Twice the Cal State Long Beach women's basketball took it in the knee, already a sore spot this season, and once in the back. But the 49ers passed the test of fortitude they so badly wanted.
Their 99-95 overtime win over sixth-ranked Louisiana Tech Wednesday night before 1,769 fans at the University Gym provided several bonuses for the seventh-ranked 49ers:
--A chance to move up in the national rankings, since already this week, No. 3 Auburn has defeated No. 2 Tennessee and No. 6 Rutgers has beaten No. 4 Virginia.
--Redemption. The Lady Techsters had won 9 of 10 meetings with Long Beach, two of which came last year, one of those knocking the 49ers out of the NCAA playoffs.
--Redemption, Part II. After hitting just 9 of 16 free throws in the second half, when a better performance would have won the game in regulation, they made 8 of 9 attempts in the five-minute overtime. Shannon Smith, a freshman, had two at the start of the extra period to send Long Beach ahead, 87-85, and Margaret Mohr all but put the game out of reach with a pair to make it 97-94 with 17 seconds remaining.
--Winning at home to stay at home, or at least at UCLA for the West Regionals if the 49ers make it that far.
Point guard Penny Toler led Long Beach (13-1, with 13 straight wins after a season-opening loss to No. 1 Texas) with 36 points, hitting 16 of 28 shots, several from long range.
Cindy Brown, the 49ers' All-American forward, added 33 points and 12 rebounds in a rough-and-tumble 37 minutes during which she suffered knee and back injuries that were not thought to be serious. The 49ers' Shameil Coleman also suffered a knee injury and had to leave the game.
Nora Lewis scored 28 points to lead Louisiana Tech (12-1).
The UCLA women's basketball team, which has ridden the hot shooting of Dora Dome to four victories in a row, will play Oregon, a team with eight straight wins, in a key Pacific 10 game today at 5:15 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion.
Dome, a junior guard-forward from Fairfax High School, became only the third player in Bruin history to score 35 points or more last Thursday at Arizona State. Denise Curry did it 13 times--she holds the school record of 47 points--and Ann Meyers once.
UCLA is 9-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Oregon, tied with Washington for the Pac-10 lead at 3-0, is 9-2 overall.
USC, meanwhile, is tied for third in the conference race with UCLA and is the 15th-ranked team in the nation with a 9-4 record heading into a game today at 5:45 p.m. against Oregon State (11-2 and 2-1) at the Sports Arena.