Feb. 20, 2016
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Behind junior Raven Benton's 19 second-half points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 17.9 seconds left, the Long Beach State women's basketball team was able to make the final push in a game that saw 18 lead changes for a 58-55 victory over UC Santa Barbara Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome.
Benton did not score in the first 20 minutes as her playing time was limited after picking up two early fouls. The 5-foot-10 guard then came alive in the second half where she was 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe for all of her game-high 19 points. Benton now has 997 career points, putting her three away from becoming the 24th 49er to join the 1,000-point club.
Sophomore Gigi Hascheff added 11 points, including a couple of big threes in the fourth quarter. Junior Madison Montgomery chipped in nine points, four rebounds and two blocks, while classmate Anna Kim had five points, four boards and four assists. Senior Chantel Dooley also had four points and a team-best six rebounds.
UC Santa Barbara (10-17, 7-6 Big West) held a 55-54 lead when the Beach was unable to inbound the ball and was called for a five-second violation with 36 seconds to go, but the 49ers came right back to force the Gauchos into their 23rd turnover. That is when Benton stepped up, driving to the basket for the and-one that put the visitors on top, 57-55, with 17.9 ticks on the clock.
On the other end, Montgomery came up with a huge block on an Onome Jemerigbe layup. Kim grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled. She made 1-of-2 to secure the 58-55 win.
Long Beach State (19-7, 8-4 Big West) shot 36.2 percent from the floor, 23.5 percent from beyond the arc and 80 percent from the charity stripe. They were outrebounded, 36-29, but forced UCSB into 23 turnovers, while committing just 13 of their own.
Dooley scored the first four points of the game as the Beach raced out to a 9-2 lead at the 7:02 mark. UC Santa Barbara closed the gap to three, but Hascheff was able to get to the line on back-to-back possessions, making 3-of-4 free throws to put LBSU on top, 12-6. The Gauchos made the final push, however, closing out the period on a 7-0 run to go up, 13-12.
In the second quarter, the 49ers pulled ahead, 21-17, following a three-point play from Montgomery with 4:01 to go. UCSB then responded with eight unanswered points, six of which came from the charity stripe. Long Beach State would end a three-minute scoring drought with a pair of free throws from Kim and knotted the score at 25-25 on a Chanterria Jackson jumper with 44 seconds left. The home team would reclaim the lead at the break, however, as UCSB drained a jumper before the buzzer for the 27-25 advantage.
The Beach opened the third frame on a 9-0 run to pull ahead, 34-27, at the 7:39 mark. Sophomore Cecily Wilson started the rally with a 3-pointer and Benton ended it with back-to-back fastbreak layups. UC Santa Barbara answered once again, this time with an 11-3 spurt to go up 38-37. A Benton layup at the end of the period would give LBSU the 41-40 edge, setting up the wild fourth quarter that saw four ties and eight lead changes.
UC Santa Barbara made 45.2 percent of its field goal attempts and went 12-for-17 from the foul line. Jasmine Ware led the Gauchos with 16 points and eight assists, while Je Zhe Newton finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Long Beach State wraps up its three-game road stretch at Cal Poly next Wednesday, Feb. 24, before returning to the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid to host UC Irvine on Saturday, Feb. 27.