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Long Beach State hits the road again; Heads to New York for games at Columbia, Iona

The 49ers head back to New York this weekend for games at Columbia and Iona.

Nov. 23, 2011

Long Beach State (1-3) at
Columbia (0-3)
Friday, Nov. 25
Time: 4 p.m. (PST)
Location: Levien Gymnasium
Follow the 49ers: Listen | Live Stats

Long Beach State (1-3) at
Iona (3-2)
Saturday, Nov. 26
Time: 1 p.m. (PST)
Location: Hynes Center
Follow the 49ers: Watch | Listen | Live Stats

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LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team is searching for its first road win this weekend when it makes its second trip to New York for a pair of non-conference games. The 49ers are set to face Columbia on Friday, Nov. 25, at 4 p.m. (PST), before heading to Iona for a 1 p.m. (PST) showdown on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Fans can follow the 49ers all season long with every women's basketball game being broadcast live via Stretch Internet Radio on David Bagga is LBSU's play-by-play announcer.

Columbia is off to an 0-3 start after dropping a 66-54 decision to Wagner on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The Lions head to St. Francis (N.Y.) before playing host to Long Beach State. Melissa Shafer has paced Columbia with 12.5 points per game, while Amara Mbionwu leads the team on the boards with 8.5 rebounds per outing.

Paul Nixon is in his seventh year as the head coach at Columbia.

Iona is 3-2 overall after falling at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 77-68, on Tuesday. Kristina Ford is tops on the team with 20.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while Damika Martinez is also averaging double figures in scoring with 10.8 points per contest.

Anthony Bozzella is in his 10th season at the helm of the Iona women's basketball program.

This weekend will be the first time that Long Beach State will face both Columbia and Iona.

Sophomore Ella Clark has picked up right where she left off last season when she established a 49er freshman record with 55 blocks. In 2011-12, she has swatted away a team-best 17 shots, including a career-high seven against Utah Valley. That mark ranks her third in LBSU single-game history. The London native is tops in the Big West with 4.3 blocks per game, and also ranks fifth in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and 14th in scoring (11.3 ppg).

Senior Tipesa Moorer (Harbor City, Calif.) is looking to play a part in the turnaround of the 49er women's basketball program in her final season at Long Beach State. LBSU hasn't had an overall winning record since 2005-06, although as a sophomore, Moorer helped the squad to a 9-7 finish in Big West play.

So far, Moorer is off to a great start as she notched her second career double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) in the 49ers' season-opening victory against Utah Valley. She also drained a season-high 17 points, going 7-for-12 from the field, at Santa Clara.

Redshirt freshman Alex Sanchez leads the 49ers with 17 assists and ranks fourth in the Big West with 4.3 helpers per contest. Last weekend, the Anaheim native proved she could do more than just rack up the assists as she recorded her first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Sacramento State. Sanchez followed that performance with 10 points at Santa Clara.

Freshmen Bianka Balthazar and Lauren Spargo have both had strong collegiate debuts at Long Beach State. Balthazar, who has been sidelined with an injury for the last two games, netted 11 points in the 49ers' season-opening victory against Utah Valley, and finished with six points and six rebounds at BIG EAST foe Syracuse. She is tied for third on the squad with 8.5 points per game.

Spargo compiled nine points and five rebounds vs. Utah Valley, and totaled eight points and five boards against the Orange. The Santa Clarita native also had three steals in both contests. Spargo is averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest.

Freshman Devin Hudson saw her first collegiate action at Sacramento State and Santa Clara after missing the 49ers' opening weekend recovering from a knee injury. The Ontario, Calif., native scored five points against the Hornets and finished with a team-best seven rebounds in just 10 minutes against the Broncos.

Long Beach State has nine underclassmen, including six freshmen on its 2011-12 roster. Returning sophomores Ella Clark and Sendy Valles lead the way with one year of experience under their belts, while redshirt freshmen Alex Sanchez (G, 5-10) and Chantel Dooley (G, 5-8), who both sat out last year with injuries, will also be looking to contribute on the court this season.

In addition, the 49ers welcome a very talented group of four freshmen and one sophomore transfer. With such a young squad, many of the newcomers are expected to make an immediate impact.

Long Beach State closes out its seven-game road stretch next weekend when it heads to the Pacific Northwest for games at Seattle (Dec. 2) and Pac-12 foe Washington (Dec. 4).



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