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49ers edge out Titans

The Long Beach State women’s basketball team defeated Cal State Fullerton 74-70 Saturday night in the Walter Pyramid.

The victory took every bit of regulation before the 49ers (18-3, 5-2) cemented their win against CSUF (9-10, 3-3). The Beach entered the game with a two-game losing streak, its longest skid since last season.

“It means a lot for us [to get the win],” sophomore guard Raven Benton said. “Because we know we’re a championship team, and it didn’t matter that we had these two losses because we’re going to fight all the way.”

Benton scored a team-leading 20 points for the 49ers, and her most important points came from the free throw line to secure the win.

“Honestly, I was just thinking about how much I work on my free throws,” Benton said. “It’s the same routine, so I was pretty relaxed.”

LBSU’s senior guard Alex Sanchez was honored before the game for reaching the 1000 career-points milestone in the 72-64 loss at Hawaii on Thursday. Sanchez went five for five and scored 15 of her 17 points in the first half.

“I’m not an award crazed out person,” Sanchez said. “It’s just another game. What I want to leave with this legacy is winning the conference championship.”

Sanchez said the two-game losing streak gave the team extra motivation heading into Saturday’s game.

“We’re not a losing team,” Sanchez said. “We’re very competitive. We [even] go at it against each other. With these last two losses, we were very upset, but we knew we had to stay together and stay positive or we could have had a third loss.”

The 49ers’ first lead of the game came with eight minutes remaining in the first half. Sanchez said good ball movement and off-the-dribble rotation contributed to the 49ers 18-4 first half run.

“No one was stationary,” Sanchez said. “I actually moved without the ball. Usually, I’m waiting around for the ball so it’s easier to guard me. So the fact that I was moving around and my teammates found me, just made me confident to shoot it.”

Even though the 49ers turned the ball over 18 times in the first half, junior forward Devin Hudson and the rest of LBSU’s interior offense helped make up for it by scoring 52 points in the paint. Hudson played a pivotal role in the 49ers’ execution, racking up 12 points and 14 rebounds.

“[Hudson] was huge,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “We were able to do a really good job of scoring in the paint tonight .That was our point of emphasis and our players did an excellent job of moving the ball and making sure we dominated the paint.”

Another important part of The Beach’s game plan was containing one of the best shooters in the Big West conference, Fullerton senior guard Chante Miles. Even though Miles drained five three-pointers and scored a game-high 25 points, the 49ers defense held up when CSUF went on its late game surge.

“A couple times we had miscues and they capitalized on it,” Wynn said. “[Miles] is a fantastic senior leader. She put them on her back and not only created shots for herself, but she created shots for her teammates.”

The 49ers’ next matchup will be at UC Irvine on Thursday at 4 p.m.

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