Jan. 30, 2016
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LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State women's basketball team brought its defensive intensity to another level in the second half and junior Madison Montgomery carried the offensive load, scoring 10 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter, to lift the 49ers to a 65-53 win over Cal Poly Saturday at the Walter Pyramid.
The Beach (16-5, 5-2 Big West) had a season-high attendance of 959 and treated the fans to quite a show as it erased an eight-point deficit and outscored the Mustangs, 21-to-5 in the final period, to come away with the 12-point win.
LBSU has matched its season-long win streak at four games and is tied with UC Davis for second in the conference standings. UC Riverside is in first as it remains unbeaten in league play at 6-0.
Montgomery scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the second half, including 10 in the fourth quarter. She was 8-of-14 from the field, while adding five rebounds and three steals.
Junior Raven Benton also netted her 14th double-figure scoring game with 14 points. Classmate Anna Kim contributed 10 points and four assists, while junior Jewelyn Sawyer chipped in eight points and a career-high five steals.
The 49ers ended the evening with 14 steals, and scored 35 points off 29 Cal Poly turnovers. They also shot 42.9 percent on the evening.
Long Beach State raced out to an 11-0 lead after forcing the Mustangs into a turnover on their first five possessions. CP then got its first bucket of the game at the 6:32 mark, and eventually cut the deficit to two at 16-14 with 1:34 to play. Sophomore Cecily Wilson responded with a 3-pointer and Sawyer followed with a steal and layup with 29 seconds remaining. After the Beach got the ball back on Cal Poly's ninth miscue of the quarter, it closed out the period with a Benton jumper to push its advantage to 23-14.
LBSU went back on top by 11 after Wilson and Montgomery each made 1-of-2 free throws to start the second quarter. The Mustangs then rallied to come within one (26-25) before sophomore Gigi Hascheff accounted for the 49ers' first field goal of the period with a three at the 4:18 mark. Cal Poly kept pushing, however, extending its run to 21-4 to pull ahead, 35-29, with 53.7 seconds left. Benton drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit in half, but the visitors held a 37-32 cushion at the break.
Cal Poly (10-10, 3-4 Big West) stayed out front in the third frame and took its largest lead, 47-39, at the 2:48 mark. Long Beach State fought its way back within four and kept the momentum in the fourth quarter where it outscored the Mustangs, 21-to-5. The Beach recorded the first nine points and went on top, 53-48, with a Benton 3-pointer at the 7:20 mark. LBSU continued to roll, pulling ahead, 55-49, on a layup from Sawyer. The Mustangs then made it a two-point game before Montgomery scored six-straight to give the 49ers an eight-point lead (61-53) with 1:55 to go.
The Long Beach State defense held Cal Poly scoreless over the final five minutes and Kim went 4-for-4 from the line down the stretch to seal the 65-53 victory.
Cal Poly shot 45.1 percent from the field, but was 1-of-11 from long distance. Dynn Leaupepe paced the Mustangs with a game-high 19 points, while Hannah Gilbert added 16 points. LBSU made the right adjustments at the half, however, as the duo combined for only 12 points in the final 20 minutes.
Long Beach State is back in the Pyramid next Thursday, Feb. 4, when it hosts CSUN in its only game of the week. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
NOTES: Long Beach State has forced each of its last four opponents into 20 or more turnovers ... They lead the Big West and rank among the top-20 in the nation with 21.2 turnovers forced per game ... The Beach held Cal Poly to 11 points under its season scoring average ... The Mustangs were coming off an 83-point outing at UC Riverside (Jan. 28) ... Raven Benton went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe, extending her streak to 18 consecutive free throws made ... She ranks seventh in school history with 297 career FTs made and has 932 career points ... Madison Montgomery was one point off her career-high of 19, which she established vs. UNLV on Dec. 20 ... That was also the last time she reached double digits in scoring.