Nov. 15, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - The LMU women's basketball team got a monkey off its back Thursday night, earning its first win under first-year head coach Charity Elliott with a 58-52 win over visiting Long Beach State.
Alex Cowling led the Lions (1-2) with 14 points while Mackenzie Kerins chipped in a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards. Hazel Ramirez came just shy of a triple-double, finishing the night with eight points, nine assists and seven steals. The nine assists matched her career-high while the seven steals is a record for the junior point guard.
It was the Lions' defense and rebounding that truly sparked the victory, as they collected 16 steals while forcing 24 total Long Beach State turnovers. LMU was also relentless on the boards, finishing with 21 offensive rebounds.
The 49ers led just once, opening the game with a Chantel Dooley jumper. LMU responded with six straight points on buckets by Alexis Love, Ramirez and Kerins to take a 6-2 lead at the 18-minute mark. The Lions led by as many as nine in the first period and eventually took a 31-24 lead into the break.
Long Beach State opened the second period with a Mary Ochiltree three and this time LMU responded with an 18-6 run, claiming their largest lead of the game, 49-33, with 12:04 remaining.
A late 49er run, including back-to-back baskets by Bianka Balthazar and Alex Sanchez cut the spread to three, 55-52 with one minute remaining, but the Lions sank three free throws down the stretch to seal the six-point victory.
Balthazar was the lone 49er to reach double-digit scoring, finishing with 14 points. Sanchez added a team-high nine boards.
The Lions are back in action in Gersten Pavilion on Saturday, hosting Utah State at 2 p.m.