Sports, Women's Basketball, Women's Sports

LBSU remains winless three games into the season

What was a home game for the 49ers felt like a road game as the Loyola Marymount fans cheered at the Walter Pyramid every time the Lions scored. The Long Beach State women’s basketball team was able to score, but its lack of defense ultimately caused its 84-69 loss to Loyola Marymount.

After starting the season 0-2, the coaching staff decided to shake up the starting lineup and insert defensive minded senior Cecily Wilson as a wing. Wilson was plugged in for defense, but LBSU (0-3) gave up a season high in points.

“We came out and competed hard, but we made too many mistakes down the stretch and it cost us the game,” head coach Jeff Cammon said.

The 49ers came out looking to shoot three-pointers unlike their two previous matches. It all started with a pull-up three by freshman forward Naomi Hunt, who drilled a deep three for the team’s first points. Senior shooting guard Jessica Gertz continued to struggle beyond the arc, shooting a dismal 0-of-5 in the first quarter. Gertz was in a shooting slump, but Cammon encouraged her to keep shooting and she would finally hit her first three of the season at the 6:42 mark in the second quarter.

“Jessica’s job is to shoot the ball and that isn’t going to change anytime soon,” Cammon said.

Long Beach kept it close at the end of the half with a 34-29 deficit and had 20 minutes to steal the game.

The 49ers changed their game plan in the second half to get freshman center Emma Merriweather more involved. In the first half she only had three shot attempts and only contributed two points.

“I definitely should have made more of an effort on the boards,” Merriweather said. “I was decent at the start of the game, but I knew it wasn’t enough.”

Merriweather was able to score with her back to the basket in the second half but was a defensive liability for the team. Getting back in transition is something she has struggled with all season and it was apparent against the Lions. Loyola Marymount ran the floor well, exploiting the fast break against the 49ers who struggled to get back in transition.

Turnovers were an issue for Long Beach, totaling 22 by the end of the game. It was a layup line for Loyola Marymount, and frustration was evident through multiple unnecessary fouls committed by the 49ers. Long Beach was overly aggressive in the paint which led to 28 free throw attempts for the Lions while the 49ers only had eight.

“We gave up way too many fouls,” Cammon said. “We weren’t able to get to the line and it was the biggest discrepancy I saw tonight.”

The 49ers battled to get back in the game in the fourth quarter, but the Lions flourished offensively. The damage had been done and the 49ers dropped their third in a row 84-69.

Hunt led the team with 17 points, eight rebounds and two assists, while Gertz would end the night with 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting beyond the arc.

Cammon was impressed with Hunt’s play as a freshman, and gave her credit for picking up the slack when others could not.

“I don’t see a grade when I’m on the floor,” Hunt said. “I go out there with all my effort see how I can help my team win.”

The 49ers could not find a way to win at home, but will look for their first win of the season on the road against USC at 7 p.m. Monday.

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