The Long Beach State women’s basketball team was unable to keep its rhythm going in the second half against Loyola Marymount, ultimately losing 70-57.
The Beach (1-4) began the match with their usual full-court pressure, with senior forward Cydnee Kinslow consistently flustering the Lions (2-4) ball-handlers at halfcourt.
“She wasn’t hitting her shots today,” sophomore guard Justina King said, “but she still brought her energy defensively and that’s why she continued to play … She’s such a big presence on our team, we’re so lucky to have her.”
Redshirt sophomore guard Ma’Qhi Berry also got her hands dirty on the defensive end, recording five steals to go along with a career-high 22 points, one of which led to a highlight behind-the-back dribble move to blow by the defense for a transition lay-up.
“I feel like I’ve been holding back a lot,” Berry said. “For me to just come out and leave it all out on the floor, it felt good. Just help with my scoring ability. I know with [Shanaijah Davison] out, Naomi [Hunt] out, we need to score the ball, and I feel like that’s one of my roles and I can step into it.”
The Beach kept their foot on the gas throughout the first half with a lead of 29-27, but the Lions were able to stay in the game by consistently making trips to the foul line off of Long Beach miscues.
Without junior lead-guard Davison who has been dealing with nagging injuries, King played all 40 minutes for the Beach en route to a game-high 23 points, while steering the offense in transition and through the high pick-and-roll.
“I knew that’s what the team needed from me this game with [Davison] being out,” King said. “She’s a big part of our team, so I knew I had to step up in that factor, but it was fine.”
The game quickly became a tale of two halves after intermission, as the Lions overcame their shooting woes, canning 5-8 three-pointers in the third and fourth quarters.
“Just crazy, just to look at this, see that we lost this game by 13, how it gets away from you,” head coach Jeff Cammon said. “But that’s what happens when you’re having a hard time scoring the ball. I thought we had some really good looks from the three-point line, we just weren’t able to convert tonight, but we got to shoot it better obviously … I think we have to execute better defensively throughout the entire game.”
The Beach only connected twice on 13 tries from downtown and were unable to get the ball through the net in the final stretch of the game, leading to unforced errors and easy opportunities for the Lions.
“We have to go through these things to eventually be successful,” Cammon said. “We did a great job in the first half, we didn’t do that great of a job in the second half. We’re still a young team, we’re still learning our identity and how to play together, it’s going to take some time but it’s a long season.”
The Long Beach State women’s basketball team will travel to Berkeley Nov. 29 for the Cal Classic at 3:15 p.m. against Penn State.