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Daily 49er

Late run keys conference-opening win for LBSU women

The 49ers outscore UC Riverside, 21-6, over the final eight minutes to pull away

Senior+point+guard+Karina+Figueroa+drives+to+the+basket+against+UC+Riverside%27s+Brittany+Waddell+on+Saturday+at+the+Walter+Pyramid.+Figueroa+scored+a+game-high+17+points+to+lead+the+49ers+to+a+Big+West+Conference-opening+victory+over+the+Highlanders%2C+55-46.
Senior point guard Karina Figueroa drives to the basket against UC Riverside's Brittany Waddell on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid. Figueroa scored a game-high 17 points to lead the 49ers to a Big West Conference-opening victory over the Highlanders, 55-46.

Senior point guard Karina Figueroa drives to the basket against UC Riverside's Brittany Waddell on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid. Figueroa scored a game-high 17 points to lead the 49ers to a Big West Conference-opening victory over the Highlanders, 55-46.

Michael Chan Yee / Daily 49er

Michael Chan Yee / Daily 49er

Senior point guard Karina Figueroa drives to the basket against UC Riverside's Brittany Waddell on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid. Figueroa scored a game-high 17 points to lead the 49ers to a Big West Conference-opening victory over the Highlanders, 55-46.

Andrea C. Quezada, Assistant sports editor

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Box score

The Long Beach State women’s basketball team scored just three points during the first 12 minutes of the second half, yet still managed to pull out a 55-46 victory over UC Riverside Saturday night at the Walter Pyramid.

After a UCR timeout with 8:14 remaining, LBSU (5-8, 1-0 Big West Conference) put on a full-court press which shifted the momentum of the game in its favor.

Senior Ally Wade obtained one of her game-high four steals, and found LaTorya Barbee for a layup. Lindsey Beckner, a 6-foot-3 post player, then blocked a shot on UCR’s next possession, Melanie Lisnock scooped up the ball and made an outlet pass to Karina Figueroa, who hit a short jumper, cutting the Highlanders lead to 40-38 with 7:25 remaining.

When the Highlanders (3-10, 0-1 Big West) scored their next two baskets, The Beach answered back with a pair of 3-pointers by Figueroa and Wade, whose 3-pointer tied the game at 44 apiece with 4:40 left to play.

On LBSU’s ensuing possession, Barbee found Figueroa on the left wing, and the senior drove baseline to get the bucket and the foul. Figueroa completed the three-point play, and the ‘Niners regained the lead, 47-44, with 3:39 remaining.

The Beach would secure the victory by outscoring the Highlanders 8-2 during the final three minutes of the contest.

“It just goes to show you it’s not all about shooting 3s with us,” LBSU head coach Jody Wynn said. “A lot of people have said, ‘Oh, they’re a 3-point shooting team.’ But I think we won that game defensively tonight. I think that’s the reason for the victory.”

The Beach didn’t have a great shooting night, as they shot only 37.8 percent (17-for-45) from the floor, but the ‘Niner defense held the Highlanders to just 28.1 percent (18-for-64), not to mention an atrocious 11.1 percent (2-for-18) from beyond the arc.

“Even though there was a lid on the basket, we played good enough defense where they didn’t take off and get a 20-point lead on us,” senior guard Lauren Sims said. “They could have easily done that with us only scoring three points. We got a couple of stops and that got our offense going.”

Wynn said the team was rusty due to several players not being able to practice. Figueroa and Lisnock had not practiced all week, and Barbee has been practicing every other day.

“We have to be very cautious with their injuries and we’ll continue to rest them when it’s appropriate,” she said.

Injury aside, Figueroa was not deterred come game time. Although she had just four points at the end of the first half, Figueroa finished with a game-high 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Figueroa also accounted for seven of The Beach’s 19 turnovers.

“She’s been our leader,” Wynn said. “She puts her team on her shoulders night in and night out for us. And she stepped up and everybody else stepped up with her. LaTorya Barbee gave us great minutes. A lot of people stepped up right alongside with her.”

After leading by as many 15 points during the first half, the 49ers watched that lead disappear as UCR took its first lead of the game, 46-44, at the 11:43 mark in the second half.

“We just have to learn to keep a lead and expand it. I think we just let up and by doing that we weren’t as aggressive offensively,” Figueroa said.

The Beach earned its first conference-opening victory since the 2005-06 season, and Wynn picked up her first Big West win in her career as a head coach.

“We’re focusing one game at a time,” Wynn said. “We really believe we can win every single game. … It starts with protecting your home court and that’s what we did.”

Barbee, Sims and Wade finished the game with nine points apiece. Wade and sophomore Tipesa Moorer each snagged six rebounds in the win.

Up next for the ‘Niners is Big West rival Cal State Fullerton on Thursday at the Walter Pyramid. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.

 

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1250 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90840 -- LA-4 201  --  (562) 985-8000.
Late run keys conference-opening win for LBSU women