Dec. 16, 2016
LONG BEACH, Calif. - In a game that saw all 12 Long Beach State players hit the court and score at least two points each, the Beach was led by sophomore point guard Martina McCowan's career-high effort, as LBSU routed Biola, 76-48, on Friday night at the Walter Pyramid.
With the win, the Beach improve to 7-4 on the year and have won four-straight games, while the Eagles' record remains at 8-3 as the contest was an exhibition game for Biola.
McCowan earned her first-career start and made it count as she tallied a career-best 11 points to go along with a career-high five steals in 31 minutes of action. She was 4-for-6 from the field, 1-for-1 from three-point range, and 2-for-3 from the line. McCowan also dished out two assists and one rebound in the contest.
In addition to McCowan's solid performance on the court, senior forward Madison Montgomery also tallied double-figures with 10 points, while pulling down four rebounds and swiping two steals.
The entire team took the court, including junior forward Darshana Ta'afua who made her Beach debut and tallied six points with one rebound.
"Going into this game we had to tighten up a lot of things on our end and we wanted to make sure we did that within the first three minutes of each quarter. In particular, the first three minutes of the first and second halves," Long Beach State head coach Jody Wynn said. "I'm just really proud of the overall team effort. Everybody played, everybody contributed, and everybody scored. Overall it was a really fun night for the Beach program."
The Beach used a balanced offense and stout defense as they excelled on both sides of the ball. LBSU shot 42.9 percent (30-for-70) from the field, while forcing 25 turnovers and collecting 14 steals. The 49ers capitalized on turnovers as they poured in 39 points off of turnovers to lead in that category 39-6.
"We did a great job forcing turnovers and scoring off of those turnovers tonight," Wynn stated. "We got 39 points off of 25 turnovers. That is really good; it's attention to detail.
"I think we had some mishaps and DeMoria White did an outstanding job of drawing two defenders and getting passes and creating help and recover situations a little too much for us. But outside of that, I think we did a solid job of moving the ball and making sure we kept Biola, for the most part, to one and done."
White finished the game with 16 points to lead all scorers as she helped the Eagles to 41 percent shooting (16-for-39) in the game. Annie Park also tallied double-figures for Biola as she posted 11 points, while collecting three steals.
The Beach took a 14-13 lead over the Eagles on a free throw by Jewelyn Sawyer at 3:20 in the first quarter and never looked back. LBSU went on a 6-0 run to close the first frame and take a 19-13 lead into the second.
The 49ers continued their run once the second quarter got going as they jumped out to a 10-point lead (24-14) after McCowan sunk a pair of free throws. LBSU shot 45 percent (9-for-20) from the field in the second frame and led by as many as 16 points as the Beach took a 41-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Following the intermission, the Beach outscored the Eagles 19-10 in the third quarter to extend their lead to 25 (60-35). Long Beach State led by as many as 30 points in the game as a jumper by Ta'afua made it a 64-34 game at 9:07 in the fourth quarter.
"Darshana is a very skilled player," Wynn said of her junior forward. "She's got a great touch and fantastic hands. It was just exciting for the team to get her back out on the court with us. She did a really nice job. I'm just really proud of her."
The Beach held a comfortable lead throughout the game and cruised to a 28-point win (76-48).
Next up for Long Beach State is a road trip to Las Vegas, Nev., where the Beach will take part in the Play4Kay Shootout. LBSU opens the tournament against No. 22 South Florida on Monday, Dec. 19 at 12:30 p.m., at the T-Mobile Arena.