In a showdown of unbeaten Big West squads, Long Beach State proved to be a step or two behind UC Davis at this point in the season. The Aggies remained unbeaten atop the women’s basketball standings with a pair of impressive wins at Walter Pyramid over the weekend. The story was essentially the same in both contests, and the final scores showed how similar the contests were, with UC Davis (7-1, 6-0 Big West) winning 67-52 on Friday and then 67-50 in Saturday’s game.
The losses are a setback for a Long Beach State team (11-3, 10-2 Big West) that was pursuing its first regular season conference crown in over 30 years, but head coach Jeff Cammon saw it as a learning opportunity for his team.
“Now you know what it’s like to play for a championship, you know what it’s like to put yourself in that position,” Cammon told his players after the game. “Davis is a program that’s been doing it for a long time, but it took them a while to get there to that level too. We’re learning.”
Redshirt junior point guard Ma’Qhi Berry had one of her best games of the season in Friday’s game, scoring a team-high 18 points. The Beach also played to its strengths on defense by collecting 14 steals and forcing 19 UC Davis turnovers, but couldn’t translate those takeaways into points. The visiting Aggies shot a solid 10-for-25 (40.0%) from beyond the three-point arc, while LBSU went just 3-for-22 (13.6%).
The Aggies got even more shots to fall in the second game, connecting on 10 of their 22 attempts from long range (45.5%) while the Beach scuffled again, shooting 4-for-21 (19.0%) from distance. Jasmine Hardy scored a team-high 13 points with nine rebounds, and frontcourt-mate Kristyna Jeskeova also approached a double-double with 11 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Long Beach State will look to regroup before their trip up the coast to take on Cal Poly (9-7, 5-5 Big West) this weekend for a pair of 2 p.m. contests.
The UC Davis experience for Dan Monson’s squad was a bit torturous. Not only did the team have to suffer the sting of a last-second defeat, they came back the very next night to endure another two-point loss–in overtime.
Long Beach State (3-7, 2-4 Big West) was returning from a two-week pause in basketball activity, playing its first contests in nearly three weeks. LBSU has now lost four in a row and are just 1-6 away from home on the season. UC Davis (6-6, 3-3 Big West) has had its season limited by county health regulations, and only recently resumed its season during conference play.
Junior forward Joe Hampton scored a career-high 19 points in the opener, while Michael Carter III added 15. Drew Cobb had a nice night off the bench with eight points, eight rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes of action.
The Beach battled back in the closing minutes until a three-point play from Colin Slater tied the game, 66-66, with 20 seconds left. However, the Aggies had an answer, sinking a game-winning jumper at the buzzer to snag a 68-66 victory.
Long Beach came out strong in game two and led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but couldn’t hold on down the stretch as the game went to overtime tied at 67 apiece. UC Davis scored first in the extra session and never trailed, hitting a massive three-pointer with 10 seconds left to put the game out of reach. The Aggies ultimately secured a 78-76 win to finish off the weekend sweep.
It was a career night for Long Beach native Jadon Jones, who poured in a career-high 20 points (7/12 FG’s) to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks in 42 minutes of action. Jones has started the last seven games for the Beach, and is averaging 10 points per game over that stretch. He’s shooting 17-for-38 from beyond the arc this season, and his 44.7% from three-point range is fifth-best in the Big West.
The Beach is gradually working towards full strength, getting meaningful minutes from returners like Chance Hunter, Romelle Mansell, and Jordan Roberts, but were without the services of point guard and leading scorer Isaiah Washington over the weekend.
LBSU is scheduled to be back at Walter Pyramid this weekend for a pair of 4 p.m. contests against Cal Poly. The Beach have not played a home game in more than six weeks, dating back to January 2 against Cal State Bakersfield.
The men’s golf team is competing at The Prestige Invitational in La Quinta, starting today through Wednesday. Be sure to come back to The562.org for a tournament recap.
In the week ahead, the women’s golf team is hosting its annual Gold Rush at Old Ranch Country Club down in Seal Beach. The first two rounds will be played on Monday, February 22, with the final round on Tuesday.