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Women's Basketball

No. 5 UC Davis, No. 6 Long Beach State Advance After Dramatic First Round

Files associated with this release:
UCD-UCSB Quotes.pdf
LBSU-CSF Quotes.pdf

Links associated with this release:
2014 Big West Women's Basketball Tournament Page

3/11/2014

The first day of the 2014 Big West Women's Basketball Tournament had a pair of dramatic finishes in the Walter Pyramid as No. 5 UC Davis and No. 6 Long Beach State advanced to tomorrow's quarterfinal round.

Aggies Fend Off Charging Gauchos in First-Round Win

Sophomore Celia Marfone finished with a team high 15 points to lead two other teammates in double figures and fifth-seeded UC Davis withstood a last-gasp charge by UC Santa Barbara to hold off the eighth-seeded Gauchos, 58-57, on Tuesday night in a first-round Big West Conference Tournament game at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.

With her team down one and four seconds left on the clock, Onome Jemerigbe's shot at the buzzer hit off the back iron as time expired to seal the victory for UC Davis, which got the stops they needed down the stretch to even its record at 15-15 overall.

The Aggies advance to face No. 4 UC Irvine in a quarterfinal match-up on Wednesday night at approximately 8:30 p.m. The two teams will meet for the second time in four days after the Anteaters defeated UC Davis, 68-55, at The Pavilion in the regular season finale for both teams on March 8 to clinch a first-roun bye.

UC Santa Barbara, which ended its season at 8-22 overall, shot just under 61 percent in the second half to fuel its rally, coming back from a 19-point first half deficit to almost pull off the upset. Senior Melissa Zornig finished with a game-high 21 points -- 14 of those in the second half -- while Nicole Nesbit and Destini Mason added 16 points apiece, also using huge second halves to help bring the Gauchos back.

Marfone hit 6-of-10 from the floor for the Aggies and grabbed six rebounds in 30 minutes. Sophomore Alyson Doherty finished with 14 points on 5-of-9 from the floor with seven rebounds before leaving the game with just over 11 minutes remaining in the contest due to injury, the extent of which is unknown.

Doherty and teammate Lauren Beyer finished with a game-high seven rebounds.

Junior Sydnee Fipps added 11 points and four rebounds in the win while junior Kelsey Harris finished with nine points on a trio of three-pointers, setting a new UC Davis single-season record with 82 makes from beyond the arc, breaking the previous record of 81 held by Karen Boisvert in 1991.

UC Davis led by as many as 17 points in the second half and led by 12 points with 5:36 to play following a Lauren Beyer free throw before UC Santa Barbara found its second wind. The Gauchos, who used a 13-0 run to close to within four points at 44-40 earlier in the game, found a way back as Zornig hit a jumper off a steal by Jemerigbe to jump-start an 11-0 run -- capped by a steal and a lay-up by Mason -- cutting the Aggies' advantage down to just 56-55 with 1:52 left in the half.

Momentum shifted a bit when Zornig was whistled for an offensive foul following a miss by UC Davis and the Gauchos bench was issued a technical foul, sending Molly Greubel to the line for the free throws, which she promptly sank, to put the Aggies back up three, 58-55, with 1:05 to play.

Another miss on offense gave the ball back to UC Santa Barbara as Nesbit converted on a drive inside, bringing the Gauchos back to within a single point with 33 seconds to play. UC Davis purposly ran out the shot clock on its next possession and left UCSB with four seconds to work with out of a timeout.

The Gauchos got the ball back down the court for Jemerigbe, who released with a little more than a second remaining on the clock, but her attempt was just off the mark as the Aggies survived.

In the first half, UC Davis spotted UC Santa Barbara a five-point lead as the Gauchos came out of the gates quickly, but the Aggies' offense found a spark and began to pull away. A 19-2 run -- eight of those by Doherty -- gave them their largest lead of the half at 21-9 with 8:12 to play and UC Davis finished by scoring nine of the final 12 points in the period to carry a 35-18 lead into the locker room at the break.

The Aggies outrebounded the Gauchos, 38-34, for the game -- including a 12-7 lead on the offensive glass -- and finished with 16 assists on 20 makes. UC Santa Barbara shot 43.1 percent from the field for the game to UC Davis' 35.1 percent.

BOX SCORE

49ers Advance to Big West Tournament Quarterfinals with 64-60 Win Over Fullerton

The sixth-seeded Long Beach State women's basketball team defeated No. 7 seed Cal State Fullerton, 64-60, in the first round of the Big West Tournament Tuesday evening at the Walter Pyramid.

The 49ers, who avenged last year's first-round loss to the Titans, improved to 17-14 overall and will move on to the quarterfinals where they are set to take on third-seeded Hawai'i at 6 p.m.

LBSU shot 43.1 percent from the floor and had another strong showing at the free throw line as it was 12-of-14. Long Beach State also won the battle on the boards, 39-to-29.

Junior Lauren Spargo led the offense, going 4-for-7 from behind the arc and finishing with a game-high 19 points. She also had seven rebounds, while classmate Ella Clark was one shy of a double-double as she had 15 points and nine boards. Freshman Raven Benton contributed 10 points.

Long Beach State raced out to an early 9-2 lead on a Clark jumper and stayed out front until Cal State Fullerton scored eight unanswered to take its first advantage of the night at 15-14 with 8:31 to go. It went back-and-forth over the next minute before LBSU used an 8-0 spurt, capped by a pair of Spargo 3-pointers, to pull ahead, 24-18, at the 5:21 mark.

CSF (12-18) was able to close the gap to one, but the 49ers would not relinquish the lead as they held a 31-28 cushion at the break.

Junior Hallie Meneses started the scoring in the second half with a 3-pointer and Long Beach State proceeded to go on top, 39-32, with 13:30 remaining. LBSU still led by seven at the 8:05 mark, but Cal State Fullerton continued to chip away, using a 19-9 run over the next five minutes to take a 58-55 lead with 3:07 to play.

The Titans held on to the three-point advantage until junior Alex Sanchez's putback made it 60-59. Spargo was then fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws to put the 49ers up, 62-60, with 1:39 to go.

Down by two, CSF had the ball with just under 30 seconds on the clock, but LBSU came up big on the defensive end, forcing a missed jumper with Clark corralling the rebound. She was quickly fouled and made both ends of the one-and-one to seal the 64-60 win.

Kathleen Iwuoha and Chante Miles paced Cal State Fullerton with 14 points each. Miles also had seven of the Titans' 18 steals.

Long Beach State returns to the Walter Pyramid on Wednesday, March 12, when it takes on No. 3 seed Hawai'i in a quarterfinal game at 6 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

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