The effort was there for Long Beach State Thursday night, but its grit and determination ultimately weren’t enough to secure a win against the University of San Diego.
With a clear size advantage for San Diego, it was a tough night getting shots to fall for Long Beach (1-8) finishing with a 31.3 shooting percentage as a team, losing 60-56.
“For some reason, you know, we weren’t converting our layups. We usually do, you know, we’re so much better than last year at finishing at the rim and for some reason tonight they weren’t falling,” head coach Jeff Cammon said.
One silver lining was that the 49ers worked well on the defensive end with active hands and a strong presence rebounding. They won the battle of the boards 42-30, which has been a problem for the team in the past.
“[It was a] hard fought game, really proud of our young ladies’ effort. I thought we got better tonight, you know, unfortunately we didn’t come out with a victory but those are coming … they’re a physical team, they play really hard and they made us better tonight so I’m looking forward to Sunday,” Cammon said.
Even with the 49ers struggling to finish in the paint, freshman guard Justina King wasn’t going to let up on the pressure.
“We were really trying to be aggressive and get to the rim,” King said.
That mindset led to the 49ers making 15-of-18 free throws to keep the game in reach.
“We got them in foul trouble because we were aggressive in the first half,” Cammon said.
The last minute in regulation became a contest at the charity stripe between the two squads. San Diego came out victorious after sinking clutch shots, while the 49ers were unable to capitalize on their shot opportunities down the stretch.
“We talk about effort, you know, and when I look back on film, I get on them about effort, but when I watch our film, our kids play hard,” Cammon said. “Anyone or everyone who watching us play, you can’t say our kids don’t play hard. It’s just the execution, it’s the experience.”
Instead of focusing on what went wrong, Cammon saw positives in the game despite the women dropping their third in a row.
“It’s all about being ready to compete and [being] there for your teammates,” Cammon said. “This is a selfless team and whatever I ask them to do, they do it with a selfless attitude, a positive attitude, you know, it’s about we, not me, so our kids have definitely bought into that.”
Long Beach is back for a 1 p.m. Sunday match against Arizona at the Walter Pyramid.