Jan. 16, 2016
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IRVINE, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's basketball team went 24-of-27 from the free throw line to secure a 71-65 Big West win over UC Irvine Saturday afternoon at the Bren Events Center.
Five 49ers reached double figures in scoring. Sophomore Jessica Gertz led the way with a career-high 13 points as she made all seven of her free throw attempts and also drained a pair of 3-pointers. Junior Anna Kim contributed 12 points, while junior Jewelyn Sawyer, junior Raven Benton and sophomore Cecily Wilson all finished with 11 points. Benton and Sawyer added seven and six rebounds, respectively.
The Beach (13-5, 2-2 Big West) shot just 33.9 percent from the field, but was 88.9 percent from the charity stripe and outrebounded UCI, 42-34. Both teams committed 24 turnovers.
Long Beach State struggled in the opening minutes with five early turnovers allowing UC Irvine to race out to a 12-0 lead. Gertz then got the Beach on the board with a pair of free throws, but UCI kept a double-digit advantage until LBSU's first field goal by junior Madison Montgomery at the 4:30 mark. That sparked an 11-5 run for the 49ers as they ended the first period down by three (19-16).
The Beach kept the momentum in the second quarter as it took its first lead of game at 22-21 following a Chantel Dooley putback with 6:01 remaining. The Anteaters answered with a jumper on the other end, but Long Beach State then used an 11-4 spurt, capped by a three from Wilson, to go up, 33-27, with 2:51 to play. The visitors stayed out front and held a 36-33 cushion at the break.
Dooley got the first bucket of the second half, but UC Irvine came back with six unanswered to reclaim the advantage at 39-38. That lead was short-lived, however, as LBSU got a pair of free throws from Montgomery and a 3-pointer from Kim to pull ahead, 43-39, at the five-minute mark. Long Beach State continued to roll, going up by as many as eight before taking a 52-46 lead at the end of the third quarter.
UCI (3-15, 0-4 Big West) started the fourth with a 3-pointer and cut the deficit to two (54-52) with 8:19 to go. Gertz then hit a three to start a 5-1 rally that put the Beach back on top by six at 59-53. The 49ers stayed out front and despite a couple of late threes by the Anteaters, they sealed the 71-65 win by going 8-of-8 from the free throw line down the stretch.
Shereen Sutherland paced UC Irvine with 16 points and eight rebounds. Mckenzie Piper also had 12 points and eight boards, while Raelyn Cheung-Sutton dished out 11 assists to go along with five steals.
Long Beach State will be back in action next Wednesday, Jan. 20, when it welcomes Cal State Fullerton to the Walter Pyramid for a 7 p.m. Big West tilt. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
NOTES: The Beach was 17-of-17 from the free throw line through three quarters ... They missed their first three FTs of the fourth period, but finished the afternoon at 24-of-27 (88.9 percent) ... Jessica Gertz made all seven of her FT attempts to remain perfect on the season (15-15) and in her collegiate career (19-19) ... Gertz notched her second-straight double-figure scoring game with a career-high 13 points ... The 49ers outrebounded their opponent for the third time this season and are now 3-0 when holding the edge on the boards ... LBSU improved to 54-13 all-time against the Anteaters ... With the win, Long Beach State earned three points in the Black & Blue Rivalry and now leads the 2015-16 series, 12-7.