By Jarrod Castillo, Athletics Editor
In the waning moments of the first quarter, Long Beach State sophomore guard Shanaijah Davison drove into the paint and stopped at the free-throw line. Spinning the opposite direction to evade her defender, she hit a fadeaway jump shot that hit nothing but net.
Long Beach State (1-5) needed that kind of night from Davison, the team’s leading scorer, and she did not disappoint on the second night of a back-to-back in a 70-63 win over the Idaho Vandals (2-3).
“Man, that feels good,” Long Beach State head coach Jeff Cammon said. “We’re very, very proud of our young ladies’ effort tonight.”
After coming out slow the previous five games, the Beach came out with energy, as the guard duo of freshman Justina King and Davison set the tone on offense. Both King and Davison combined to score 13 of the Beach’s 17 points in the first quarter, as much as Idaho had as an entire team.
Meanwhile, Idaho had their own scoring threat: senior guard Mikayla Ferenz. Coming into the game, Ferenz was averaging 18 points on good percentages from the floor, proving she was a lethal scorer. As a result, she had 10 points for the Vandals in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Beach would extend their lead to 13, 36-23, with 3:35 remaining. However, Ferenz scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in the quarter alone and kept the deficit at 10, 40-30, going into the second half.
Davison led the Beach with 15 points and five rebounds while Ferenz had 20 points and eight rebounds to lead both teams in both categories.
Fifteen seconds into the third, sophomore forward Naomi Hunt hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 13, 43-30. The Vandals fought back, though, thanks to Ferenz scoring nine points in the frame to give her 29 points and more importantly, whittling the lead down to four, 48-44, with five minutes left.
Nevertheless, the Beach were able to clamp down on defense to keep the score 57-51, heading into the fourth.
Two things helped propel the Beach in the fourth: being able to defend without fouling and King’s career-night on offense.
As Idaho took the lead, 63-62, with 3:34 left, Long Beach State would go on an 8-0 run to end the game. It all started with King Euro-stepping through the defense as the shot clock ran out to give the Beach momentum to close out the game with great defense.
“It’s something that we’ve emphasized and we had a really focused shootaround and I thought our kids were down there from the jump,” Cammon said with regards to his team not fouling.
“They communicated better, so across the board I just thought we got better today,” he concluded.
Davison sealed the game by hitting two free throws, making it 70-63 with 10.9 seconds left, giving her 25 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
King finished with 19 points, a career-high, to go along with three rebounds and three steals while Hunt added 12 points, six rebounds and three steals for the Beach.
“We just got really good looks,” King said on her career-night. “We just all really worked together and that’s how I got it.”
“I got to thank them for that,” she concluded.
For the Vandals, Ferenz had 31 points on 11-of-29 shooting with nine rebounds in 39 minutes. As a whole, the Beach held Idaho to 36 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers, showing a renewed focus on defense.
Long Beach State will be back at the Walter Pyramid on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. against San Diego.