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Long Beach State entertains Columbia in final non-conference game on Saturday

The 49ers close out their non-conference slate against Columbia on Saturday.

Dec. 27, 2012

Columbia (2-8, 0-0 Ivy League) at
Long Beach State (6-5, 0-0 Big West)
Saturday, Dec. 29
Time: 1 p.m. (PST)
Location: Walter Pyramid
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The Last Meeting
Long Beach State70
November 25, 2011
New York, N.Y.
LBSU women's basketball uses balanced effort to top Columbia, 70-61
The Long Beach State women's basketball team used a balanced effort and a dominating performance on the boards to defeat Columbia, 70-61, Friday evening at Levien Gymnasium.

The Long Beach State women's basketball team is looking to close out its non-conference slate with its third-straight victory when it welcomes Columbia to the Walter Pyramid for a 1 p.m. showdown on Saturday, Dec. 29.

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

Columbia enters the weekend with a 2-8 overall record as it snapped a five-game losing streak with a 49-45 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) in its last outing on Dec. 11. Tyler Simpson leads the Lions with 10.5 points per contest, while Courtney Bradford has registered a team-best 6.3 rebounds per outing. As a team, Columbia is averaging just 49.9 points per game.

Long Beach State leads in its short series with Columbia, 1-0. LBSU claimed the first-ever meeting between the two teams last year as it topped the Lions, 70-61, in New York on Nov. 25, 2011. Alex Sanchez and Chantel Dooley led five 49ers in double figures with 11 points each.

A 49er victory over Columbia on Saturday will mean:
- LBSU extends its current win streak to a season-long three games.
- LBSU improves to 7-5 overall, marking the first time it will enter conference play with a record over .500 since the 2005-06 season.
- LBSU improves to 4-0 all-time against current members of the Ivy League. The 49ers have defeated Columbia (2011) and Dartmouth twice (1985, 2011).
- LBSU improves to 6-2 at home.

Saturday's game marks the sixth time in the last two seasons that LBSU will be facing a team from New York. The 49ers traveled to Syracuse, Iona and Columbia in 2011, while entertaining Iona and Canisius in 2012. Long Beach State is 2-3 in those contests.

Long Beach State has depended heavily on its performance from behind the arc this season. In six wins, the 49ers have shot a combined 39.1 percent (52-133) from long distance. LBSU was over 40 percent in four of those games and made at least 10 3-pointers on two occassions, including a season-high 12 vs. Canisius. On the flip side, Long Beach State is just 19-for-85 (22.4 percent) in its five losses.

Long Beach State entered the week ranked second in the Big West in 3-point field goals made (71) and 3-point field goals attempted (218). The 49ers are averaging 19.8 attempts per game from beyond the arc.

Sophomore forward Ella Clark, who was granted a medical redshirt last season, is working her way back in to top shape as she was named the Beach Classic MVP last weekend. Clark drained a season-high 16 points in an overtime win against Canisius, before totaling 14 points, five rebounds and a career-best six assists in a 50-49 triumph over Sam Houston State in the championship game. Prior to that, the London, England, native had also reached double figures with 12 points vs. Sacramento State. She currently leads the team with 17 blocks, while ranking third with 8.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Alex Sanchez has continued to produce in every aspect on the court. On the season, she leads the team with 12.4 points and 4.2 assists per game, while ranking second with 5.7 rebounds per outing. Sanchez has reached double figures in seven games and notched a season-high 19 points in a 77-69 road win at Utah Valley. After being held to less than 10 points in three-straight games, Sanchez returned to her ways last weekend, scoring 14 points against Sam Houston State, including the free throw that sealed the 50-49 victory in the championship game of the Beach Classic. She has led LBSU in scoring six times and has finished tops on the team in assists on eight occassions.

Sophomore Lauren Spargo is second on the team with 16 3-pointers made. She had three treys in the 49ers' opener vs. Sacramento State (13 points) and then matched her career high with four 3-pointers against Washington (13 points) and Canisius (14 points). Her 14 points vs. the Golden Griffins is a season best.

Long Beach State has had eight games decided by less than 10 points this year and it is 5-3 in those contests. The 49ers started the season by holding on for a 74-71 victory over Sacramento State before falling to Iona, 60-58, on a buzzer beater. They suffered another loss at the buzzer against Santa Clara when the Broncos scored the game-winning basket with 0.3 seconds on the clock. LBSU also defeated Sam Houston State by one - with the game-winning free throw coming with 0.6 seconds left - Washington by nine, Utah Valley by eight and Canisius by five (overtime), while dropping a six-point decision at Loyola Marymount.

Dating back to last year, LBSU has posted a 15-5 record when playing in front of its home crowd at the Walter Pyramid. The 49ers are 5-2 this season, with both of their losses coming at the buzzer. In 2011-12, 10 of their 14 wins came in Long Beach.

Long Beach State will begin Big West action at home for the fourth-straight year. The 49ers are set to host Cal Poly in their conference opener at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3, before entertaining UC Santa Barbara in a 4 p.m. tilt on Saturday (Jan. 5).



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