Long Beach State’s women’s basketball season came to an end Saturday night with a 74-62 loss to UC Santa Barbara in front of 665 at the Walter Pyramid.
UCSB (20-9, 15-1 Big West Conference) senior guard Lauren Pedersen had a game-high 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. Senior guard Sha’Rae Gibbons added 14 points and six rebounds.
Junior center Whitney Fields got 14 points and collected eight rebounds for LBSU (8-21, 4-12 Big West).
UCSB shot 54 percent from the field compared to only 37.7 percent for the 49ers. The Gauchos solid 3-point shooting (60 percent) helped them build a lead in the second half.
“They [UCSB] came out with more intensity in the second half,” LBSU head coach Mary Hegarty said. “We just couldn’t get ourselves out of the hole.”
LBSU showed intensity and focus through most of the game. They were quicker on their rotations and they didn’t give up many easy shots.
“Good shooters will knock down their shots, they were able to hit them tonight,” sophomore guard LaTorya Barbee said.
The 49ers needed a win to assure a spot in the Big West Tournament that begins Wednesday at the Anaheim Convention Center.
LBSU ended the season in a three-way tie for last place with UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. The 49ers split the season series with both teams, so their record against the next team in the standings decided the tiebreaker. LBSU’s record was not good enough against the other teams in the conference to beat the tie.
It was the final game for LBSU seniors Kaiti O’Brien and Lynea Williams. O’Brien had 152 points and 136 total rebounds in her senior season at Long Beach; Williams had 157 points and 22 assists.
The core of the 49er team will be coming back next season.
“It will help to get our injured players back. We, of course, will miss our seniors but we should be much better,” Hegarty said.
The loss ended the last season on Hegarty’s six-year contract with LBSU.
“We have a meeting set for next week to discuss my future with the program,” Hegarty said. “I have loved my experience here, and I hope to keep coaching here for a long, long time.”
Hegarty has a career record of 229-170 (.574) and 69-78 (.462) at The Beach.
“Hegarty trusted me when I was having trouble getting into other schools. She has given me a lot of opportunities that I am really thankful for,” Barbee said.