While the Long Beach State men’s basketball team has been riding a wave of momentum over the winter break, the 49er women are having a January that they’d like to forget.
The latest setback came last Saturday night when the 49ers fell in overtime to CS Northridge, 88-84, at the Matadome.
Junior forward Whitney Fields led the ‘Niners with 24 points and 10 rebounds to record her sixth double-double on the season. Junior guard Lauren Sims added 22 points on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
Senior Kaiti O’Brien pulled down a career-high 17 boards to lead the team in rebounds.
The 49ers were nursing an 84-82 lead in overtime with 24 seconds remaining, but CSUN’s Jasmine Erving completed a three-point play to pull Northridge ahead, 85-84. The Matadors made three of their four free throw attempts in the closing seconds to seal the win.
This was not the 49ers’ only gut-wrenching loss this month.
Back on Jan. 10 at the Pyramid, LBSU fell, 55-54, in a contest against UC Davis that ended on a questionable call. With the ‘Niners leading, 54-53, Aggie forward Kasey Riecks appeared to have traveled while driving to the basket, but instead, drew a foul that put her on the line to sink the game-winning free throws.
LBSU also saw a lead evaporate in its 76-62 loss to Pacific on Jan. 8, when the team drew a record-breaking crowd of 2,656 out to the Pyramid. The ‘Niners carried a seven-point advantage into the half, but the Tigers shot their way back into the game to pull away in the second.
But blown leads and questionable calls aren’t the only things going wrong for the 49ers this break. The team’s health took a turn for the worse when it was announced that Karina Figueroa and LaTorya Barbee would miss the remainder of the season because of foot-related injuries.
Figueroa, a senior, was cleared to participate in contact drills, but has not healed to 100 percent. Barbee, a sophomore, underwent surgery in December to repair a fracture in her right foot. Both are medically redshirting this season.
In addition to their ailing backcourt, the 49ers had also lost junior forward Sahfiya Brown, another medical redshirt, for the season due to a torn ligament in her right knee.
LBSU (3-14, 0-5 Big West Conference), currently on a seven-game losing streak, will look to end the skid and pick up its first conference win on Saturday when it travels to UC Riverside. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.