Long Beach State had not been in the NCAA tournament in a quarter-century until Friday. Then the 49ers almost pulled off something that has never been done in the history of the women's NCAA tournament.
Long Beach State nearly became the first No. 15 seed to win a game in the event, but two final shots didn't fall. No. 2-seed Oregon State breathed a huge sigh of relief as the Beavers -- who trailed at halftime and never looked very comfortable all game -- survived 56-55.
Long Beach State was a power in women's basketball in the 1980s under coach Joan Bonvicini, and went to the Final Four in 1987 and '88. But after she left to coach at Arizona, the 49ers fell on hard times. They appeared in the 1992 tournament, losing in the first round, and had not gone to the Big Dance since.
But when UC Santa Barbara beat No. 1-seed UC Davis in the semifinals of the Big West tournament, it cleared out a big obstacle for Long Beach State. The 49ers then edged the Gauchos 56-55 to get the automatic bid.
So the 49ers' last two games of the season were decided by the same score. One put them into the NCAA tournament, the other kept them from moving on. But what a show they put on Friday.
As for Oregon State, the Beavers have quickly gone from an upset-minded program on the climb to one that has a target on its back. And the Beavers, who won the Pac-12 regular-season title and lost in the tournament final to Stanford, played like they were a bit nervous and out of sorts Friday. Now, after surviving such a scare, will they be rejuvenated?
Player of the game: Oregon State junior post player Breanna Brown had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Turning point: Senior guard Sydney Wiese struggled with her shot, going 1-of-8 from behind the arc. But she hit the two free throws that ended up winning the game, nailing both with 1 minute, 7 seconds left.
How it was won: Ultimately, the Beavers' rebounding advantage helped them pull this one out of the fire. They finished with a 44-29 edge on the boards, with four players each getting seven rebounds.
X factor: Oregon State freshman guard Mikayla Pivec had 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and the Beavers needed all of that. She also was one of the Beavers who grabbed seven rebounds.
Stat of the game: The Beavers' 3-point shooting nearly sank the ship in the first round. They were 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from behind the arc. The 49ers, by contrast, made 10 of 18 3-pointers, which almost won the game.
What's next: Oregon State moves on to the second round to face the winner of No. 7 Creighton vs. No. 10 Toledo. Long Beach State finishes the season 23-11.