Sports, Women's Basketball, Women's Sports

Cal Poly pushes Long Beach to elimination in Big West tourney

With no spectators in attendance due to precautionary measures to inhibit the spread of coronavirus, an abysmal shooting performance by the Long Beach State women’s basketball team resulted in a season-ending loss Tuesday, in the Big West tournament against Cal Poly at the Walter Pyramid.

The Beach (13-17, 8-9 Big West) shot 26.9% (18-67) from the field, their worst shooting performance of the season, in the 59-48 loss. Besides a six-point run by senior forward Aaryon Green, Long Beach never seemed to find an offensive rhythm.  

Senior forward Aaryon Green scored six straight points for the Beach in a 59-48 loss to Cal Poly Tuesday, March 10 at the Walter Pyramid. Mark Lindahl/Daily Forty-Niner

“We just could not get it going,” head coach Jeff Cammon said. “A lot of times that tempers momentum. It just puts pressure on you to be perfect on defense when you can’t score.”

Fighting through its offensive struggles, the Long Beach defense forced Cal Poly to turn the ball over 26 times. However, it could not convert its +16 turnover margin into a lead.

Cal Poly’s conference-leading scorers, redshirt junior Sierra Campisano and freshman guard Abbey Ellis, combined for 50 of the Mustangs’ 59 points. 

Campisano led Cal Poly in scoring, finishing the night shooting nine-for-16 with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Ellis complimented Campisano, scoring 20 points to help the team advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

“We definitely came ready to play today,” Campisano said. “We were the underdog. We knew we could beat this team. You know we can beat a lot of teams in this conference. We all came ready to play… everyone played their role perfectly.”

With 3:43 left in the game, redshirt sophomore Ma’Qhi Berry recorded her fifth foul of the game, ending her season on a sour note. Cammon instantly came to Berry’s defense and gave the referee an ear-full after the whistle was blown, resulting in a technical foul and two of Campisano’s 10 points on the free throw line. 

Long Beach State head coach Jeff Cammon is given a technical foul after arguing with the referees as sophomore guard Ma’Qhi Berry’s fouls out. Mark Lindahl/Daily Forty-Niner

Noting that the officiating wasn’t the determining factor for the loss, Cammon, however, was disappointed in how the referees were inconsistent in calling games throughout the season and especially tonight.

“It’s just very inconsistent from one game to the next,” Cammon said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. I’m going to fight for my player. They waited five seconds after the action happened to call the foul. It’s just really frustrating.”

Sophomore guard Justina King once again finished the game leading the Beach with 39 minutes played. King ended her season scoring just nine points on three-for-20 shooting on the night.

“That’s just how basketball is, not every shot is going to go in,” King said. “You have to learn how to play through that. We really just focused on the next play, there’s nothing I can do to get that shot back, so it’s just frustrating.”

Sophomore guard Justina King attempts a contested lay up in a crowd of Cal Poly defenders Tuesday, March 10 at the Walter Pyramid. Mark Lindahl/Daily Forty-Niner

Finishing his third season as head coach, Cammon has improved the Beach’s record every year since taking the helm.

“I applaud our young ladies that continue to push through and try to find a way,” Cammon said. “You know we fought until the end.”

No. 8 Long Beach State men’s basketball will face No. 1 UC Irvine in the Big West Conference tournament quarterfinals Thursday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at the Honda Center.

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