By Vincent Perez
CSU Bakersfield ran the Vaqueros out of the Icardo Center 71-30 on Saturday, Feb. 10. The Roadrunners dominated the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley defensively, and were led by performances from senior guard Aja Williams, freshman center Vanessa Austin and sophomore guard Kate Tokuhara. The Roadrunners streak is at six consecutive games.
“Once we got the internal bugs out, it’s been a totally different team,” said Head Coach Greg McCall. “They’ve locked in even more because now we took care of things in-house.”
McCall said that the team would be scary once they started scoring and today’s win displayed the Roadrunners scoring abilities, as well as stellar defense.
The Roadrunners (14-10, 8-2) began the first quarter on 9-0 run, which set the tempo in the game. Blocks from redshirt-senior center Jazmyne Bartee and Austin in the first stifled the Vaqueros (11-13, 1-8).
With one minute remaining in the first quarter, Williams drilled a 3-pointer which deflated UTRGV. CSUB led 18-2.
Both Roadrunners and Vaqueros were in physical plays in the first half, showing that the Vaqueros did not lack effort in the lopsided loss.
CSUB limited UTRGV to 8 points in the first half, a feat that has not been since the 2006-2007 season. Records from before that season are not available from the Roadunners’ athletic website.
At halftime, CSUB led by 29 points (37-8), suffocating the Vaqueros.
CSUB were shooting 52 percent at halftime, and already had 8 of 15 field goals go in from distance. UTRGV would not ever catch the Roadrunners.
In the third, with 8 minutes left, Alize Lofton made an athletic play at the basket, inching closer to a victory. The score was 39-11, yet McCall could be heard loudly on the court encouraging his team to take their time with the ball.
The Roadrunners defense only allowed 19 more points to be scored in total after Lofton’s lay up. The Roadrunners totaled 8 blocks on the night. Tokuhara had 5 steals alone, nearly half of the 11 on the night that the team had.
CSUB sits alone in first in Western Athletic Conference standings by half a game over Seattle University.
McCall said, “We’ve always been second, three out of [the last ] four years. We’ve been chasing first.”
“It feels good to be in first place right now.”
Williams said that the team trusted each other on both ends in the win. “Most teams can’t hang with us in transition,” said Williams. “I think that’s what kept us in the last game against New Mexico State, and this game. We trust each other.”
Tokuhara praised the defensive and offensive efforts of the team and stated the team’s mission in conference.
“I have a lot of confidence in this team,” said Tokuhara. “We’re clicking this season. Overall, we’re going to the win the whole thing.”
The Roadrunners visit third-place Grand Canyon University (13-11, 7-3) on Saturday, Feb. 17, followed by games at Utah Valley University (Feb. 22) and second-place Seattle U (Feb. 24). They return home for the last game of the regular season against GCU on March 3, a 1 p.m. game. The WAC Tournament begins March 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Roadrunners.