The Long Beach State’s women’s basketball team has championship aspirations once again this year. After last season was derailed by injuries, the Beach came into this year healthy and ready this year to make a special run.
After a 2-0 start to the season, they looked sharp on Thursday in their home opener, defeating Seattle U 86-63 at the Walter Pyramid. The win improves the Beach to 3-0, as they sit atop the Big West Conference as the only undefeated team.
The main strength for the Beach, as usual, was their defense. The Beach forced 25 turnovers, led by Sophomore Kristyna Jeskeova who had 5 steals. The Beach were also aggressive all night long on the defensive end, forcing Seattle into tough situations offensively.
Beach coach Jeff Cammon reiterated this point after the game, citing the importance of the team having a solid and effective defense.
“Our defensive makeup is our identity,” he said. “It’s been our biggest strength for the past three years, and it’s important that we continue to translate that into victories.”
On the offensive end, the Beach used the 3-point line as a way to build up their lead. The Beach shot over 45% from three, by far their best percentage of the season. Leading the pack was junior Jasmine Hardy, who shot 7-9 from 3 enroute to 29 points.
“I just kept shooting when I was open.” Hardy said. “Just started shooting the ball well, and eventually got hot.”
Cammon also praised Hardy’s performance after the game.
“I thought she had good shots. And once she started to get going, her teammates started looking for her. Her mentality today, she had no indecisiveness and was in the zone.” he said.
The Beach started the game a little sloppy offensively, as they turned the ball over seven times early and struggled to get ball movement. However, the Beach tightened up their communication and their defense after the first quarter. That, paired with the 3-point shooting barrage, led the Beach to a 15-0 run early in the second quarter.
The Beach never looked back after that, as they continued to be effective on both sides of the ball all night long.
“Our communication can definitely get a lot better, as well as our chemistry. It will get better as the season goes on,” Cammon said.
The Beach will hope to carry their excellent play into Sunday’s game against Santa Clara back in the Pyramid at 2 p.m. And the way the Beach are playing right now, it’s tough to feel anything but confidence in them.
“Our mentality right now is on point. We’re being aggressive, we’re being assertive, and now we just gotta continue to get better with the tangible things and we should be good,” Cammon said.