Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Erin Jones-Wesley Fourpeats as Big West Pitcher of the Week

Erin Jones-Wesley was honored by the Big West Conference again as she earned the title of Co-Pitcher of the week. Jones-Wesley had two wins and one save for the week of March 21. She beat Ohio and Canisus in her outstanding shut-out performances.

This is Erin’s fourth conference honor of the year, as she has been incredibly dominant to date. She is in great company other famous fourpeats:

Fellow pitcher Greg Maddux won the National League Cy Young award four times in a row from 1992-1995.

Competitive eater Joey Chesnut won this fourth Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4, 2010 and seeks to expand upon his championship run.

The Yankees created a dynasty with Joe DiMaggio in centerfield and won four championships between 1936-1939.

There have also been some truly famous foursomes.

The fab four- The Beatles: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Star- come to mind first.

There are also four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Rafael, and Donatello.

Clearly, four is an impressive number, but this week Erin strives to best her own record as she aims for five straight Big West Pitcher of the Week awards. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Even more Big West Athletes of the Week honored

So many Big West honors, such little time! Coriann Snyder and Klaudia Malenovska were the latest 49ers to garner conference recognition this past week.

Snyder, a freshman 2-Meter helped lead the 49ers to a 3-1 record at the LMU Invitational this past weekend.

No. 10 Long Beach State played four matches at the LMU Invitational, but Snyder was at her best when the team needed it the most, in a win over No. 18 Princeton and a near-upset of the host Lions, ranked No. 6 in the nation.

In the first match of the weekend against the Tigers, Snyder scored a pair of goals as the 49ers defeated Princeton 7-5. The freshman from Porterville, Calif., also scored a pair of goals as No. 10 Long Beach State nearly toppled No. 6 LMU on the road, losing 5-4, leading all scorers. In blowout wins over Sonoma State and CS San Bernardino, Snyder scored an additional goal while the 49ers primarily went to the bench throughout the second half of each contest.

Sophomore Malenovska earned Big West recognition after completing her first full week of competition, and won four matches for Long Beach State as the 49ers defeated Louisville before getting nipped by No. 30 Pepperdine 4-3.

Malenovska remained unbeaten in singles play, improving to 4-0 by winning two matches at No. 2 singles. First, Malenovska defeated Louisville's Mandy Brown 6-0, 6-3, before taking down Pepperdine's Ale Granillo 6-3, 6-4.

Malenovska also paired with Anais Dallara to win twice in doubles against both teams, helping the 49ers win the doubles point in each of their matches last weekend. The pair topped Fellerhoff/Shine of Louisville 8-5 before clinching a 2-1 doubles win against Pepperdine with a win over Issara/Zalameda 8-6.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Big West Track and Field Athletes of the week (3/21/2011)

For back to back weeks, Colin Dunbar and Tara Ross were named the men's and women's Big West Field Athletes of the Week the conference office announced Wednesday afternoon.

At the USC Invitational last Friday, Dunbar finished third overall in the hammer throw with a lifetime-best 213-06. That mark also ranks him third in school history. The following day, Dunbar competed in the shot put, discus and javelin at the Aztec Invitational. The Santa Barbara, Calif., native notched a runner-up performance in the shot put with a personal-record 54-05.50, while placing 12th in the javelin (159-00) and 13th in the discus (149-00).

Ross, meanwhile, was Long Beach State's top finisher in the women's javelin at the Aztec Invitational as she took second with a season-best 160-00. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native now ranks fourth on the 49er all-time charts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big West Pitcher of the Week: Erin Jones-Wesley 3-21-2011

Freshman phenom Erin Jones-Wesley continues to roll, as she picked up her third Big West Pitcher of the week award following a week of going 2-0 with an 0.47 ERA for the 49ers last week, including throwing a one-hitter in a 1-0 win over Illinois.

Here is a video interview with the young pitcher following another complete game shutout that she handed the Ohio Bobcats on March 23 in mid week action.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dirtbags vs. Oregon State Beavers (3.19.11)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Live Blog: Dirtbags vs. Oregon State 3/18/11

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Athlete of the Week: Deborah Armstrong

Long Beach State senior, Deborah Armstrong, won her second Student-Athlete of the Week honor on the season as she won her 174th career match (against Colombia), making her the school’s all-time leader in victories.

Armstrong is a finance major, originally from England, who has been recognized with numerous accolades on the court since High School. Her High School World Junior ranking was 238, and she competed in 2006 Wimbledon Junior Championship. She has continued to impress since setting foot on the Long Beach State campus where she has received Big West honors every season.

Deborah came into the season 30 wins behind Hannah Grady for the all time combined (singles and doubles) category. Deborah has lead the Women’s team to an impressive 10-3 record on the season, while accumulating her own fantastic statistics and leaving her mark on school history by besting Grady’s record with 9 schools left to face this season.

During her interview with the Black and Gold Insider last month Deborah stated, “to bleed black and gold is to fight for every game and stay out on the court as long as it takes.” This past week’s performance proves that she will continue to do just that, while setting school records.

Friday, March 11, 2011

BWT Live Game Blog: Long Beach State vs. UCR 3/11/2011

Live updates from court side at the Honda Center (Anaheim, Calif.)

We're back in Anaheim, with hopefully all the cramps worked out of Casper Ware's calf, for the No. 1 seed Long Beach State 49ers will look to return to the Big West Tournament Championship game for the second time in two years. Standing in their way are the UC Riverside Highlanders, who will face off with LBSU for the third time in the last 30 days.

The previous two meetings were won by Long Beach State, but both games Long Beach built early leads and then tried to coast to victory, which UCR would have none of. In a March 2 contest at UCR LB led by as much as 19, but an unresponsive defense from The Beach allowed the Highlanders to pull within one in the final minutes before the Niners were able to pull away with a 82 - 76 victory.

Yesterday, UCR defeated No. 2 seed Cal Poly in over time, the Highlanders were led by

Keys to the game
Play 40 minutes of 49er basketball. Long Beach came out way too anxious yesterday. And while that helped on the defensive end, it made running any semblance of offense difficult. With a victory under their belt, LBSU needs to come out ready to play today, but that aggression needs to be refined and controlled. Long Beach controlling the tempo is key. Especially after UCR comes off an emotional and exhausting overtime game, if LBSU can run on them it will be huge.

In yesterday's quarterfinal game, it seemed Long Beach could not clear a rebound when it needed to most. UCI hit the offensive glass hard, and LBSU will need to severely limit those boards by the Highlanders. Getting a defensive rebound out quickly gives Ware, and Larry Anderson time to operate in the front court, and when a defense is not set, they are tough to contain.

Defensive intensity.
In the last meeting with UCR, Long Beach's defense was pretty lackadaisical. Instead of trying to get stops on the Highlanders, LBSU seemed pretty content to just try and score more points than their opponent, which ended up working, but is not the key to Long Beach success. Defensive stops and transition points are what the 49ers need to do to dominate this game. Would be interesting to see what would happen with a bit of full court press against the Highlanders, who average 14 turnovers per game.

20 minutes til tip
The Maniacs rode in on seven buses. And slowly they are all filling in, the one section relegated to the Long Beach Students can barely contain them all, and I know there are more coming. The crowd to this point is certainly in favor of the 49ers. Even the Carrot Top and Zach Galifianakis big heads made the trip.

Starting lineups

There are even more Maniacs here. Almost too many, there was some confusion which seats to occupy because the main student section is already full. The Long Beach students have really made this a home away from home. If the 49ers can get going early this crowd will get real loud.

Casper gives a pump up to the Maniacs and we're ready to rock.

UCR: Borum, Nioto, Martin, Bradshaw, Shearry
LBSU: Usual suspects; Ware, Plater, Anderson, Robinson, Phelps 

17:09 left in first half LBSU 9 - UCR 0
Greg Plater starts the game off with a triple in the corner.

LBSU defense forces a bad shot and Larry leads a fast break and-1.

The bench is jacked up. The students are jacked up. And after T.J. spins in the lane for an easy bucket, Jim Woolridge needs a timeout. 9-0 to start the game.

15:27 left in first half LBSU 14 - UCR 0
Maybe a little too anxious. Casper gets a steal but is called for an offensive foul.

But then T.J. makes a highlight reel bucket plus the foul. Robinson is fouled again heading to the rack and he'll shoot free throws after the media.

The energy on the Long Beach side of things is pretty incredible right now. We'll see how long LBSU can keep this shutout going.

11:22 left in first half LBSU 24 - UCR 10
UCR finally cracks the scoreboard with a three by Borum. And then Martin adds another three.

Martin gets a big dunk, but hangs on the rim, gets a technical and then has to be helped off the court. Talk about adding insult to injury...

In the 'Who has the yellowest shoes battle' Brandon Nevens may have one upped Larry Anderson tonight. Brandon may have wore out a few highlighters.

Plater hits his second three coming off a curl. And then another. Plater has nine early points, naturally all on threes.

What a spark Brandon Nevens is, he got a steal and breakaway layup, and then went for a steal and threw the ball off a UCR defender making it Long Beach ball after the break.

7:05 left in first half LBSU 26 - UCR 18
Casper picks up his second foul and has to head to the bench, not as big of a deal when you're already up 14. Long Beach just needs to play within themselves and they should be OK.

The camera man under our basket is getting abused, one ball landed right on top of his head, and then another just hit off his camera

UCR has cut it ten and now eight. And Monson wants timeout. The focus that there early for the Niners has dissipated a bit.

3:49 left in first half LBSU 31 - UCR 22
After the timeout, Ware checks back in and is fouled attacking the basket, sinking both free throws.

It was almost a blown defensive assignment by Plater, but it ended up being a steal for Greg, fast break and three point play for T.J. Robinson.

Half-time LBSU 40 - UCR 28
Wooldridge just got T'd up. He has a lot to be upset about, but I think his latest gripe was an offensive foul call. And Greg sinks both the free throws.

Borum drills another three, he leads the highlanders with 11.

After an airball by UCR, LBSU holds for the last shot, and Anderson drains a three for the corner and gives a salute to the Maniacs and we're at the half.

Half-time stats
For the second straight day, the free throw line is the big difference for Long Beach State. Riverside only shot two free throws. The Niners shot 17, connecting on 14.

Both teams end up shooting an identical 11-26 from the field (42.3 percent). Long Beach was 4-9 on threes, UCR 5-9.

Robinson and Plater each have eleven points to pace the 49ers. Long Beach has the edge on rebounds, with 18 total to UCR's 12. Seven of those board for LB were offensive.

Long Beach came out about as hot as possible, but then calmed down considerably, mostly trading baskets with UCR. That said, Long Beach is still up 12.

17:10 left in second half LBSU 45 - UCR 30
Nice give and go by Larry and Greg creates a seperation three for Plater. A steal and finish by Anderson and UCR wants timeout.

15:51 left in second half LBSU 50 - UCR 32
After an airball by the Highlanders, Cas hits a transition three, for his first shot from downtown. If you had told Long Beach fans Ware would only have seven points to this point, not many would have guessed The Beach would be up by 18. LBSU's balanced scoring really shining tonight.

11:31 left in second half LBSU 56 - UCR 36
Greg Plater has done a nice job locking up Borum, he had 13 first half points, and is yet to score in the second period.

Casper knifes through the defense and feeds Larry for a reverse layup. And that queues the 'Up By 20' chant by the Maniacs.

9:03 left in second half LBSU 56 - UCR 42
UCR is really being stiflied on defense, and they have been completely relegated to shooting outside jumpers.

Casper having an uncharacteristically rough night at the line, he's 4-8.

Those jumpers start to fall a bit more for UCR, they are on a 6-0 run and Coach Monson wants time.

6:24 left in second half LBSU 59 - UCR 49
Larry drills another three giving him 17 for the game.

A dunk by Brown and the lead is cut to 10.

3:52 left in second half LBSU 62 - UCR 51
Greg hits a big three in front of the bench to stop a UCR run.

Shearry fouls out after hitting Anderson on a runner. Under 4 minute media.

2:13 left in second half LBSU 64 - UCR 58
Nitoto misses a free throw, but UCR ends up getting the offensive rebound. The energy that Long Beach had early isn't there, and the highlanders cut the lead to eight. And now six. Monson calls time.

Pretty similar to what happened at Riverside a few weeks ago, Long Beach was up big and sort of took their foot off the gas pedal. They need a solid two minutes here to finish this game off.

1:32 left in second half LBSU 67 - UCR 60
Casper hits a three from the corner but is matched by a Riverside jumper.

58.4 seconds left in second half LBSU 69 - UCR 61
Ware sinks a pair of free throws and then pulls down a defensive board, forcing Riverside to begin fouling, but Larry misses the one and one, and then commits a foul on the other end. Riverside hits the first free throw and then calls timeout.

38 seconds left in second half LBSU 69 - UCR 63
LBSU not doing themselves any favors to ice this game by missing free throws, Phelps missed both.

And then Casper picks up a foul on the other end. Luckily Martin has missed his last three as well.

Now T.J. picks up a foul going for a rebound. Will this one ever end?

21.2 seconds left in second half LBSU 74 - UCR 63
Borum still can't crack the scoreboard in the second half, missing a jumper and then fouling Casper. Larry the latest to be fouled. This should just about do it.

The fans rise and cheer as Larry holds the ball to run the clock out. We'll see you tomorrow night in the championship game!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

BWT Live Game Blog: Long Beach State vs. UCI 3/10/2011

Live updates from court side at the Honda Center (Anaheim, Calif.)

Well, Beach fans, here we go. For all intents and purposes, the 14-2 season that Long Beach State compiled over the last three months has been set aside, and though that success has earned them a shiny 'number 1' next to their name, they will still have to battle their way through the trenches if they want to cut down the nets in Anaheim and head to the Big Dance.

The first step toward that goal is a match up with the UC Irvine Anteaters, who, though they are the number eight seed, are one of two teams who beat the 49ers during the regular season, and were in fact the last team to beat Long Beach State. That game, Jan. 22 in Irvine, saw LBSU's defensive intensity fly out the window, and the 'Eaters' big three of Wise, Wilder and Moore score 66 of UCI's 86 points.

Since that game, Long Beach's defense has been on point, holding opponents to 61.3 points per game and a 40.4 shooting percentage. And defense is what the 49ers need to concentrate on to push their win streak to 10 games and keep their season going.

Keys to the game
Be ready to rock. Early game. Number 1 seed against the number 8 seed. Most likely a smaller crowd because of game time and day in the week. There are a lot of excuses as to why Long Beach State could come out flat. But they really can't afford to. Not that the player's don't know this, but one loss or slip up and the season is over, and they need to play 40 minutes of basketball with that intensity. The first time LBSU and UCI met, Long Beach had to over come a 22-7 deficit on the way to an 86-76 victory. There is no room for that kind of start in an elimination tournament. An early lead is pivotal for The Beach.

Lock down Wise. Eric Wise is a load in the lane for the 'Eaters. And Long Beach has to be careful when they double him, because many UCI players are spot up three point shooters. T.J. Robinson and Eugene Phelps need to play smart defense on Wise, and keep him off the offensive glass. Taking him out of an offensive flow early will be key for Long Beach, and that means active help from the guards as well disrupting his post presence. If Wise is contained, the Long Beach defense will be off to a good start.

Transition points. This directly correlates with defense, but Long Beach State is at its best when they are not only getting defensive stops, but forcing steals and turnovers and getting baskets in transition. When LBSU can get going on all cylinders, they are pretty tough to stop, and a lot of times, those runs will be made with very little in the half court. When Casper Ware is leading the charge, hitting pull up threes, and taking the ball to the rack, this team is going to be successful. The 49ers needs to get in that type of offensive flow to distance themselves from UCI.

5 minutes til tip
Crowd is starting to file in. The Maniacs rode in on three busses and are filling up a decent section on the far end away from where I am. Most of the Long Beach media is under the basket where the 49er bench is, so we'll have a good look at Long Beach defense in the first half, and offense in the second.

What an upgrade this venue is, very nice video board which looks like it will be showing replays. Both bands are fired up. This should be a good one.

Starting lineups:

UCI: Moore, Rembert, Starring, Losonsky, Wise
LBSU: Same lineup since day one: Ware, Plater, Anderson, Robinson, Phelps 

15:34 left in second half LBSU 2 - UCI 6
Irvine rips 5 early points, but Larry Anderson answers with a dunk in the lane.

Rembert has been aggressive attacking the lane early, but hasn't gotten much out of it.

Casper has taken a few quick threes but hasn't connected yet.

And Larry has just picked up his second personal foul. This is not quite the start Long Beach wanted.

12:26 left in first half LBSU 4 - UCI 13
Plater is fouled shooting a jumper and sinks both his shots at the line.

Game has a bit of a sluggish feel, neither team being successful on the offensive end. Long Beach finally turns up the defensive pressure a bit and forces a bad jumper at the end of the shot clock.

Again, Long Beach able to force a tough shot, with Eric Wise air balling a three, that's not his game. D coming around, but Long beach needs to put the ball in the net.

Moore drills a three after Long Beach doesn't get back on D. This start is eerily similar to when the two teams met at the Pyramid. Irvine is knocking down their shots and containing the drives of LBSU.

11:53 left in first half LBSU 7 - UCI 13
Larry Anderson is back in with his two fouls, and promptly drains a three. After Edis gets called for his second foul, we're at the under 12 media.

7:47 left in first half LBSU 15 - UCI 17
T.J. heads to the rack and is fouled, picking up the second on Wilder.

Darren Moore picks up his second foul, so he has to head to the bench as well.

The last three possessions T.J. has went hard to the rim and been fouled, he split his free throws the first two trips, and picks them both up on his third trip.

Well, if you can't make a shot, might as well head to the charity stripe to pick up your points. This time it's Casper Ware who is fouled and sinks both the freebies.

Just about everything UCI is doing is being called as a foul. Starring already has three personals.

A Nevens layup briefly tied the score at 15, but a putback by Simek gives UCI the lead again.

2:21 left in first half LBSU 27 - UCI 24
Long Beach has only made three field goal thus far, they are really surviving by some solid free throw shooting. Both teams have been called for a ton of fouls. It's at the least 18, and I think Long Beach has been in the double bonus for a while.

Phelps ends the field goal drought with a runner in the lane, Gene has been playing some solid defense on Wise.

And maybe Gene took the lid off, Casper just drained a three. And another.

Phelps just took a huge charge on Wise, with the 'Eater big man picking up his third foul in the first half.

3.3 second left LBSU 30 - UCI 29
Casper drilled another three, but Rembert answered with his own.

Long Beach holds for the last shot of the half, but Casper slipped on a pass from Plater and the ball sailed out of bounds. UCI calls timeout with 3.3 to go

Half-time LBSU 30 - 29
No miracle half-court shot and we're at the half.

UCI ends the half on a 5-0 run to pull within one point at half.

Half-time stats
Neither team could get much going offensively, Long Beach connected on only seven first half field goals, shooting only 31 percent. Irvine made nine field goals on 31 attempts, for a 29 percent first half mark. One factor that might be considered is that neither of these teams have shot in this gym, maybe that plus a bit of nervousness led to a sloppy half.

Long Beach had nine turnovers, something they will really need to limit in the second half.

LBSU really survived by converting at the line, they were 12-14 at the stripe. Those free throws were crucial when they were having difficulty putting the ball in the hoops, which was a majority of the half save for Casper's three point hot streak. Ware leads all scorers with 11, but he needed 11 shots to get those points.

14:58 left in second half LBSU 38 - UCI 37
After Wise is forced in to a turnover, Casper hits a transition three to start the second half.

With the amount of fouls Irvine racked up in the first half, Long Beach continues to attack the rim, Losonsky picks up his fourth foul.

Long Beach has put Casper on Darren Moore, and Ware is giving up a few inches on the bigger Irvine guard. Interesting to see how that match up shakes out.

12:19 left in second half LBSU 42 - UCI 46
UCI picks up three big offensive boards and eventually hits a three to take the lead.

Pace of the game has really picked up, with both teams trading baskets now.

Eric Wise with some nice moves early in the second half, and he makes sure the Long Beach bench knows it as she shoots a glare at the 49ers after pretty much every play.

10:35 left in second half LBSU 47 - UCI 46
Greg picks a good time to drain his first three, and after a stop on the defensive end, Edis feeds Larry for a nice layup.

UCI tries to slow down the tempo, but Long Beach ends up forcing a shot clock violation.

8:48 left in second half LBSU 47 - UCI 51
Irvine uses a few jumpers to go on a 5-0. Monson timeout.

6:46 left in second half LBSU 54 - UCI 57
Irvine is draining their threes this is really what Long Beach does not need.

Casper able to answer with a three of his own to stop the bleeding.

3:57 left in second half LBSU 62 - UCI 61
T.J. drives again and picks up Wise's fourth foul. Splitting the free throws.

Larry decides its go time and heads to straight to the hole, not sure anyone could defend that move.

Fouls becoming an issue for UCI, Wilder has four, Wise has four, Losonsky has four. Robinson again splits the free throws.

As fast as I can type, Losonsky fouls out.

Wise is back in and will shoot free throws after the media.

2:12 left in second half LBSU 67 - UCI 63
Ware hits a three, but then cramps up big time. Lin Chang and Mike Vantrimpont have to carry him off the court. Long Beach needs him back ASAP or sooner.

Wilder just fouled out. And Gene knocks down both free throws.

Greg with a clutch steal and gets fouled on the breakaway. UCI wants timeout.

1:20 left in second half LBSU 72 - UCI 68
Casper checks back in after Eric Wise hits a big and-1.

Just about every trip down the court is a foul, this time Rembert is fouled by Edis and heads to the line.

Gene goes hard to the rack and scores. This is getting serious here ladies and gents.

39.7 seconds left in second half LBSU 74 - UCI 72
Wise hits a jumper in the lane, and Casper answers. And then Wise hits another. Quick timeout by the Eaters.

30 seconds left LBSU 77 - UCI 72
Irvine hesitated to foul Phelps when they had the chance, he fed Casper and Cas fed Larry for the and-1

Larry with a HUGE STEAL and gets fouled sinking both shots. After a missed three and rebound Long Beach able to run the clock out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Big West Tournament Prep

It's the day before the big test and the Black and Gold Insider is here to give you a crash course in Big West Tourney 101. Crack the notebooks, let's get this.

Basic information
I wasn't kidding about that 'crash course' line. The Big West Tournament (BWT) is the post-season tournament used by the Big West conference to determine who will receive an automatic bid to the 68 team NCAA Tournament. The BW tourney is held over three days at The Honda Center in Anaheim.

With Long Beach State finishing in first place during the regular season, the 49ers have locked up the number one overall seed in the tournament. This year, the BWT returns to a traditional eight team format, with no teams receiving byes. Thus, the winning team will have to win three games over three days. Losing one game eliminates a team from the tournament.

With the number one seed, each round Long Beach will face off with the lowest remaining seed. The number one seed also gives LBSU game times that afford them the most time off in between games.

Based on league results, the opening round match ups for tomorrow have already been determined. Long Beach State will face the No. 8 seed UC Irvine at Noon. For complete brackets, refer to the Big West's website

If Long Beach State wins on Thursday, their next game will be on Friday at 6:30 p.m. against the lowest remaining seed after the completion of the first round (televised on ESPNU)

If the Niners win on Friday, they will play in the championship game on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. (televised on ESPN2)

Student tickets
Students have two options for tickets to the game. The first is to sign up for the bus trips that will bring students directly to the Honda Center prior to each Long Beach State game. Bus riders will receive a game ticket, food and drink (while supplies lasts) and a tournament takeover shirt. Best of all, it's free! A $5 deposit is required at sign-up, but students will get their money back upon arrival at the bus. Bus' will depart promptly at the following times from in front of the Pyramid:

Thursday: 10:30 a.m.
Friday: 4:45 p.m.
Saturday: 3:00 p.m.

Students can sign up for the bus trips at the Pyramid Box Office and at the Beach Pride Center in the University Student Union.

Students who can't make the bus trips still have free tickets available to them, just bring your LBSU student ID card to the Honda Center box office.

Non-student tickets
All other tickets for the Big West Tournament can be purchased through Ticket Master

Here's a BWT preview video that Gazettes Sports put together


Monday, March 7, 2011

Big West Conference Basketball Awards Wrapup

The Long Beach State men's and women's basketball teams may need to take out some additional trophy space in the Pyramid to show off all the hardware they took home today as the Big West Conference announced their end of the season awards today.

Women's hoops
A sensational senior and freshman phenom of the LBSU women's basketball both captured accolades for the 49ers.

Courtney Jacob was named Best Hustle Player in the Big West Conference as well as being named second team All-Big West. Jacob averaged a team leading 14.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game along with winning back-to-back BW Player of the Week honors.

Brandi Henton was chosen as the Big West Freshman of the year, as she averaged 14.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest in Big West play. Henton is just the second player in LBSU history to be named BW Freshman of the year, and was also named to the Big West All-Freshmen team.

Men's hoops
LBSU men's basketball will be carrying the number one seed this week in to the Big West Conference tournament in Anaheim, and all five starters that will take the court for the 49ers were recognized by the Big West, with Casper Ware leading the charge earning Player of the Year honors as well as Defensive Player of the Year, the first time a player has ever won both of those awards.

Ware, a junior point guard, averaged 16.9 ppg, while handing out a season total of 141 assists and 53 steals, he was second on the team in 3-pointers made with 61. While leading the team in scoring, and running the offense, Ware was often also tasked with guarding the opponents best guard, and he and his squad turned in many strong defensive efforts, including holding Big West foes under 60 points seven different times.

Ware joins junior guard Larry Anderson as first-team All-Big West Selections. This marks the second time Anderson was named to the first-team. Anderson averaged 14.3 points and 6.0 rebounds, even more impressive considering he suffered a broken hand that sidelined him for several weeks.

T.J. Robinson was named second team All-Big West after averaging a double-double for the second consecutive year. Robinson finished with averages of 13.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

Rounding out the all-conference selections were Eugene Phelps and Greg Plater, both selected BW Honorable Mention. Plater led the league in three pointers made with 85 3-pointers made on the season. Phelps averaged 10.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and finished fifth in blocked shots.

And last, but certainly not least, head coach Dan Monson takes home his first Big West Coach of the Year Honor for leading the 49ers to a 20-10 record, including 14-2 in Big West Play.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Live Blog: Men's Basketball vs. UC Riverside 3/2/2011

Live updates from UC Riverside (Riverside, California)

Welcome to March.  It's the regular season finale... the #1-seed is locked up ... the buzz is at an all-time high for this Long Beach State team... time to rest the starters and the legs heading into the tournament, right?  Wrong. 
"We don't want to go into that tournament with any lack of confidence or any lack of sharpness," said head Coach Dan Monson "So we're going to go to UC Riverside and play like we do every game."
Even though the 49ers have proven their strength by parading through the Big West schedule this season - other than two minor hiccups at CS Fullerton and UC Irvine in consecutive January games - tonight's game has plenty of implications. 
UC Riverside is one of three teams battling to capture the two final spots for next week's Big West Tournament in Anaheim at the Honda Center and there are many things at stake for both teams....
1) Long Beach State could potentially play UC Riverside in 8 days when the teams take the court in Anaheim for Round 1 (if UCR makes the show).  The Beach needs a solid game so it doesn't give the Highlanders ANY hope heading into that potential #1 vs. #8 match-up. 

2) RPI (courtesy of Tracy McDannald - Daily 49er) - The NCAA selection committee looks at a team's entire résumé — "quality" wins, "bad" losses, Ratings Percentage Index — when determining its seed for the 68-team NCAA Tournament.

RPI helps compare teams from different conferences using a formula that takes into account a team's winning percentage and strength of schedule.

Now, granted, the 49ers still have to win the conference tournament to receive an automatic bid into the Big Dance. But even the most meaningless of regular-season losses — see, Loyola Marymount in late November — could make a difference between a No. 15 seed and a No. 14 seed.

Should LBSU run the table between now and the Big West Tournament finals, that will give the team a 12-game winning streak heading into Selection Sunday and give the committee a reason to think a little.

And if Monson's track record of not settling means anything, then the fourth-year head coach could be looking at the big NCAA Tournament picture to put his team in the best position possible. After all, that is why he scheduled Top 25-caliber nonconference opponents the past two seasons.

To read Tracy's entire article on the implications of tonight's game, CLICK HERE
Keys to the game

Run.  Run.  Run.  Don't lose the edge.  The 49ers are peaking at the right time, and without putting the cart before the horse, need to continue to ride the style of play that got them to this finale with just two blemishes.  They can really send a message to the rest of the conference tonight by finishing in style.

Speaking of the Horse... Soon-to-be Big West Player of the Year, Casper Ware, has led this team all year long... scoring, distributing, leading.  The friendly guard needs to continue pushing the envelope and sharpening his team's game if they're going to be flawless for 3 days next week.  One game at a time.

Conference Awards Update... The all-conference performers and player of the year will be announced by the Big West on Monday... stay tuned for a list full of 49ers as Casper, LAX, TJ, Eugene and GP3 all look to reap the benefits of a solid regular season campaign.

Starting lineups
LBSU: no changes... we'll go with nicknames tonight in spirit of the regular season finale: The Friendly Guard, GP3, LAX, Double-Double, Young Eugene

UC Riverside: Javon Borum, Kareem Nitoto, Phil Martin, Kevin Bradshaw, BJ Shearry

Game Note: Long Beach State fans outnumber UC Riverside fans thanks to a busload of Maniacs who made the trip... pro-49er crowd tonight! 

Game Note... again: The UC Riverside sound system continues to play 'Black & Yellow' during warm-ups... should make our guys feel right at home.  Somebody at UCR wasn't paying attention to the song choice...

15:52 left in the 1st Half... LBSU leads 8-5
Treys by Larry and Phelps give the Beach an early lead.

7:42 left in the 1st Half... LBSU leads 32-16Greg Plater is playing on fire... he's torched the net on 3 of 4 treys, including 3 from the charity stripe after being fouled from beyond the arc.  TJ is pounding the glass as the 49ers are winning the battle on the boards in dominating fashion.  Casper hasn't scored a basket yet and the 49ers have opened up a commanding lead.

Not so much luck for Phelps from beyond the arc after his first successful trey... Coach Monson called a timeout to give Gene an earfull after two attempts that weren't near as glorious.

Halftime... LBSU leads 44-35
It was an ugly final 7 minutes for the 49ers as the Highlanders used some shooting from 3-point land to climb back within 9.  Greg Plater was the star of the 1st half for LBSU with the hot hand from outside.  Plater leads all scorers with 15 points on 4-5 shooting from three-point land.  TJ is already approaching a double-double with 9 points, 7 rebounds.  Larry Anderson has 6 after spending 9 minutes on the bench in the first half due to foul trouble. 

LBSU is 2-7 from the charity stripe after a perfect 9-9 start.  They shot 53% from beyond the arc, but only 41% from the field. 

UC Riverside has not led. 

16:42 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 54-39
UCR starts the 2nd half in a 2-3 zone defense to try and slow down Greg Plater from downtown... so far so good - Plater is 0-2 from three-point land.  TJ converts a traditional 3-point play with a bucket AND THE FOUL to start the half. 

Right on cue... as I type... Plater drills another from downtown.  18 points total from GP3.

12:43 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 58-50
LBSU has caught a case of the turnovers... resulting in several UCR transition dunks, a three and one more thunderous slam.  Time for someone to take this game over and stop the bleeding...

7:41 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU leads 65-60
...still bleeding.  The Highlanders have made this a game... once down 19 in the first half, the 49er lead has been cut to one hand - five.  This one should go down to the wire.

6:09 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU 67-64
Plater slips and goes down ... HARD.  Scary moment for the 49ers as the game is stopped.  This is one of many times that players have slipped on the court here tonight at the Student Recreation Center at UCR... the UCR radio guy just said that 'wetness on the floor has been a problem at this facility the past few weeks...'

...with a comment like that... how about we FIX THE WETNESS???

3:04 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU 72-71
Quick three in the corner for UCR as the shot clock winds down cuts the LBSU lead to 1.  Barnburner. 

1:27 left in the 2nd Half... LBSU 76-71
Foul trouble for the 49ers... 4 for LAX... 3 for TJ... 3 for Casper... 3 for Edis.  This game will be won or lost at the free throw line.  Senior leader Plater hits a running bank shot in the lane to put LBSU up 5!  Senior leader!!

49ERS WIN 82-76... 14-2 in conference this year... #1 seed in Big West Tournament
Welcome to March.... MADNESS!!

49ERS win and cap off a LONG conference season with an old-fashioned slugfest against a team that has given them fits the past few seasons.  The win secures a regular season sweep against the Highlanders.  Senior leadership - Greg Plater - reared its head and eeked it out.

The toll of a long conference season certainly showed on the 49ers tonight... 8 days off to prepare for the Big West Tournament, and possibly another match-up with UC Riverside, looks pretty good right now.

14-2 is a big accomplishment and tonight's grind-it-out win showed why 'team' basketball can overcome adversity late in games...
Should be a fun March folks!!  Lace 'em up... it's tourney time!!

See you at Honda Center next Thursday at noon.  Time to punch our ticket and dance.

Big West Pitcher of the Week- Andrew Gagnon

LBSU pitcher Andrew Gagnon received multiple accolades this week for his stellar performance against #16 Arizona. Andrew struck out 7 over 7.2 innings, leading the Dirtbags to victory. Andrew is a junior majoring in communications who won the Friday Night Starter position last season. He sat down with the Black and Gold Insider to discuss his awards, the pronunciation of his last name, and his Beach Pride.

Big West Pitcher of the Week: Erin Jones-Wesley 2-28-2011

Another week, another Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week award for freshman phenom Erin Jones-Wesley. This past weekend in Palms Springs, Erin pitched three outstanding games; her first coming in an eight inning, five hit, one run (unearned) performance against Utah in which Long Beach State won 5-1. 

Erin then added taking down a top 10 team to her young resume, throwing a complete game, six strikeout performance against No. 6 ranked Oklahoma in route to a 2-1 victory for the 49ers over the Sooners.

Erin wrapped her weekend with a solid performance against Oklahoma State, but the 49ers fell 5-3.

This impressive weekend brings Erin's season stats to a 5-1 record with an ERA of 1.59.

The Black and Gold Insider caught up with Erin before she and them head off to San Diego to face another stacked tournament field.

Black and Gold Insider: You had another great weekend on the mound, what has been the key to your early success?
Erin Jones-Wesley: I think I have been successful so far because of the smart pitch selection chosen by my coaches, the great defense and offense my team has supported me with, and the connection I have with both catchers that allows me to feel confident with each pitch of the game.

Do you think your first outing where you pitched a complete game shutout helped boost your confidence and carry over to the other starts you have made so far?

Erin Jones-Wesley: Pitching a shut out in my first college outing definitely helped me believe I can do it, but I don’t really look at past games for confidence; in softball you really have to take it one pitch at a time. Softball is a really humbling sport, a person can be really hot one day, and the next day go 0 for 4 or pitch a bad game and get taken out. I’ve learned to never live through the past, and just to look forward to the future.

What's your favorite part of traveling to the different tournaments and getting to hangout with your teammates?

Erin Jones-Wesley: My favorite part of traveling would have to be the actual traveling part, sitting on a bus for long periods of time may seem terribly boring, but we all find a way to make it entertaining. The other freshmen and I get really silly and just talk in different accents and give everyone on the team and our coaching staff funny names. Oh, and of course, eating with the team. I love food!

What music do you like to listen to before you pitch?

Erin Jones-Wesley: It really just depends on my mood; sometimes I can just put my iPod on shuffle and just let anything play, which can range from: country to hip-hop to pop to songs performed by the cast of the TV show Glee. If I feel the need to really get pumped up though I play “I Made It” by Kevin Rudolf or “Successful” by Drake.

Who's the funniest girl on your team?

Erin Jones-Wesley: Everyone really has their funny moments, but I think the one person who makes everyone laugh if Christina Schallig without a doubt.

Are you excited for March Madness?

Erin Jones-Wesley: I usually stick to just watching the NBA, but I’ll be more excited if our basketball team goes through a few rounds! The only college basketball team I watch, or am interested in is Long Beach State. GO BEACH!
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