After coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss at Cal Poly, the Long Beach State women’s basketball team was determined to get back to winning games.
The 49ers were off to a hot start Saturday against the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors, with sophomore forward Naomi Hunt finding her shot early on, canning a career high six-of-nine from behind the three point line and finishing with 20 points and eight rebounds.
Hawai’i (9-13, 5-4 Big West) had won five of its last seven games, but the intensity of Long Beach State’s (7-15, 4-5 Big West) lead guards Shanaijah Davison and Justina King were too much to handle as the 49ers won 56-40. Long Beach held Hawai’i to only four points in the first quarter, allowing one field goal.
“I think we all had a bad taste in our mouth and a feeling of disappointment after that game,” head coach Jeff Cammon said. “I think it energized us … We just didn’t execute toward the end, but what I told them was we have to learn from this. Let’s use this loss to get better and fuel us for the next game.”
Inserting junior forward Aaryon Green into the starting lineup gave the 49ers some much needed energy patrolling the paint, as she finished the game with three steals and plenty of hustle plays to keep the momentum in their favor.
“[Aaryon] worked her butt off to get to this point, and yes I would say she added to the energy, especially on the defensive end and I think that’s where we won the game,” Cammon said.
Once again implementing its stifling full court press, the 49ers were able to hold the Rainbow Warriors to 13-of-51 shooting from the field, along with a lowly 13 percent from the three-point line.
Long Beach on the other hand, was able to get whatever it wanted, finishing 20-of-44 from the field and knocking down 52 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.
“I thought our communication was good. I thought our activity was good,” Cammon said. “We did a good job of following the game plan and I think the activity, the energy, the communication, all those things are key.”
Long Beach will defend home court against UC Irvine Thursday 7 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.