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Long Beach State Set to Open 2017-18 Campaign

Nov. 8, 2017

Pepperdine at Long Beach State
Friday, Nov. 10
Time: 2 p.m. (PT)
Arena: Walter Pyramid (4,200)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Live Stats:
Radio Talent: Jay Holloway
Live Stream: Beach Vision

Montana State at Long Beach State
Sunday, Nov. 12
Time: 1 p.m. (PT)
Arena: Walter Pyramid (4,200)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Live Stats:
Radio Talent: Jay Holloway
Live Stream: Beach Vision

LBSU Complete Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Last Meeting
Long Beach State44
November 13, 2016
Malibu, Calif.
Long Beach State held Pepperdine to just 27.3 percent shooting in the game, but the Beach struggled offensively as well posting a 20.9 field goal percentage as the 49ers pulled out a 44-41 victory Sunday at Firestone Fieldhouse.

The Long Beach State women's basketball team is ready to kick off the 2017-18 season, marking a new era under first year head coach Jeff Cammon. The Beach open the season with three straight home games beginning Friday, Nov. 10 versus Pepperdine at 2 p.m. LBSU will then host Montana State on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m.

The 2017-18 season brings about a new era of Long Beach State Women’s Basketball under the leadership of first year head coach Jeff Cammon. Cammon, a former LBSU women’s basketball assistant coach, returned to the Beach after having spent the last three years as an assistant at Cal and Colorado where he gained a wealth of coaching experience.

As the new head coach at Long Beach State, Cammon is ready to hit the ground running with a new staff of assistant coaches in Bryan Camacho, Kevin Adams, and Laura Dinkins, as well as bringing back five letterwinners from last year’s conference championship squad, and welcoming eight talented newcomers to the Beach family.

Being on staff as an assistant coach as recently as 2014, Cammon helped recruit some of the current seniors on the roster and brings a familiarity to the court.

“My philosophy on and off the floor is similar (to what was created),” Cammon explained. “I helped establish what all of the upperclassmen have become accustomed to and what they’ve learned. We’ve lost a lot, so expectations as of now are just about establishing a culture and building on the things that were said here, but also adding some new things and putting my stamp on this program and creating the kind of culture I want here.”

• Long Beach State has advanced to the postseason in four of the last five years (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017) including three WNIT appearances and most recently its first NCAA Tournament showing in 25 years.
• The Beach comes into the 2017-18 season having posted three straight 20-win season marking the first time since 1991 that the Beach has strung together three or more consecutive 20-win seasons.
• Coming off of a season in which the Beach won their first Big West Tournament title in 25 years, Long Beach State returns five lettewinners and one redshirt, while welcoming eight newcomers.
• Guard Jessica Gertz returns to the Beach for her senior season and is LBSU's top returning scorer (6.9 ppg) after leading the team in three-pointers as 64 of her 77 made field goals came from beyond the arc. She set the program record with nine made threes against Cal State Fullerton en route to tallying a career-best 29 points.
• Gertz made her way into the Long Beach State single-season record book with a three-point field goal percentage of 39.5 as she is now ninth. She also broke into the LBSU career top 10 with 113 made three-point field goals as she is just two treys away from moving into seventh place all-time.
• Junior guard Martina McCowan returns to the court as the team's lone returning starter from a year ago. She finished the year with 3.5 ppg and 2.1 rpg, while tying for third on the squad with 41 steals.
• Senior Cecily Wilson comes back for her final year in a Beach uniform after finishing the 2016-17 campaign with 3.8 ppg and 2.1 rpg. Additionally she swiped 41 steals to tie McCowan for third on the team. She also posted nine blocks to tie for second on the squad.
• The Beach has led the Big West in steals in each of the last four seasons and completed the 2016-17 campaign with 327 to rank 34th in the nation.
• Long Beach State finished the 2016-17 season leading the Big West in steals (327), three-point field goals made (271), turnover margin (+6.56), and turnovers forced (20.35). The Beach's turnover margin was good enough to rank ninth in the country, while their three-point field goals made and turnovers forced ranked 18th.

Long Beach State is 33-21 in season openers and 41-13 in home openers. The Beach have won six straight home openers at the Walter Pyramid dating back to the 2010-11 season. This is the third time in program history LBSU has opened the year against Pepperdine and the Beach are 2-0 having defeated the Waves 92-52 in 1982 and 94-51 in 1983.

Pepperdine is coming off of a season in which the Waves went 7-23 on the year and 5-13 in West Coast Conference action. The Waves return seven letterwinners from a year ago, one redshirt and six newcomers. Additionally, DeLisha Milton-Jones was promoted to head coach as she begins her first season a the helm of the Waves.

Junior forward Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, who led the team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg) a year ago, returns to the court for the Waves. She was named to the WCC preseason all-conference team after earning First Team honors a year ago.

Also returning to Pepperdine are WCC All-Freshman Team selections Megan House and Barbara Sitanggan. House finished her rookie season with 4.8 ppg and 6.6 rpg, while Sitanggan posted 6.0 ppg and 4.3 rpg.

Long Beach State and Pepperdine will meet for the 17th time in program history and the Beach leads the all-time series 13-3. When playing inside the Walter Pyramid, Long Beach State owns a 6-1 record over Pepperdine with the Beach's only loss coming on Jan. 3, 1998. The Beach has won the last three meetings against the Waves as Pepperdine looks for its first victory over LBSU since 2006.

Montana State comes into the Pyramid after having finished the 2016-17 season with a 25-7 overall record and a 15-3 Big Sky ledger. After winning the Big Sky Tournament, the Bobcats earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament where they fell to Washington.

This season, head coach Tricia Binford returns seven letterwinners and three starters, while welcoming seven newcomers to the team. The Bobcats welcome back seniors Hannah Caudill and Delany Junkermier, as well as junior Blair Braxton, all of whom started a year ago.

Caudill averaged 9.7 ppg with 2.2 rpg, while leading the team with 131 assists. Junkermier added 7.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 57 assists and 28 steals, while Braxton posted 3.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 50 assists, 21 steals and led the Bobcats with 33 blocks.

Long Beach State and Montana State will meet for just the fourth time in program history and LBSU holds a 2-1 edge over the Bobcats. Sunday's meeting marks the first between the two teams since 2006. In their only match up inside the Walter Pyramid, Montana State earned a 78-68 win over Long Beach State. Previously, LBSU defeated Montana State 101-66 in 1979 and 83-66 in 2005.

This year’s roster consists of eight guards with three of them returning to the court from a year ago. Senior guards Jessica Gertz and Cecily Wilson saw quality playing time last season and look to continue in leadership positions this year.

Gertz, a 5-foot-10 guard, is the team’s top returning scorer (6.8 points per game) after leading the Beach in three-pointers as 64 of her 77 made field goals came from beyond the arc. The Oregon City, Ore., native set a program record with nine made threes against Big West Conference foe Cal State Fullerton last February tallying a career-best 29 points. Gertz was a catalyst in the Beach’s long distance success as she helped the team led the Big West in three-point field goals made (271) and attempted (819), both of which ranked in the top 20 in the country.

Wilson, a 5-foot-8 guard from Gilbert, Ariz., comes back to Long Beach for her senior season and brings both leadership and experience along with a high basketball IQ to the Beach. Last season, she finished the year with 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, while swiping 41 steals.

Also returning to the Beach at guard is junior Martina McCowan. The product of out Portland, Ore., served mainly as a defensive specialist a year ago helping guide one of the best defenses in the conference. With McCowan’s stout defense, Long Beach State led the Big West in steals for the four straight year and ranked 34th in the nation with 327. Additionally, the Beach forced 20.35 turnovers per game to led the conference and ranked 18th in the NCAA, leading to a turnover margin of 6.56 which was good for ninth in the country and tops in the league.

Long Beach State returns three post players from a year ago in Darshana Ta’afua and Alzena Henry, as well as redshirt Aaryon Green.

Ta’afua is a 6-foot-2 senior who played in 15 of the Beach’s games last season due to an injury. In her limited playing time, however, she averaged 2.3 points and 0.8 rebounds per game.

Henry saw action in every game last year as a freshman, but averaged just 8.4 minutes per game. She finished her rookie season with 1.4 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.

Green is a redshirt sophomore who, due to injuries, has yet to see action on the court. If she can get healthy, her athleticism would be a help at the post.

Among the eight newcomers, Long Beach State has five guards and three post players who will be competing for playing time on the court this season.

Freshman guard Ma’Qhi Berry is an athletic and talented guard who brings a competitive presence to the game, while freshman Shanaijah Davison is an offensive threat who can score from all over the floor. She was the top player at Pioneer High School where she averaged 35 points per game.

“Ma’Qhi and Shanaijah bring a lot to this team,” Cammon said. “Ma’Qhi makes people better with her vision on the court and her passing ability. She can shoot the three, she’s very good at finishing, and she has become a really good defender with her length and athleticism.

“Shanaijah is a gifted scorer,” He continued. “She can shoot, she can get to the rim and score it. She’s just very talented and handles the ball well.”

Rounding out the guards are freshmen Mason VanHouten and Sasha Brown, along with sophomore transfer Bria Rice. VanHouten shoots the ball well and has a good skill set, while Brown is known for her defense. Rice, who came to the Beach after playing a year at Arizona, will sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

The Beach also have a trio of incoming freshmen post players in Naomi Hunt, Chloe Gaynor and Emma Merriweather.

Hunt is 6-foot-1 and very versatile. She is a skilled shooter from beyond the arc, a good passer and has a high basketball IQ. Gaynor, a 6-foot-3 product out of South Normanton, England, is a solid rebounder, who can jump, block, and shoot the three. Lastly, Merriweather is a 6-foot-5 presence inside, who rebounds and blocks well.

“Naomi is very skilled and very talented,” Cammon noted. “She’ll play a lot of minutes for us because she is so versatile. Chloe will be able to stretch the floor with her ability to shoot the three. On the defensive end she is able to block shots and be a presence around the rim. Emma runs well and has a lot of talent. If we can harness it and develop it, she’s going to be really good.”

Following the season opening weekend against Pepperdine and Montana State, Long Beach State hosts Loyola Marymount on Friday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. The contest marks the last home contest for the Beach until mid-December as LBSU kicks off its six-game road swing at USC on Monday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center.



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