Basketball Long Beach State

Women’s Basketball: Long Beach State Thumps La Sierra in Home Opener

The562’s coverage of Long Beach State athletics for the 2022-23 season is sponsored by Marilyn Bohl.

Long Beach State fans got a nice look at the new offensive firepower in the Beach lineup on Saturday evening as LBSU (1-1) cruised to a 79-34 win over visiting La Sierra at Walter Pyramid.

Senior Malia Bambrick made her home debut in style, scoring a game-high 21 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. She was 5/11 from beyond the arc, leading a strong shooting effort from the Beach.

“This year, more than any other year, we just have a lot more weapons from the perimeter,” said Long Beach State head coach Jeff Cammon. “We’ve had some good players, but not necessarily the skill from the perimeter … I think this team, that’s part of what we do, and it’s something that we’ve always preached. But I think you can see with the personnel we have how it makes it look a lot better when you have threats at all five positions.”

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Long Beach was 13/34 from outside (38.2 percent) with six different players connecting from three-point range. Bambrick helped get the Beach off to a hot start, pouring in three triples in the first quarter as LBSU shot 5/9 from long range in the opening period to lead 23-7.

Bambrick was a 1,000-point scorer at Pepperdine before transferring to Long Beach as a senior, and she’s helping provide some of the missing ingredients–scoring and perimeter shooting–that recent teams at the Beach have lacked.

“I think sometimes when you're new you can kind of overthink it, but Coach Jeff has instilled that for me from day one that I don't need to be hesitant,” Bambrick explained. “That I'm here for a reason; I fit in for a reason. I think the biggest thing for me is to just play my role each night whether that's scoring or playing defense and just doing whatever it takes to help the team. But I think it does help that we have so many new faces and offensive threats because it backs up that defense that we want to bring every night.”

The vaunted Long Beach pressure brought it on Saturday as they forced the Golden Eagles into 30 turnovers. The Beach collected 20 steals–led by four from sophomore guard and certified pest Patricia Chung–leading to 32 points off turnovers. LBSU also passed the ball exceptionally well, racking up 26 assists on 31 made field goals. Sixth-year senior Ma’Qhi Berry led with six dimes while Chung chipped in five of her own.

Long Beach State was able to run 12 players in the rotation, with each of them logging at least 8:35 of playing time. The box score probably won’t include that many names every night, but this is clearly one of the deeper teams than Cammon has had. Long Beach led 37-19 at the break and really put the hammer down in the third quarter. LBSU outscored La Sierra 30-4 in the third period, forcing 14 turnovers in the period.

Sophomore Savannah Tucker had a nice night offensively, hitting all 7 of her shots–including two threes–to finish with 16 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Kianna Hamilton-Fisher scored 13 points on just 9 shots while senior transfer Tori Harris added 11 points and six boards. Harris played a highly productive game in her 21-plus minutes, hitting three triples, collecting three assists and a pair of steals while earning a team-high plus-minus of 38.

Sydney Wallner led the way for La Sierra with 12 points.

The Beach will now get a full week to prepare for their next contest, which will be a road test at Arizona next Sunday.

PHOTOS: Long Beach State vs. La Sierra, Women’s Basketball
Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.