The madness begins in Vegas


Photo by WAC Sports

By Joe Macias

Sports Editor


After its best regular season since moving to Division I, the CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball team looks to win its first Western Athletic Conference Championship at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

“I think our guys think we have the best team,” said CSUB head coach Rod Barnes. “It’s March. It’s all about surviving. It’s going to come so fast. We got to be us. Just be who we are. We don’t have to go over and be anything special. We don’t have to go over and be this magnificent unbelievable team.”

Senior forward Kevin Mays and senior center Aly Ahmed look to make the most of this last chance they have at making history for the CSUB basketball program.

“I understand we had a great season. We did a lot of great things, but (winning the WAC championship) is going to be the icing on the cake,” said Mays. “I’m just looking forward to the guys to be (themselves).

“I don’t want to see nobody being the superman trying to be a superhero cause that’s not what we do. That’s not what we’re about. We’re a team-

oriented group.”

Mays is averaging 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, which is third best in the conference.

Ahmed is another impact player for the Roadrunners as he leads the team in points with 13.5 per game.

“I’m happy so far with what we did this year. What we did is much better than last year,” said Ahmed. “I want the best effort. I think we’re going to win (the WAC championship) because the way we play. I’m sure we’re going to win.”

CSUB is second in conference in allowed points as their opponents are averaging just 64.3 points per game. On the offensive side, CSUB is third best in the WAC in team scoring with 73.4 points per game.

Second-seeded CSUB will be facing seventh-seeded Chicago State University in its first game of the WAC tournament on Thursday March 10.

The Roadrunners defeated the Cougars in both of its regular season matchups.

In its matchup on Jan. 11 at Chicago State, the Roadrunners won 67-56 and on Feb. 6, CSUB beat CSU 71-48 in the Icardo Center.

The Roadrunners have had a season to remember but winning a WAC Championship and getting into the NCAA tournament would make an argument for the best year the men’s basketball program has had.


Women’s basketball

Things are looking good for the CSU Bakersfield women’s basketball team as it begins the Western Athletic Conference Tournament against Seattle University on March 9 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

“This is the right time to be peaking. As long as we stay at that level,” said CSUB head coach Greg McCall. “You want to keep that momentum going. We want to keep that fire lit and that’s something that we’ve been doing and been playing very well and been playing lights out basketball.”

McCall is looking at one of the leaders of the team senior forward Batabe Zempare to step up.

“There’s like a special feeling in the air to me,” said Zempare. “Everyone from top to bottom is focused and ready to win this thing and I think we have a really good shot at winning it. I think every team is beatable and I think we have every spot filled. I think we have an advantage. We have an inside presence. We have an outside presence. On any given night anyone can go off.”

Zempare is averaging a team high 12 and 9.7 rebounds per game.

Another leader that CSUB is looking to step up is senior guard Alyssa Shannon.

Shannon is also looking to make the most out of her last year playing college basketball.

“This is our last go around, so it’s now or never,” said Shannon. “I’m just looking forward to seeing people ready and coming to play. Even people coming off the bench just really coming in and supporting the team and making sure that the level of play stays the same if not picks up. Everyone’s peaking at the right time so I’m really excited to see just everything come together and just bring home a WAC championship.”

Shannon is averaging 10.1 points and leading the team in assists per game with 4.6.

As a team, CSUB is averaging a conference leading 33.3 percent from behind the three-point line and sits in third place for overall points scored in a game with 62.9.

This will be the second week in a row that CSUB (11-18, 8-6 WAC) will be playing Seattle (9-20, 3-11 WAC) after beating them on March 5, 66-52.