The opening match of the 2020 Big West women’s basketball tournament is between Long Beach State and Cal Poly Tuesday, March 10 at the Walter Pyramid.
The Beach (13-16, 8-8 Big West) split the regular-season series against the Mustangs (9-18, 6-10 Big West). Long Beach scraped by with a 72-69 win the first time the two teams faced off Jan. 9. Cal Poly then avenged its loss, blowing out the Beach 61-41 on Feb. 8.
Long Beach State is riding a two-game win streak heading into the conference tournament. The Beach finished off their season beating two of the top three teams in the Big West, Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis.
The Beach will be led by sophomore guard Justina King. King was named to the All-Big West Second Team after averaging a team-high 13.8 points and 3.3 assists per game. She was also listed on the Big West All-Defensive Team and has averaged 1.75 steals per game.
Long Beach seniors, forwards Cydnee Kinslow and Aaryon Green, and center Chloe Gaynor, will have their last chance to capture the conference tournament trophy. To do so, the bigs must clog the driving lanes and force the Mustangs to shoot them out of the game.
“What we’ve done all year defensively is take the paint away from people and make people take contested threes,” head coach Jeff Cammon said. “If we’re taking the paint away and we’re not putting them on the foul line, you’re going to have to hit 15-20 threes to beat us.”
The Beach has allowed their opponents to shoot 33.6% from beyond the arc. The Big West average from three-point land is 31.2%. Another key factor for the Beach’s defensive identity is its Big West-leading 20.8 turnovers forced per game.
Campisano finished the regular season ranked second in the Big West scoring with 16.9 points per game and fourth in rebounds, securing 8.1 per game. Ellis ended the season sixth in the Big West scoring 14.9 points per game.
Forcing the Mustangs to turn the ball over will be key to the Beach advancing in the tournament.
If Long Beach were to advance to the second round of the tournament, they would be slated to play Hawaii Wednesday, March 11 at the Walter Pyramid at 8:30 p.m.
Long Beach State women’s basketball will play Cal Poly Tuesday, Feb. 10 at the Walter Pyramid.