March 2, 2013
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Sydnee Fipps and Cortney French combined for six three-pointers, scoring 17 and 10 points, respectively, but host Long Beach State used a strong second half to turn back UC Davis 66-54 in a Big West Conference women's basketball game at Walter Pyramid on Saturday afternoon.
UC Davis was hoping to clinch a berth in the Big West Tournament with a win, but fell to 12-16 overall and 7-10 in the conference. The 49ers had four players in double figures, led by Lauren Spargo who had 15. Guard Chantel Dooley had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"I thought our effort was there from start to finish," said Aggie coach Jennifer Gross. "We really played very hard today. Unfortunately, in the second half we went through a couple of stretches when we gave them second and third chances and they were able to capitalize.
"There are a couple of areas we still need to improve but in the locker room afterwards we felt good about putting the work in," she added. "I know it's the final stretch here but our team is 100 percent focused and we're going to do everything we can to put a good stretch run together."
UC Davis, which trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, took a 37-34 lead at the break and then extended it to 39-34 on Fipps' layup with 19 minutes, 16 seconds remaining. However, the 49ers strung together the next 10 points, keyed by three pointers from Ella Clark and Alex Sanchez, taking a 44-39 lead just two minutes later.
Another three-pointer from Clark three minutes after that gave Long Beach State a 49-39 lead as the 49ers built a lead it would not relinquish. Freshman Alyson Doherty broke a nearly seven-minute scoreless streak for UC Davis with a free throw, bringing the deficit to 49-40.
UC Davis fought hard to get close to Long Beach State, getting within 54-49 on a layup from Celia Marfone with five minutes remaining, but that would be as close as the Aggies would get the rest of the way. Long Beach State went 10 for 12 from the line in the final four minutes to help keep the Aggies from getting close.
The first half was a much tighter game. Fipps scored the first bucket of the game, draining the first of her three-pointers in the first half. But the 49ers put together a 16-6 run to take a 16-9 lead six minutes into the game.
The lead stretched to 21-12 midway through the half before UC Davis rallied. Marfone hit a three-pointer, Doherty scored inside, Molly Gruebel hit a pair of free throws, and Shinoda and Fipps hit back-to-back treys as the Aggies returned the favor with a 13-3 surge for a 25-24 lead with 5:39 left before half.
The Aggies enjoyed a trio of five-point leads the rest of the way before taking a 37-34 lead at the break.
Fipps finished with four three-pointers - she had nine in the Aggies' two games this weekend - while adding a team-high tying six rebounds. Marfone also had six boards. Greubel finished with seven points while Shinoda had four steals and three assists.
The Aggies shot just 29.6 percent from the floor in the game, including just 19 percent in the second half.
Devin Hudson added 13 points for the 49ers while Ellar Clark had 10. Long Beach State shot 61 percent in the first half and 41 percent for the game.
UC Davis, which entered the day in seventh place, is still looking to secure one of the eight berths in the Big West Tournament. UC Irvine (5-11) and UC Riverside (4-12) are behind the Aggies after Saturday's play, as is Cal State Fullerton which began the day 5-10 before taking on Cal Poly.
The Aggies will finish the regular season next Saturday, hosting Pacific at 4:45 p.m.