By Josh Bennett
Assistant Sports Editor
The CSUB women’s basketball team lost to the Idaho Vandals 96-69, Saturday, January 17, at the Icardo Center. Senior guard Melissa Sweat led the team with 18 points and 8 rebounds, despite the losing effort. This was the first home loss of the season for the `Runners.
The `Runners (8-8, 2-2 WAC) seemed to struggle from the start, falling into a quick 16-3 hole, and never had the chance to recover like they did days earlier against Seattle.
Idaho, who is undefeated in conference play and is on a six game winning streak, ended up building a lead up to 38 points at one point in the second half, in part with shooting and passing well, shooting 57.6 percent field goal percentage and 56 percent three point shooting, and playing lock down defense for the majority of the game.
“They are a really good team. They run their stuff very well. We knew what they were going to do. It was just a matter of us going out and [following] what the scouting report said, and we did not do a good job at that tonight,” said Head Coach Greg McCall.
“It is a frustrating loss, because we had the scouting report right in front of us. We had too many mental breakdowns and they shot well,” said Sweat.
A killer for the `Runners in the game was the three point shooting, in which they only went 3-20 (15 percent), which killed many possessions for CSUB.
“We’ll keep shooting and keep working at it. Our strength is attacking the rim and then kicking out for open threes,” said McCall. “If we would have stayed patient and waited a little bit longer, we would have gotten a layup, or got that same open three, and that would have made a huge difference.”
Despite the loss, redshirt junior guard Tyonna Outland had a tough night shooting, with only 13 points, and sophomore forward Batabe Zempare recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“By far, [Idaho] is the team to beat [in the WAC]. They made a statement in the first half of the conference, and they have built a lot of confidence up in themselves. But I think that we are the team that will be able to beat them,” said McCall.
“We know what kind of team they are now and what they can do, so when we play them at their house, we’ll be better prepared and follow directions more and just take the win,” said Sweat.
Hoping to build off splitting their two-game homestand, the `Runners will head on the road next week, as they will be at Chicago State on Thursday the 23rd, and at Kansas City on Saturday the 25th. The `Runners next home game will be at the Icardo Center on Thursday the 30th, when they play New Mexico State.