In a truly bizarre scene, the Long Beach State women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end in the opening round of the Big West Tournament, as they were defeated by Cal Poly in the Walter Pyramid Tuesday evening, 59-48.
More strange than the result was the scene, with 4,000+ empty seats in the Pyramid thanks to the Big West Conference’s last-hour edict that no spectators would be allowed into the tournament due to an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The result was an eerie scene, with no concessions, no bands, no fans, and a strange silence that hung over the game. The ESPN broadcast crew was audible on the court while players shot free throws, and anyone listening intently could hear discussions between refs, as well as coaches and their teams.
“I could actually hear the play calls from their coach so we could kind of tell our team what was coming,” said Cal Poly coach Faith Mimnaugh. “So that was great.”
The Beach went 0-13 from 3-point range in the first half and shot just 3-28 in the game. Meanwhile, Cal Poly’s Sierra Campisano and Abbey Ellis combined for 50 points, helping the Mustangs to overcome the 26 turnovers forced by Long Beach State.
Beach coach Jeff Cammon didn’t want to grant the premise that the bizarre spectator less atmosphere affected the game.
“You don’t really have a chance to process something like this, I thought being at home would help us,” he said. “The whole thing is weird in general but I don’t think it had an impact on our performance.”