The Aggies came into the Walter Pyramid on a mission, putting the hurt on the 49ers as they were routed 66-49 Thursday.
Long Beach State (8-19, 5-9 Big West) was unable to find any sort of rhythm in the first quarter against UC Davis (20-6, 12-1 Big West). The Aggies came out gunning, hitting four three-pointers and aggressively trapping the 49er ball-handlers, resulting in a paltry 19-8 to end the frame.
The second quarter opened up a little bit more for the 49ers as they were able to get their bearings, only to be knocked back down again by the shooting of junior forward Sophia Song and paint presence of redshirt senior forward Morgan Bertsch.
These two carried the load for the Aggies, as Bertsch finished with 25 points, three blocks and two steals, which was complemented by excellent spacing from Song as she finished 3-of-7 from behind the three point line.
“[The coaches] do a great job, their kids are disciplined, they play hard, they play with energy and enthusiasm,” head coach Jeff Cammon said. “They expose our weaknesses so I think it gives our kids perspective.”
As halftime was ending and the players marched back out onto the court, it was obvious that Long Beach was in need of a spark, and sophomore forward Naomi Hunt provided just that as she was finally able to find a crease in the paint to convert an easy bucket. She was also able to hit a three-pointer to find her groove.
“We were down so I knew our offense had to get a spark, so I just decided to just do what I could do. Shoot, have confidence, and that happened,” Hunt said.
This all came crashing down as Bertsch put on a clinic, showing off her full skill set as she was feasting on post-ups, blowing by defenders with nifty face-up drives and even stepping out for a three-pointer of her own, which is rare for a 6-foot-4 forward.
“I think the sense of urgency, for a young team … with a lack of experience, you just don’t understand the value on every possession,” Cammon said. “I think as the game gets closer to the end … the sense of urgency changes.”
The 49ers began to look more comfortable and got into the paint in the final quarter, but it was too little too late. They fell to the Big West’s Goliath 66-49.
“These young ladies, they play hard, they didn’t quit, they gave 110 percent effort and I never doubt that they’re going to compete. We just have to continue to improve and we will,” Cammon said. “ I think that we’re going to have to find that fire and that experience.”
Long Beach will play its final home game 7 p.m. Thursday against Fullerton.