The Long Beach State women’s basketball team lost three key players to injury in a heartbreaking 58-57 loss in overtime to Cal Poly Saturday in the Walter Pyramid.
Three pivotal 49er players went down with injuries: Junior center Devin Hudson, sophomore guard Raven Benton and sophomore guard Jewelyn Sawyer.
Hudson left in the first half after coming down awkwardly on a rebound attempt. LBSU carted off Benton, the team’s leading scorer, on a wheelchair and took her to the hospital after getting hit hard on a layup attempt. The team has not released and update on her status.
Cal Poly’s Taryn Garza fouled Sawyer hard over the back and knocked her out of the game. Sawyer and Benton were having big games before they exited. Benton had 13 points while Sawyer crashed the boards and collected nine rebounds.
Hudson returned in the second half, but her injury limited her playing time and role in the game. Head coach Jody Wynn said the three injured players are doubtful for the upcoming games.
“I’m not counting on any of them to play,” Wynn said. “Not to be a Debbie-downer, but they’re in pretty excruciating pain.”
Sophomore guard Anna Kim drained a jump shot with 13.2 seconds left on the game-clock to give LBSU a one-point lead in overtime. The 49ers defense needed to make one more stop to secure a win.
Cal Poly (12-11, 7-4) senior guard Ariana Elegado beat the 49ers with a game-winning layup in the final seconds of overtime.
“Just coming off that last play I knew I wanted to take it to the hole,” Elegado said.
Elegado’s game-winning field goal was the ninth lead change of the game. The Cal Poly bucket capped off an up-and-down game for both sides.
“It was pretty crazy,” Elegado said. “[I had] chills almost the whole game. I felt like it was a championship game. So many people were into it. We had passion for it.”
The 49ers offensive drought ultimately cost them the game. Leading 34-28 at halftime, The Beach completed four of 25 from the field in the second half.
“There was a lid on the rim,” Wynn said. “I mean, we only made six baskets in the last 25 minutes of basketball.”
The 49ers offensive struggles lingered into overtime as they went just one of seven in the extra period until Kim’s late game jumper.
“When I made that shot, I was like ‘we’re not losing, we worked too hard and it’s our home floor,’” Kim said. “The main thing was getting a stop, and we just slipped as a team.”
Cal Poly head coach Faith Mimnaugh praised LBSU’s defensive effort for keeping the game close with its confusing defensive schemes.
“You have to credit [LBSU],” Mimnaugh said. “They’re tenacious and they throw different stuff at you. [They’re] always trying to create havoc on the court.”
The 49ers struggled all game from beyond the arc, shooting just three of 21 from deep. Kim said it was just one of those days where nothing goes in the basket.
“Sometimes you just have an off-day,” Kim said. “A lot of these girls work on their shot on their own time. It just wasn’t our day.”
The 49ers travel to UC Davis to take on the Aggies next Thursday night at 7 p.m.