SDSU women’s basketball set to open regular season against Long Beach State

by Brandon Truffa , Staff Writer

After defeating Point Loma Nazarene University in a home exhibition match, the San Diego State women’s basketball team looks to start its season off on a high note with a road win at Long Beach State.

The Aztecs have had their fair share of struggles against the 49ers in the past. LBSU holds a 36-5 all-time record against SDSU, and won last year’s meeting at Viejas Arena 74-62.

The 49ers have such success against the Aztecs mainly because they are strong on the defensive side of the ball.

“Long Beach has a very good zone repertoire,” SDSU head coach Stacie Terry said. “They play a bunch of different zones, a 3-2, a 2-3, a 1-3-1, and they change it quite often. So they always keep you on your toes.”

Junior guard Ariell Bostick added that as this is the first game of the season, both teams will be looking to come away with a strong game.

“It’ll be a good one for us,” Bostick said. “It’s the first game for both of us, so it’s going to be a close one.”

The Aztecs will be facing a much different and younger Long Beach team this year compared to years past. The 49ers only have one senior on their roster and four freshmen.

But they are not to be overlooked. LBSU still returns two key juniors from last season: junior guard Raven Benton and junior forward Madison Montgomery.

Last season, Benton led the 49ers in scoring, averaging 11 points and five rebounds a game.

“Benton is a good player,” Terry said. “She can hurt a lot of different ways, off the bounce, she can shoot the 3 a little bit, she’s a good scorer. She’s their returning leading scorer, so she’s going to gather a lot of attention from us on the defensive end.”

The upside of Montgomery is her ability to score. She put up her second career double-double last year against UC Riverside and ranked among the top 10 in the Big West with 0.9 blocks a game.

“(Montgomery’s) a forward with guard skills, which may pose some challenges for our forwards trying to guard her,” Terry said. “She’s a good player, face-up player, and does a good job for them.”

Friday’s game will be Long Beach’s first game action of the season. But the Aztecs have already had the opportunity to get their feet wet, having played Point Loma last week.

The exhibition against Point Loma gave SDSU some quality film to assess in preparation for this weekend’s matchup.

“We’re trying to be a pressing team, and we made a lot of errors in our full-court defense that we were able to correct over these last four practices,” Terry said.  

Terry believes this year’s SDSU squad is a little more balanced offensively, compared to last year’s team, which shot 39.9 percent from the field.

“Our shooting is continuing to improve. I think that we’re a little quicker, we have better ball handlers, better passers than year’s past,” Terry said. “This team is much more balanced as far as our scoring. We can hurt you from inside, but we can also hurt you from outside.”

SDSU will be looking to also improve upon its road record from last season. The Aztecs only managed a 2-11 record away from home last year.

But with a clean slate, Terry believes the mentality against the 49ers remains on the team’s focus, along with a strong start.

“This is a great test for us, to open up the season on the road,” Terry said. “You can’t play this team from behind, they’re very good. You get in a hole it’s going to be hard to get out of. Our mentality on the road is staying focused, opening with some fire, and being competitive for the 40 minutes.”