March 17, 2016
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EUGENE, Ore. - The Long Beach State women's basketball team put up a fight but Pac-12 member Oregon was able to pull away late as the Beach dropped an 84-76 decision in the first round of the WNIT Thursday evening at Matthew Knight Arena.
"We've won more games than we ever have with our staff in the last seven years," head coach Jody Wynn said. "I'm so proud of all of our players and how they've battled and been resilient all season long.
"Tonight, we faced a team in Oregon that hit 14 threes," Wynn added. "I thought we did a great job on our offensive execution, we shot the ball beautifully, we did a fair job on the boards, and we turned them over plenty of times. They just made open shots so hats off to them for doing that, but that doesn't take anything away from our kids and our heart."
The Beach (24-9) shot 45.2 percent from the field, but the Ducks were slightly better at 50.9 percent and got hot from beyond the arc where they were 14-of-30. LBSU still forced Oregon into 20 turnovers, marking the 21st time this year the 49ers have pressured their opponent into at least 20 miscues.
Junior Raven Benton led Long Beach State with 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. It was her second-straight 20-point game and the 12th of her career. Junior Anna Kim and sophomore Gigi Hascheff added 12 points each, while sophomore Jessica Gertz finished with 11, matching her career high with three 3-pointers. Freshman Chanterria Jackson also went 4-for-6 from the floor for nine points.
The Beach raced out to a 6-0 lead before Oregon got on the board at the 7:32 mark. LBSU extended its advantage to 9-2 on a Kim 3-pointer, but the Ducks responded with an 8-2 spurt to cut the deficit to 11-10 with 4:37 to play. Gertz then hit the first of her three first-quarter triples to keep the 49ers out front and they would pull ahead, 25-19, at the end of the period.
UO started the second frame with back-to-back threes to knot the score at 25-25, and continued on a 20-6 run over the first five minutes for a 39-31 lead. Long Beach State closed the gap to five on a Benton 3-pointer, but the home team held on to a 46-38 edge at the break.
The Beach fell behind by 11 early in the third quarter before putting together an 11-3 rally, capped by a pair of free throws from Benton, to make it a three-point game (56-53) at the 2:25 mark. That was the closest they would get, however, as Oregon was able to get to the line on consecutive possessions to increase its cushion to 60-53 with 1:54 remaining. LBSU answered with four-straight points by Benton to bring the visitors within 64-59 after three.
The Ducks hit a 3-pointer on their first possession of the fourth quarter, setting the tone for the final 10 minutes as they used a 20-6 run to open up a 19-point advantage at 84-65 at the 3:06 mark. The 49ers held UO scoreless the rest of the way, allowing them to close out the game on an 11-0 spurt, but it wasn't enough in the 84-76 loss.
Oregon (21-10) had five players reach double figures in scoring, led by Lexi Petersen's 22 points. The Ducks will advance to the second round of the WNIT where they will face the winner of the Santa Clara-Fresno State game.
Long Beach State finishes the season at 24-9, marking its most wins since 1990-91. The Beach will return all but one player next year as it has only one senior, Chantel Dooley, on its roster.
NOTES: Raven Benton registered her sixth 20-point game of the season and 12th of her career ... She now ranks 18th on Long Beach State's all-time scoring list with 1,112 career points ... Benton also has 463 career rebounds, giving her the opportunity to become just the 13th player in program history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds next year ... This was LBSU's second-straight WNIT appearance and third in the last four years ... The 49ers have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 campaigns ... They have also improved their win total in each of the last five years ... Oregon's 84 points were the most LBSU allowed all season and marked just the second time the Beach gave up more than 80.