March 8, 2014
49ers 89 – Highlanders 81
With only 43 seconds remaining in regulation, Long Beach State had the lead, 84-79, and had the possession. UCR’s Tahvia Morrison fouled the 49ers’ Lauren Spargo to stop the clock, which furthered the gap to 10 points. The play clock wound down as the Highlanders’ season finale came to a bitter end with a loss to Long Beach State, 89-81.
With a Big West Tournament spot on the line, the Highlanders entered the game with an air of determination.
UCR’s Brittany Crain was ready to beat the 49ers. “I was ready to give everything,” she stated. “Because it was the last game of the season, I was ready to give it my all.”
Crain’s effort resulted with 31 points in 35 minutes. Annelise Ito finished with 16 and made all eight of her free throws. Kiara Harewood had 15 while Simone DeCoud tallied 12 points.
Taylor Wallace said, “It was a great game. My teammates fought ‘till the finish. They left everything on the floor, and went out fighting.”
Natasha Hadley was playing in her last UCR home game as the team celebrated Senior Night by acknowledging her impact on the university before tip-off.
In the first half, there were a total of 10 lead changes. With 2:08 remaining in the first half, Long Beach State was leading 30-36. Morrison was sent to the free-throw line after Long Beach’s Anna Kim fouled her. She made one, and on the next possession, Long Beach’s Sanchez missed a three. As Kiara Harewood was taking her shot, she was fouled and made both of her attempts, bringing the score to 33-36. The opening half came to an end with a steal by Harewood and UCR score, bringing the score to 41-35 Long Beach.
The Highlanders played better in the second half. With 13:55 remaining, Harewood emphatically blocked Long Beach’s Hallie Meneses which led to a layup from Crain to give the Highlanders a one-point lead, 51-50. Long Beach responded with a three from Raven Benton, followed by a jumper from Harewood, a miss from Clark and two free throws from Crain to bring the game to 55-54 in favor of the Highlanders.
With 3:30 remaining, the Highlanders tied the game, 79-79, with Ito’s two free throws. However, two free throws and a three from 49er Lauren Spargo widened the gap, 84-79. UCR’s offense couldn’t sustain as the team remained at 79 for multiple possessions which led to the 89-81 defeat.
The game was especially hard for graduating senior Hadley. “It meant a lot,” the center stated. “Since it was the last game of my college career, I hoped we could play it out but because of the (knee) injury I got in Davis, I couldn’t play. My teammates fought hard today.”
Coach John Margaritis is looking forward to training the team hard during the off season. “The season’s over but the girls will still lift and run. We have all summer to train and a little before school ends and before school starts.”
UCR finished the season 6-23 overall with a 2-14 record in conference.