By Jarrod Castillo, Athletics Editor
Dec. 6 vs. University of San Diego Toreros
With less than 15 seconds left and down two, 58-56, Long Beach State (1-8) head coach Jeff Cammon drew up a play for sophomore guard Shanaijah Davison to tie the game and force overtime against the University of San Diego Toreros (5-3). Blowing past her defender, Davison had a clean look for a layup.
Instead, it hit the back of the rim and into the hands of junior forward Patricia Brossmann, all but ensuring the Beach’s fourth loss in five games with their 60-56 loss against the Toreros.
“Man, hard-fought game,” Cammon said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with the victory but those are coming.”
In the first quarter, both teams played hard but neither shot the ball particularly well, going a combined 4-of-13 from the field at one point. However, the Toreros got into a groove toward the end of the quarter, shooting 50 percent (7-14) while also taking a 15-11 lead into the second.
The sloppiness carried over onto the second quarter, where both teams shot a combined 25.9 percent (7-of-27). Additionally, both sides had more turnovers (21) than made shots in the first half (18).
At the half, the Toreros led the Beach 25-23, with sophomore guard Myah Pace having six points for San Diego. Meanwhile, Long Beach State freshman guard Justina King led all scorers with seven points, albeit on 2-of-7 (28 percent) shooting.
After halftime, the Beach came out with more energy as sophomore forward Naomi Hunt hit a 3-pointer to give Long Beach State a brief lead, 26-25.
“Just go out there and compete,” King said of the Beach’s newfound energy in the third. “We know that normally our third quarter’s kind of where we relax and we get down so we knew we had to come out and really compete in the third quarter.”
Although the Beach competed, they still gave up easy layups on second-chance opportunities as San Diego outscored Long Beach State 9-0 in that department in the third quarter alone. That gave the Toreros a three-point lead, 42-39, going into the fourth.
With the fourth quarter underway, the Toreros used their size to their advantage. In particular, Brossmann would get easy putbacks on offensive rebounds because of her size.
As such, she scored seven of her game-high 17 points in the period as Long Beach State had no answer for her down in the post. Brossmann pushed the lead to as much as eight, 57-49, with 2:22 left, which would seal the game.
Prior to the game going down to the wire, Long Beach State had many fastbreak layups that missed. Had they made three of those layups, the outcome would be very different.
“We had about five or six bunnies that didn’t fall. The fact that we were able to get stops, rebound and get into transition is a bright spot,” Cammon concluded.
Brossmann had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead four Toreros in double-figure scoring. Both Hunt and King had 11 points apiece for the Beach, who also had four players score in double-figures in the loss.
Dec. 9 vs. Arizona Wildcats
With the tough loss behind them, Long Beach State (1-9) looked to change their fortunes against the Arizona Wildcats (8-1), whom they beat the previous three meetings.
Whatever hopes the Beach had of beating the Wildcats were immediately thrown out the window as after almost five minutes into the first quarter, Long Beach State was down 14-2, with the only points coming from junior guard Sydney Bordonaro’s free throws.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of room for improvement,” head coach Jeff Cammon said.
Arizona’s full-court defense forced six Beach turnovers and only allowed Long Beach State two made baskets (2-of-12). As a result, the Wildcats led 20-9 at the end of one.
As the second quarter began, it was more of the same as Arizona’s suffocating defense allowed them to force turnovers and extend the lead to as much as 17, 37-14, with about four minutes left in the quarter. Both teams would trade baskets to end the half, 35-22, in favor of the Mustangs.
Sophomore forward Sam Thomas had nine points to lead all scorers. Bordonaro had eight points off the bench to pace the Beach.
Like the previous game, Long Beach State came out with energy in the third, as a 8-0 run led by sophomore guard Shanaijah Davison and freshman guard Kianna Hamilton-Fisher. Arizona head coach Adia Barnes called a timeout with 7:28 left in the third quarter to rally her troops.
Coming out of the timeout, the Wildcats became the aggressor, closing out the quarter on a 20-6 run to go into the fourth leading 55-36. Sophomore guard Aari McDonald scored 12 of her game-high 17 points in the quarter alone for Arizona.
With the game seemingly out of reach, the Wildcats continued the pressure, forcing the Beach to score under 10 points in the quarter on 23 percent shooting (3-13). In the end, Long Beach State was outplayed by Arizona in almost every category, except for bench production; the Beach and Arizona’s bench both scored 23 points.
“Just stay confident,” Cammon said on how to keep up the bench production. “Get the experience, get the minutes and we’ll continue to get better.”
That bench production is thanks largely in part to freshman guard Jasmine Hardy, who scored a career-high 15 points to lead Long Beach State and pulled down seven rebounds.
“Even though I’m scoring, I feel like it’s a team game,” she said. “My team helped me score 15 [points] and I feel like if I didn’t have my team, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.”
The pair of losses now makes it four straight for the Beach. They will be looking to end that streak when they face LMU on Friday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. They will be back at the Walter Pyramid on Sunday, Dec. 16 to take on GCU at 4 p.m.