March 29, 2013
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team put together its best season in fourth-year head coach Jody Wynn's tenure as the 49ers finished with a 16-16 overall record and made their first postseason appearance in 13 years.
49ERS EARN AT-LARGE BID TO WNIT
LBSU earned an at-large bid into the Women's National Invitation Tournament. It was the program's third WNIT appearance and first since 2000, when it advanced to the third round. The 49ers were also in the tournament back in 1978.
"It is an honor and absolute thrill to play in the postseason," head coach Jody Wynn said. "We are thankful for the opportunity to play in the WNIT and it will be a terrific experience for our young team."
Long Beach State was also awarded hosting duties, marking the first-ever postseason women's basketball game to be held in the Walter Pyramid.
HUDSON, SANCHEZ NAMED ALL-BIG WEST
Sophomores Devin Hudson and Alex Sanchez were named to the All-Big West Team the conference office announced on March 11. The duo, which guided the 49ers to their best season since 2005-06, earned honorable mention recognition. Hudson became a force to be reckoned with in the Big West, where she averaged a team-best 11.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Hudson totaled nine double-doubles, six of which came in conference play. She also had 16 double-figure scoring games and 12 double-figure rebounding games. In addition, Hudson was named to the All-Big West Tournament Team for the second year in a row.
Sanchez, meanwhile, was LBSU's floor leader, compiling a career-high 132 assists. She finished the regular season ranked second in the Big West with 4.1 helpers per outing. Sanchez also had 18 double-figure scoring games, including 10 in Big West action.
AGAINST THE PAC-12
The 49ers played four Pac-12 schools on the year and fared well against those teams, going 2-2. They defeated both Washington and Arizona to finish with two wins vs. the Pac-12 (formerly Pac-10) for the first time in 13 years. Long Beach State's losses came to Utah and perennial national power, and then No.1-ranked Stanford.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Dating back to 2011-12, LBSU has won 22 of its last 31 games at the Walter Pyramid. The 49ers went 12-6 at home this season.
Devin Hudson was dominant in a 71-58 win in the regular-season finale at Cal Poly where she finished with career-highs in points (22) and rebounds (20). Hudson was the first 49er to have a 20-point and 20-rebound game since Melissa Gower posted 22 and 20 vs. Nevada on Jan. 13, 1995. She is also just the seventh player in program history to accomplish the 20-20 feat.
Three days later, Hudson was back at it again as she notched 17 points and established a new career high with 24 rebounds against Cal State Fullerton in the first round of the Big West Tournament. Her 24 boards were a tournament record and rank third in LBSU's single-game history.
10 AND COUNTING
The 49ers secured their third double-figure win campaign in the last four years with a 45-39 triumph against Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 19. LBSU had not reached the 10-win plateau in three-straight seasons before Coach Wynn's arrival in 2009-10. Long Beach State also posted the most victories (16) in a season during the Wynn era and the most since going 18-10 in 2005-06.
Long Beach State showed its depth with nine of its 10 players reaching double digits in the points column at least once this season. Eight 49ers also had multiple double-figure scoring games.
FOR THE RECORD
Senior Mary Ochiltree finished her two-year career at Long Beach State ranked seventh in program history in career 3-point field goal percentage (36.7). Ella Clark also wrapped up her sophomore campaign at No. 8 among the 49er all-time leaders with 118 career blocks, while classmate Lauren Spargo ranks ninth with 271 3-point field goals attempted.
Sophomore Alex Sanchez has proven to be the total package. She was tops on the team with 10.6 points and 4.1 assists game, while ranking second with 1.5 steals and 4.3 rebounds per outing. Sanchez, who notched a season-high 19 points at Utah Valley, reached double figures in scoring in 18 games. She led LBSU in the points column 12 times and finished tops on the squad in assists on 25 occasions. Sanchez garnered All-Big West honors for the second year in a row and was named the conference's player of the week on Jan. 7.
SPARGO FOR THREE
Sophomore Lauren Spargo led the 49ers with 40 3-pointers made. She had more than one trey in 12 games, including a career-high four against Washington (13 points) and Canisius (14 points). She also totaled a season-high 16 points vs. UC Irvine on Jan. 26, and had 15 points vs. UC Davis on March 2. The Santa Clarita, Calif., native has made 79 shots from long distance in her two years at LBSU, which puts her just four away from breaking into the 49er all-time records.
Ella Clark, who sat out last season with an injury, compiled 10 double-figure scoring games in 2012-13. She had a season-best 17 points vs. Hawai'i (Feb. 7) and pulled down a career-high 11 boards at Pacific (Feb. 2). Prior to Big West play, Clark was named the MVP of the Beach Classic after leading the 49ers to the tournament title with 16 points against Canisius, and 14 points and a career-best six assists vs. Sam Houston State. She matched that assist total at Cal Poly on March 9. Clark also made her presence felt on the defensive end with a team-high 45 blocks.
DOOLEY DOES MORE THAN DEFEND
Sophomore Chantel Dooley is known as a lock-down defender, but she also displayed her scoring potential on several occasions. Against Sacramento State, Dooley was 7-of-13 from the floor for a career-high 19 points. In addition, she had 12 points at Utah Valley, 11 points against Iona and 10 points vs. Canisius. She registered her first double-double with 10 points and a career-best 11 rebounds vs. UC Davis (March 2). Dooley continued to be one of the 49ers' top defenders as she was first on the team with 51 steals (1.6/gm). She had a career-high seven steals in the season opener against Sac State.
BALTHAZAR TAKES CHARGE
Sophomore Bianka Balthazar reached double figures in scoring 12 times this season. She had a game-high 14 points at UC Santa Barbara on March 7. Earlier in the year, Balthazar poured in a career-high 17 points on a 6-for-9 shooting performance in a 79-50 win over Columbia, and later matched that point total at Hawai'i on Jan. 13. On the season, she ranked third on the team with 9.0 points per contest.
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