO 49ERS EARN ALL-BIG WEST HONORS
Two 49ers were named to the 2011-12 All-Big West Team the conference office announced on Monday, March 5. Senior Tipesa Moorer was a second-team selection, while freshman Alex Sanchez garnered honorable mention recognition. Sanchez was also one of five members chosen to the All-Freshman Team.
10 AND COUNTING
LBSU surpassed its win total from last year with its ninth victory of the season vs. Cal Poly (Jan. 21), and after hitting a road block with three consecutive losses, it finally reached the 10-win plateau with a 75-72 double-overtime victory at Cal State Northridge on Feb. 11. It is the second time in the last five years that the 49ers have reached double figures in the win column, and LBSU's 14 victories are the most since the 2005-06 campaign.
Long Beach State finished with an impressive 10-3 home record this season. LBSU outscored its opponents 842-739 and shot 41.3 percent at the Walter Pyramid. In addition, the 49ers went 6-2 in Big West home games.
MOORER DOUBLES UP
Senior Tipesa Moorer (Harbor City, Calif.) reached double figures in scoring in 24 of 32 games, including three 20-plus point performances. Moorer finished with 20 vs. Cal State Fullerton (March 1), 21 at UC Riverside (Feb. 4), and poured in a career-high 24 points at UC Davis on Jan. 14. She also registered two double-doubles with 18 points and 11 rebounds in an overtime win against Nevada, and 13 points and 11 boards in the opener vs. Utah Valley. On the year, Moorer was tops on the squad and ranked seventh in the Big West with 12.7 points per outing.
Redshirt freshman Alex Sanchez finished the season ranked second on the team in scoring (9.2 ppg), rebounding (4.9 rpg) and assists (99). The Anaheim native reached double figures 16 times with a career-high 20 points at Washington. She came close to matching that total with 18 points (8-for-10) vs. UC Irvine and 17 points against UC Santa Barbara in the Big West championship game. Sanchez notched her first double-double of her 49er career with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Sacramento State. She also had a career-best eight assists in a win over Western Michigan. Sanchez was named to the Big West All-Tournament Team after averaging 10.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in the 49ers' three postseason games.
SPARGO FOR THREE
Freshman Lauren Spargo was Long Beach State's top threat from downtown this year as she made a team-high 39 threes. She was just two shy of the 49ers' all-time freshman record. Spargo drained four 3-pointers en route to a season-best 18 points vs. Western Michigan, and made three treys on three other occassions. She also reached double figures in scoring with 16 points vs. Dartmouth and at Iona, 15 points vs. Cal State Northridge, 11 points at Cal State Northridge (March 6) and 10 points vs. Pacific. Spargo was third on the team with 6.9 points per game.
MENESES AT THE POINT
Hallie Meneses was the 49ers' starting point guard in all but two games in her first year at Long Beach State and she didn't disappoint as she ranked sixth in the Big West with 3.3 assists per contest. The sophomore transfer from the City College of San Francisco dished out a career-best eight helpers at Pacific and also finished with seven assists at Cal State Northridge (March 6), at Cal State Fullerton, vs. Nevada and at Iona.
Meneses, who averaged 6.0 points per game, drained a career-high 21 points at UC Riverside (Feb. 4) and 14 points at Cal State Northridge (Feb. 11). In those two games, Meneses shot 55.6 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from beyond the arc. She had a big game in the Big West semifinals against Cal Poly with 16 points and also reached double figures vs. Cal State Fullerton (11), vs. UC Riverside (12), at Iona (12) and at Seattle (14). Meneses was named to the Big West All-Tournament Team.
BACK AND BETTER
After being sidelined for eight games with an injury, freshman Devin Hudson returned to the lineup with a newfound confidence. She had a breakout performance at UC Davis in January, registering a double-double in her first start with a then career-best 14 points and 12 rebounds. Hudson also compiled 11 boards at Cal State Northridge, and 10 against UC Santa Barbara and at UC Irvine.
Hudson saved her best work for when it counted most, the Big West Tournament. She averaged 11.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game to lead the 49ers to the championship game. Hudson had a career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds vs. UC Santa Barbara, 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Cal Poly and nine points and seven rebounds at Cal State Northridge. She was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts.
"D" FOR DOOLEY
Redshirt freshman Chantel Dooley was one of the 49ers' top defenders in 2012. Dooley's pressure defense led to her accumulating a team-best 52 steals. The Northridge native registered a career-high six steals against Pacific on Feb. 28. Dooley was also solid on the offensive end, averaging 5.6 points per contest. She reached double figures vs. Pacific (11), vs. UC Davis (11), at Columbia (11), at Cal State Northridge (10) and vs. Wichita State (10).
SOMETHING ABOUT MARY
Junior Mary Ochiltree provided a steady presence for LBSU this season as she was tops on the squad with a 46.2 field goal percentage. The Lake Stevens, Wash., native produced a streak of five-straight games (Dec. 16-31), in which she reached double figures. Over that span, she averaged 13 points and made 64.1 percent of her shots. Ochiltree drained a season-high 17 points, making eight field goals on 12 attempts, in a 76-56 victory against Western Michigan. She also totaled 13 points vs. Wichita State in the Beach Classic championship game, earning her all-tournament honors.
BALTHAZAR DOES IT ALL
Bianka Balthazar, who has the ability to play anywhere on the court, also had a solid freshman campaign for the 49ers. She averaged 5.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 assists per game before going down with a season-ending injury at Cal Poly on Feb. 23. The Los Angeles native erupted for a season-high 16 points in a win against Nevada on Dec. 8, and also reached double figures with 11 points at Cal State Fullerton and vs. Utah Valley.