March 5, 2016
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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Behind 20-point performances from juniors Raven Benton and Madison Montgomery, the Long Beach State women's basketball team defeated CSUN, 79-69, in the regular-season finale Saturday at the Matadome.
Benton went 15-for-20 from the foul line and finished with a team-high 27 points. Her 15 made free throws are tied for third and her 20 attempts are tied for second in LBSU single-game history. Junior Madison Montgomery also had a career-high 22 points, to go along with four rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Sophomores Cecily Wilson and Jessica Gertz chipped in eight points each, while junior Anna Kim had five points and five steals. Junior Gigi Hascheff contributed five points and four steals as the Beach tied its season-high with 16 takeaways.
The 49ers shot 46.2 percent on the afternoon and scored 22 points off 23 CSUN turnovers. Long Beach committed only 10 turnovers of its own.
Long Beach State (23-7, 12-4 Big West) raced out to a 6-0 lead following a Wilson layup at the 7:33 mark. CSUN then got on the board, but the Beach proceeded to go on a 9-2 run to pull ahead, 15-4, with 4:01 remaining. The Matadors would close the gap to seven (22-15) at the end of the first quarter.
LBSU took control in the second period as back-to-back 3-pointers from Montgomery and Gertz started an 11-4 spurt that put the 49ers on top, 33-19, with 6:46 remaining. A fastbreak layup from Gertz eventually gave the visitors an 18-point advantage and thanks to a pair of free throws from Wilson with 2.3 seconds on the clock, Long Beach State carried a comfortable 46-27 cushion into the locker room.
The Matadors came out strong in the third frame, outscoring LBSU, 11-3, over the first four-plus minutes to make it 49-38. Benton then hit a jumper, but CSUN hung around and cut the deficit to eight at 55-47 after three.
CSUN (7-23, 5-11 Big West) scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to come within three, but Montgomery answered with a jumper and after going back-and-forth, Kim hit a big three to make it 61-54 with 7:21 remaining. That started a 10-3 run, which was sparked by Long Beach State's press that created a couple of easy fastbreak layups. The rally put the game out of reach as the 49ers went up 68-57, with 5:44 to play and led by at least seven the rest of the way.
Channon Fluker paced CSUN with a game-high 34 points and 15 rebounds.
Long Beach State will begin Big West Tournament play next week. If Hawai'i loses to Cal Poly tonight, the 49ers will be the No. 2 seed and earn an automatic bye into the semifinals at the Honda Center on Friday, March 11. If the `Bows win, the Beach will be the third seed and play in Wednesday's (March 9) quarterfinal round at the Bren Events Center.
NOTES: Long Beach State has improved its win total for the fifth year in a row ... LBSU completed its sixth regular-season sweep in Big West play as its only losses came to UC Riverside and Hawai'i ... The Beach won at CSUN for the first time since 2012 ... The 49ers' 12 conference wins are their most since 2004-05 ... Long Beach has forced 20 or more turnovers in 11 of its last 13 outings ... Jessica Gertz has made a 3-pointer in nine-straight games ... Jewelyn Sawyer saw her streak of 15 consecutive games with a steal come to an end.