The Long Beach State women’s basketball team was able to hold off UC Riverside in a 73-67 double-overtime victory Thursday at the Walter Pyramid.
Sophomore guard Justina King led the Beach (10-10, 5-2 Big West) with 18 points, scoring two clutch free throws at the end of the first overtime, sending the Beach into the first double overtime under head coach Jeff Cammon. King went on to score half of her points in the second overtime, sealing the Beach’s fourth straight win.
“They are just free throws,” King said. “We practice those every single practice, every single day. At the end of the day those are just free throws, no matter the time or the score, gotta knock them down all the time.”
Long Beach came out strong in the first quarter with a full court press by sophomore guard Ma’Qhi Berry, who finished the game with six steals, adding to her total for the season at 52.
“We wanted to dictate,” Cammon said, “take them out of their comfort zone and make them take rushed shots.”
Riverside (6-14, 2-4 Big West) was able to pass its way out of the Beach’s smothering defense and cut the lead down to four points by the end of the first half.
Although both teams had good looks throughout the game, the ball never bounced the Beach’s way, making the game a lot closer than what it appeared to be.
“There was like a cat on the rim for us,” King said.
Riverside was able to take the lead at the end of the third quarter and maintained it throughout some of the fourth. The Beach shot its way back into the game with three big three-pointers from senior forward Cydnee Kinslow to regain the lead.
With two seconds left on the clock, Highlander redshirt senior guard Jannon Otto stepped up to the line, hitting two free throws and sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, it turned into the King show as she scored 13 of her 18 points in both overtimes.
The Beach will play Hawai’i Feb. 1 at 8:30 p.m at the Stan Sheriff Center.