Sports

Hurting 49ers face tough road test

The Long Beach State women’s basketball team will be without four key players as it heads north to battle for second place in the Big West against UC Davis on Thursday night.

The 49ers (20-5, 7-4) took a major injury blow in their match up against Cal Poly on Saturday. Head coach Jody Wynn confirmed leading rebounder Devin Hudson, leading scorer Raven Benton and sophomore guard Jewelyn Sawyer are out for Thursday’s game at Davis.

“I don’t even know myself [the severity of the injuries],” Wynn said. “They’re seeing doctors and are waiting for the results.”

Junior guard Chantel Dooley is also banged up. She missed the last two games after an injury in the loss at UC Riverside on Feb. 7, and Wynn is doubtful that will be ready to return this week.

Wynn said that there is no timetable on a possible return for any of the four players who went down with injuries.

“We have a doctor’s appointment [Tuesday],” Wynn said. “It’s all up in the air. I just know that there is a game on Thursday, and we’re going to need all seven to step up.”

The loss of sophomore guards Benton and Sawyer and junior center Hudson impacted the 49ers’ offensive production during the second half of Saturday’s game.

LBSU is taking a slow, methodical approach going into its match up at UC Davis (12-10, 7-3). Wynn said they are looking ahead and not behind.

“[The 49er injuries] were all unforeseen questions that no one expected,” Wynn said. “We need to get back to playing every possession with a purpose and staying together as a team in moments of adversity.”

The 49ers take on a UC Davis squad with four players averaging at least 13 points per game. Senior forward Sydnee Fipps leads the Aggies in scoring at 16.3 PPG, a number that ranks third in the Big West.

LBSU’s three-point defense faces its biggest challenge. The Aggies have the top three three-point shooters in the conference with Fipps, senior guard Kelsey Harris and freshman guard Rachel Nagel, who each shoot over 40 percent from deep.

Wynn said that in order for the 49ers to offset the hits they took from injuries, the team’s current unit would need to improve its play — something that is easier said than done.

Sophomore guard Anna Kim said the unpredictability of the conference is a positive sign that anything is possible between now and Mar. 10, the first round of the conference tournament.

“It’s about thinking that it’s not over,” Kim said. “Our conference is tricky, any given day, any team can lose. Right now, we’re going through the mindset of, from here on out, we can’t lose any more games.”

The 49ers will tip-off against the Aggies in Davis on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

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