It’s a new day for the Long Beach State women’s basketball program, and a baller shall lead them.
Last year in his first season as head coach, Jeff Cammon guided Long Beach to an 8-23 record. That sounds bad, but Cammon inherited a team late in the recruiting cycle that had a heavily depleted roster and had to build a program almost from scratch. After struggling to find their rhythm, the team won its final five regular season games and gave the Big West something to think about for this year.
The biggest constant for the team last season was the play of true freshman Shanaijah Davison, who has the chance to mark her name alongside some of the best players in program history.
“She’s a baller,” said Cammon. “No doubt about it.”
Davison averaged 13.8 points per game to lead the team, with 74 assists, second-best on the team. She had eight 20-point games and scored 29 against USC in an eye-opening performance.
“She has aspirations to play professionally and so we’re trying to make sure she understands what that’s going to take,” said Cammon. “She absolutely has a sky-high ceiling. She can get to any level she wants to.”
There’s other talent in that sophomore class that came in to log a ton of minutes as freshmen last year, including the promising Naomi Hunt and Ma’Qhi Berry. Martina McBride is the program’s only senior this year in a season where they’re picked to finish fourth in the conference after finishing seventh last year, highlighting how much Cammon is already building the program.
There are talented newcomers as well, including grad transfer Sydney Bordonaro, who comes from Pepperdine and who’s adding leadership at the guard position.
Defending conference champion CSUN will be the best team in the conference this year on day one, with Bellflower native and former LBSU assistant Jason Flowers coaching. The Matadors boast a pair of Long Beach products in Eliza Matthews (Poly) and Juliana Louis (St. Anthony).
Before Long Beach gets to the Big West schedule, the team will play a almost half the Pac-12 with games against USC, Utah, Arizona, and Oregon, including a home game against the Trojans this Sunday. The 49ers open their season at home on Friday against Cal Baptist.