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Women's Basketball

NCAA Journey Begins in Corvallis For Long Beach State


Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 19


Big West Tournament champion Long Beach State will make its eagerly anticipated return to the NCAA Tournament Friday, heading to Corvallis, Ore., for first round action in the Stockton Regional.

The Beach (23-10) was handed the No. 15 seed in the region and will face No. 2 seed and host Oregon State (29-4) Friday at 2 pm (PT). The 49ers and Beavers will be joined by No. 7 Creighton and No. 10 Toledo at Gill Coliseum, with the two winners meeting Sunday for a berth in the Sweet 16 in Stockton, Calif.

LBSU is making its first NCAA appearance since 1992 and has its first automatic berth into the NCAAs since 1991. The Beach qualified for the NCAA Tournament last Saturday with a thrilling 56-55 win over UC Santa Barbara. The Beach is the Big West active leader in NCAA Tournament victories (11) and own both of the league's Final Four appearances. LBSU has a bit of history with one of the teams in Corvallis as the club's last NCAA Tournament game came against Creighton...a first round loss by a 79-66 final. The 49ers last NCAA Tournament win also came against a current Pac-12 member as the club defeated USC, 83-58, in first round action back in 1991.

OSU earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection. The Beavers won the Pac-12 regular season title and fell in the Pac-12 Tournament final to Stanford. The club is led by Sydney Wiese (15.7 ppg, 100 3FGM, 45.9% 3FG%) and Marie Gulich (10.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and is also seeking its second straight 30-win season.


CSUN sophomore center Channon Fluker completed one of the rarest feats in Big West history this season. Fluker became the second player ever to lead the league in scoring (18.0), rebounding (12.0) and blocks (2.3). The only other player to  lead the league in all three categories was Cal State Fullerton great Genia Miller, who averaged 29.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.4 blocks in the 1990-91 season.

Long Beach State is finally returning to the NCAA Tournament, gaining entry into the tourney for the first time since 1992. The Beach also won its first Big West Tournament title since 1991, which was also the last season the club won a game in the Tournament. Back then the 49ers defeated Creighton, which happens to also be in the same quartet as LBSU this time around. LBSU and the Blue Jays will be joined by Toledo and host Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., for first and second round play.

UC Davis earned an automatic berth to the WNIT by virtue of its regular season title, the first time since 2012 that the Aggies will participate in a postseason tourney. UCD is seeking its first postseason win in its program DI history, having gone 0-1 in the NCAA Tournament and 0-3 in the WNIT.

Long Beach State has won 20 games in each of the last three seasons, the longest string for the program since a seven-year run of 20-win seasons from 1985-86 to 1991-92. This recent run has included back-to-back semifinal appearances in the Big West Tournament, the first time the program has made consecutive showings in the round since a nine-year run from 1999-2007.

The top four seeds made the semifinals in back-to-back years at the Big West Tournament, an oddity as this is the first time its happened since 2002-03.

Long Beach State earned a fair share of hardware following the regular season as the senior trio of Jewelyn Sawyer won Defensive Player of the Year, Raven Benton Best Sixth Player and Anna Kim Best Hustle. It marks the first time in conference history that one school swept all three of those awards in a single season.

UC Irvine sophomore Andee Ritter closed out her season in style as she recorded five threes in the Anteaters’ loss to UC Riverside. The five threes gave her 87 for the season, placing her sixth in Big West single season history. Ritter shattered the previous UCI best of 64, a record that had stood for nearly 30 years.

UC Davis’ Jennifer Gross won the 100th game in her career in the last week of the regular season, making her the 14th coach in Big West history to reach that number. UC Riverside’s win in the first round of the Big West Tournament gave John Margariits win no. 200, making him one of four coaches all-time to reach that number. Next season the focus will be on Cal Poly’s Faith Mimnaugh (276) as she is one win away from second place on the league’s all-time chart.

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