49er women use late runs to force overtime, beat UC Irvine

Long Beach State comes back to beat the Anteaters, 84-75.

Basketball is a game of runs. For the Long Beach State women’s basketball team, it made runs when it mattered most Thursday afternoon, winning 84-75 over UC Irvine.

The black and blue rivalry game certainly fit the billing as LBSU beached the Anteaters in overtime after the 49ers made an 11-2 run to force the extra period.

With 3:30 left on the clock in the second half and the momentum in UC Irvine’s possession, the ‘Niners not only established a run to force the game to overtime, but also continued that run into overtime. A Jade Wilson jumper sparked a 12-3 run that led to the nine-point victory in both teams’ Big West opener.

Not only were their runs impressive on the offensive end, the ‘Niners made stops when they needed to and held UCI without a field goal in the final five minutes.

“We didn’t quit,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “We made big plays and got big stops as time was winding down in regulation.”

The 49ers kept it close thanks to a 62-42 rebound margin and equally stellar advantage in field goal percentage as the 49ers shot 41.3 percent to the Anteaters’ 32.0 percent. The 49ers’ 62 rebounds was a season high and the most by an LBSU team since 2010, when they played Oregon.

UC Irvine was led by Jennifer Tsurumoto, as she scored a game-high 30 points on 7-for-14 shooting and was a perfect 13-for-13 from the charity stripe. Despite her strong effort, five of the nine players who saw the floor for UCI scored four points or less and shot a combined 4-for-28.

However, the 49ers offered up a more balanced offensive output as six players scored nine points or more.

The Beach was led by freshman Raven Benton, who scored 18 points and registered a season-high 15 rebounds, seven of which were offensive boards. Wilson had her best game of the season with 10 points, 13 rebounds (six offensive) and five steals. Alex Sanchez scored 14 to go along with five assists.

Game No. 2 of the conference schedule is on Saturday as LBSU will travel to UC Davis for a 2 p.m. tip-off. The Aggies are coming off a close home loss to Cal State Northridge where they fell 56-52. Davis had a record of 5-8 in nonconferece play.