In a game were they leading from the opening tip to the final buzzer, Long Beach State women’s basketball defeated UC Riverside 56-46 Thursday night at Walter Pyramid. The win moves the Beach to 13-2 overall with a 6-1 record in Big West play placing them alone atop the conference standings.
“Gutsy win tonight. It wasn’t pretty. I thought we figured it out,” said Long Beach head coach Jeff Cammon. “Again our defense carried us and obviously that is our identity. There is a lot of room to grow on the offensive end, and we will keep pushing to get better on the defensive end as well.”
Maddi Utti lead Long Beach with 16 points and Jasmine Hardy chipped in 12 points of her own. The Beach scored 22 points off of 21 UC Riverside turnovers and had an impressive 42 points in the paint. The win also kept LBSU’s perfect home record in tact at 7-0 on the season.
Long Beach got out to an early 10-point lead in the first couple minutes of the game and controlled it for the rest of the way. They pushed their lead up to 16 midway through the second quarter, but only took an 11-point lead into halftime.
The third quarter saw a drop off on their part, and UC Riverside made sure to capitalize on those mistakes. The Beach went scoreless for the first five-and-a-half minutes in the second half and finished with six turnovers in the third quarter. Their lead was diminished to just five points, 37-32, as they headed into the final ten minutes.
“A lot of times when the momentum is swinging, you can get caught up in it,” said Cammon about the way his team played in the third quarter. “(We needed to) just relax, play our game, play at our pace and slow down. We had some opportunities and we just weren’t ready to finish.”
Long Beach State was able to get back on track in the final quarter and come up with some stops and transition buckets. As they held 44-36 lead, Jasmine Hardy knocked down back-to-back three pointers and extended their lead to 14. UC Riverside kept fighting but was not able to complete the comeback they were hoping for.
“I think being able to respond when things aren’t going your way is tournament and championship basketball,” said Cammon. “You have to be able to grind out games and manufacture points and get stops when you need them. I felt like tonight we were able to do that.”
The Beach will put its unbeaten home record to the test when they host UC Davis on Saturday at 2 p.m. in a key matchup against the reigning conference champions.