The CSU Bakersfield women’s basketball team opened its season with a 58-51 win over the University of Hawai’i on Sunday afternoon at the Icardo Center.
The Roadrunners were led by junior forward Aja Williams. She scored 27 points and pulled down 8 rebounds.
This was Williams’ debut as a member of the Roadrunners as she transferred from Holmes Community College in Mississippi.
“I have two years to make a name for myself here and I’m just going to come out hard in every game. I know my team is counting on me and I want to show up for them,” said Williams.
CSUB was plagued by some sloppy plays on the offensive end and foul trouble in the first half.
Redshirt-senior forward Erika Williams picked up two fouls in the first three minutes and was benched for the remainder of the first half.
However, she recovered to play well down the stretch in the second half and hit some clutch free-throws.
“When I got that rebound and I got fouled, I just told myself that I wasn’t going to miss these free-throws,” said Erika Williams.
Despite the first half struggles, CSUB managed to stay in the game thanks to some strong defensive play. The Roadrunners limited UH to 31 percent shooting from the field and forced 19 turnovers.
The Rainbow Wahine also shot only 10 for 20 from the free-throw line.
UH led 36-33 after three quarters of play.
The Roadrunners trailed by five points with just under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, when an 8-0 run gave them a two-point lead with 2:42 to play.
It was CSUB’s first lead since the second quarter.
CSUB put the game away with some timely free-throw shooting in the game’s waning moments.
The Roadrunners shot 11 for 14 from the free-throw line on Sunday.
“We knew Hawai’i would be tough and hats off to them. I was happy with the way our team played today. We lost games like today last year,” said coach Greg McCall.
On Nov. 15, CSUB fell to Southern Utah University 65-59 at the Icardo Center.
Erika Williams had a strong performance with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
The Roadrunners (1-1) led 39-29 midway through the third quarter. However, a 16-3 run by Southern Utah propelled them ahead.
CSUB fought back to retake the lead, 51-50 midway through the fourth, when a 10-0 run by Southern Utah put them ahead for good.
The Roadrunners were outrebounded 42-31 on the night. They also shot 35 percent from the floor.
CSUB is scheduled to play the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon on Friday, Nov. 18.