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Career Nights Propel Lions

Nov. 15, 2007

Long Beach, CA - Junior Jenna Sybesma came off the bench for career-highs of 13 points, five rebounds, and four steals as LMU pulled away in the second half for an 83-66 victory over Long Beach State Thursday night at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, CA. The Lions (2-1) have won two in a row to close out a season-opening three-game road trip and win their eighth in a row against the 49ers (0-3).

LMU used a 16-0 run in the second half to open up as much as a 24-point advantage. The Lions held the 49ers without a basket for a seven-minute stretch to turn a 53-44 lead into a 69-44 cushion.

In addition to Sybesma's career night, three other Lions also set career-bests in scoring. Senior Amanda DeCoud scored 19 points, sophomore Jessica Vargas had 11, and redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans contributed eight to surpass their previous bests. Evans also added eight rebounds and four blocks while DeCoud had four steals. Sophomore Kavita Goss and senior Valerie Ogoke chipped in nine points apiece.

The Lions dominated the glass, grabbing 23 offensive boards to hold a 48-37 total advantage. LMU shot 42.1% (32-for-76) for the game, compared to 36.2% (21-for-58) for LBSU, and forced 22 turnovers. The 83 points are the most since LMU scored 85 against Colgate on December 29, 2006.

Courtney Jacob had 17 points and Kaiti O'Brien 10 for the 49ers. The Lion defense was able to hold All-Big West guard Karina Figueroa to just eight points on 2-for-10 shooting.

Both teams got off to a frenetic pace at the start and the 49ers continued to roll, hitting five of its first six attempts as part of a 10-0 run for a 12-4 advantage with 17:55 left. The Lions came back through their defense, forcing four turnovers to mount an 11-0 run of their own to lead 15-12. Vargas and Sybesma each had four points during the run.

The 49ers went cold, failing to score for almost four minutes as LMU opened up a 35-26 lead. A three-pointer by Young and jumper by sophomore Kavita Goss staked the Lions to a nine-point advantage and Goss followed with another three to give LMU its largest lead of the half, 38-26, at the three minute mark.

Long Beach State slowly crawled back, pulling within 39-34 before Sybesma hit a jumper at the halftime buzzer to send the Lions into the half with a 41-34 lead. It was LMU's highest-scoring half since February 24, 2007.

It did not take long for the Lions to restore their double-digit lead as Vargas drove for a layup and Ogoke had an offensive rebound-put back to make it 45-34 just 51 seconds into the second half. Sophomore Lisa Helmers followed with a deep three-pointer to complete a 9-0 run bridging halftime.

Sybesma then took over, scoring six of LMU's next 10 points and making two steals as LMU opened up a 20-point advantage. Offensive rebounding and steals carried the Lions as LBSU went over six minutes without scoring and over seven minutes without a basket. LBSU shot just 29.6% (8-for-27) in the second half.

LMU returns to Gersten Pavilion on Monday at 7 p.m. for its home opener against another Big West opponent, UC Santa Barbara.