It has been a long season for Long Beach State’s women’s basketball team. With the team’s massive turnover during the offseason and loss of experience on the roster, the 49ers have lost the thunder they possessed in previous years.
However, the 49ers (4-22, 2-10 Big West) can take solace in the fact that they may have two of the most dynamic scorers in the Big West Conference with freshman guard Shanaijah Davison and forward Naomi Hunt. Although inexperienced, they have shown glimpses of maturity and look ready to lead the team in the future.
Davison possesses a playstyle similar to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. She can score in transition using her athleticism and agility, spot-up on the 3-point line and hit from long range or stop on a dime for a mid-range two, just like Westbrook.
The moves she has in her repertoire have helped her to 10th in the Big West in scoring. She also leads the 49ers at 14 points per game.
Although her shooting percentages of 37.7 percent on twos and 34.1 percent on threes can increase in order to be a truly effective player, low percentages come with facing a D1 defense for the first time.
Davison’s defense is also noteworthy, as she averages 1.7 steals per game, tied for eighth in the conference. Additionally, she dishes out three assists per game, second on the team and 12th in the Big West.
“She’s a very talented young lady,” head coach Jeff Cammon said of Davison after the 49ers’ game against Cal Poly Jan. 25. “She’s trying to be efficient with the looks she’s going to get, but also understanding that she has the ability to also make her teammates better.”
Her indecision between distributing and scoring has led to 3.9 turnovers per game, which is second in the Big West. In order to be a serious threat on offense, her ball control needs some improvement.
Meanwhile, Hunt’s playstyle is similar to current Thunder forward Paul George. She can play as the number one option, evident by the fact that she led the team in scoring three times throughout the season, with a career-high 28 points against UC Santa Barbara Jan. 20.
Hunt can also play off the ball by setting screens and she has the ability to roll to the basket or pop out to the 3-point line, where she is a 52 percent shooter. That percentage leads the Big West, with 4.2 attempts per game.
“She puts the work in,” Cammon said of Hunt after the loss against Davis Feb. 3. “She can do a lot of things out there and she’s only going to get better.”
Overall, Hunt is hitting 55.3 percent of her shots, fifth in the Big West and scoring 11.2 points per game, ranking 17th. Hunt is 12th in conference in steals with 1.5, showcasing her knack for tough defense.
Her rebounding needs some work, however, as she ranks 35th in rebounding, averaging 3.2 per game. Once those totals are up, she will be considered a complete threat.
Though the 49ers may not look that imposing now, giving Davison and Hunt a proper offseason to work on their respective games will yield results. Don’t look now, but soon the duo will be bringing the “Thunder” back to the Walter Pyramid.