Dec. 7, 2016
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Junior guard Cece Wilson poured in a career-best 20 points to lead Long Beach State to a 66-58 victory over Pacific on Wednesday evening at the Walter Pyramid. With the win the Beach improve to 5-4, while Tigers fall to 3-5 on the year.
Long Beach State got a solid offensive effort from everyone on the team as the 49ers shot a season-best 43.4 percent from the field. Defensively, the Beach turned in another stout performance forcing 17 turnovers, while collecting five steals and tallying 18 points off of turnovers.
Wilson and senior Madison Montgomery both turned in double-figure scoring efforts as Wilson led the way with 20 points as she was an impressive 5-for-6 from long distance, for a new career-high in made three-pointers. She finished the game shooting 66.7 percent (6-for-9) from the field and was 3-for-4 from the charity stripe.
"Cece has been working really hard on her three," Long Beach State head coach Jody Wynn said. "In practice, she's one of our knock-down shooters. She loves that left side, especially deep in the corner. She got hot in the first half and was feeling it and she did a really nice job for us.
"I'm really proud that the whole team was able to see the ball go through the net tonight. It was nice to see them perform. It was a team effort."
Wilson was hot on all sides of the ball as she defended well leading the Beach in steals (2) and tying for the team lead in rebounding (5).
"Cece is a great on-ball defender." Wynn said of her starting guard. "She just played a really complete game for us. She got a lot of loose ball rebounds and that helped us get an extra possession on the offensive end."
Although the Beach initially trailed the Tigers 6-0 to start the game, an 8-2 run highlighted by six points in the paint from Montgomery, evened the score at 8-8. A three-pointer from Gigi Hascheff gave the 49ers a 13-10 lead which they would never relinquish as they controlled the game the rest of the way.
"Madi Montgomery was just dominant in the paint in the first half," Wynn stated. "We challenged her to dominate the paint tonight. It was great to see her capitalize on her opportunities today and give us points in the paint."
The Beach finished the game with 22 points in the paint as they pulled down 13 offensive rebounds and made their layups.
In the first half, Long Beach State shot 45.2 percent (14-for-31) from the field and forced nine turnovers to take a 35-27 lead into the locker room at half time. After 20 minutes of action, Wilson had already surpassed her season-high with 12 points, and Montgomery was one shy of reaching double-figures.
LBSU continued its balanced attack in the second half as the 49ers saw career-highs by sophomore Martina McCowan and freshman Alzena Henry. McCowan and Henry each recorded six points, while McCowan grabbed three boards, dished out three assists and posted one block. Henry added two rebounds to help the Beach total 35 boards on the night.
"Martina McCowan, off the bench, gave us quality minutes," Wynn said. "Not only did she get to the rim, but she got some rebounds, played with composure and played with much better poise and pace than she'd been playing in the past and it was nice to see that.
"Alzena Henry played with a lot of confidence," Wynn continued. "She's getting smarter every day in practice and continuing to work on her outside shot, which will give her confidence. I think when she saw her first shot go down she played with much better ease on the defensive end and much smarter on the offensive end."
Despite being outscored in the final 10 minutes of action, the Beach went on to win their fifth game of the season by a score of 66-58.
Montgomery concluded the game with a season-high 13 points, five rebounds, and one block, while Jewelyn Sawyer added eight points, four boards and one assist.
Pacific finished the game shooting 37 percent from the field (20-for-54) and was held to just 27.3 percent from three-point range. The Tigers were led offensively by Desire Finnie's 13 points. Emily Simons led the team in rebounds with nine, while adding six points, one block and one steal.
Long Beach State will take on Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m., at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif.