Women's basketball: 49ers split two-game home opener
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 21:11
The Long Beach State women’s basketball team suffered an agonizing 60-58 loss to Iona at the Walter Pyramid on Sunday and only managed a split in the two-game homestand to start its season.
With the game tied at 58, Iona freshman forward Joy Adams made a layup at the buzzer and handed LBSU (1-1) its first loss of the season. The Gaels were lifted by Adams’ 15 points and 12 rebounds and sophomore guard Damika Martinez’ game-high 22 points and four three-pointers.
After starting the season brightly with a thrilling 74-71 win over Sacramento State on Friday, the 49ers fell behind early and had a hard time making up the deficit. Guard Casssidee Ranger’s three-pointer put the Gaels up 23-13 less than 14 minutes into the game, and LBSU found itself playing catch-up for the rest of the half.
The ‘Niners’ struggled offensively and shot just 28.1 percent from the field in the first half. Point guard Alex Sanchez was sidelined for most of the first half after picking up two early fouls, which didn’t make things any easier for LBSU.
“[Sanchez’s foul trouble] was a huge factor,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “It was huge. We’re a much better team with Alex on the floor. She knows that and her team knows that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to step up in her absence in the first half.”
Despite the poor start, LBSU turned it around from the outset of the second half with Sanchez returning to facilitate the offense. The sophomore guard ignited the ‘Niners with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the second half alone, helping her team mount a quick comeback to make the game a close contest.
Only six minutes into the second half, the ‘Niners managed to tie the score at 34-34 with a pair of free-throws by Sanchez. With the score again knotted at 38-38 with 12 minutes remaining, Jade Wilson made a hook shot to give the ‘Niners their first lead since the start of the game.
The game became a seesaw battle from that point on, with both teams taking turns with the lead. The tightly-contested second half saw four ties and 11 lead changes.
Sabrina Jeridore put Iona back ahead 51-46 with six minutes remaining in the game, but Sanchez again lifted the ‘Niners minutes later with a 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game. She then drew a foul on her put-back following a Chantel Dooley miss and put the ‘Niners in front with a free-throw at 54-53.
Iona quickly regained the lead, however, when Martinez hit her fourth three-pointer of the game with just under three minutes remaining. The Gaels surrender a lead for the rest of the game.
The ‘Niners did tie the game once at 58-58 with a minute left after Sanchez connected a pair of free-throws. On the following Iona possession, Dooley’s steal with just 42 seconds remaining gave the ‘Niners a golden opportunity to take the lead, but they committed a turnover with a shot clock violation.
With the clock winding down, Adams grabbed a rebound off a Martinez miss and laid the ball in at the buzzer to finish the game.
“We just didn’t have a collective offensive or defensive effort,” Wynn said. “It was an offensive rebound in the last possession of the game. They got them all game. I honestly can’t tell you [the last play] surprised me.”
The ‘Niners will return to the court to face Loyola Marymount on the road on Thursday at 7 p.m.